Thursday, February 17, 2011

Have you met my friend, C-ville?

Have you ever wondered how to introduce a friend to a bunch of colleagues?

Here's the situation. You are in the position of introducing a family friend to a large number of work colleagues. Your parents knew this family friend first; growing up you heard stories about her and how much fun your parents had with her. Then, in your twenties, you got to meet her yourself. You were really close for about five years; you even met one of your best friends through her. Because of this extensive experience, you have a lot of stories that start with, "There was that time when...." You also know lots of random facts about her, like her favorite band, whether she prefers the mountains or the ocean, and even her favorite US presidents. You also know that your colleagues might already have some ideas about what your friend is like. Some of those ideas are wrong...some aren't that far off. You want your colleagues to see what a wonderful person your friend is and get to know her. What you don't want to do, however, is overwhelm your colleagues with a lot of information about her. It's an interesting situation in which to be.

Well, that is how I feel about Charlottesville. In writing these blogs, I'm actually sharing my "family friend" Charlottesville with all of you.

My parents both completed some of their graduate education at the University of Virginia. My father went to law school there; my mother did graduate work in education and history. My parents loved living in Charlottesville. My mother told (and still tells) stories about the time she was there. In fact, when I started looking into UVA for my graduate study, she thought about moving to Albermarle County for awhile while I was there.

I spent five years in graduate school at UVA in the early part of this century. Although I lived "on grounds" all five years, I spent a lot of time in and around Charlottesville. (I-64 also became a good friend.) I spent time on the Corner and at the Downtown Mall. I drove up and down Route 29 like a pro. And yes, I went apple picking and got dragged to Crozet for pizza. I heard more DMB (i.e., Dave Matthews Band) in those five years than I have before or since. I also spent a lot of time talking about Thomas Jefferson like he was about to walk down the Lawn to head to a department meeting or a student rally. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world.

So, NACADA colleagues, over the next few weeks leading up to the conference, Melinda and I will work to introduce you to my good friend, Charlottesville. By the time you arrive, I hope you will be excited about getting to spend some time with her. If you want recommendations, feel free to flag me down at the conference and ask, "Hey, what does your friend C-ville know about [fill in the blank]?"

Oh, and by the way, C-ville is more than just history. She also loves nature and wines. She likes shopping, food, the arts, and education. Stay tuned to the blog. Get to know her. And come hang out with us in April. We'll see you there!

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