As we prepare to move in a few weeks, I thought it’d be fun to reflect on our time living here in Annapolis.  I shall do this by conducting an analysis of certain aspects of Annapolis living, while also paying tribute to (or perhaps ripping off) the comedic genius of the Fail Blog, by assigning each topic one of two rankings: WIN or FAIL.

Downtown: WIN

200-year-old red brick buildings line the streets.  Annapolis isn’t like most state capitals.  Instead of impersonal office buildings, the “skyline” consists of the 236-year-old State House (oldest in the country), tall trees, church steeples, and of course the sailboats on the Chesapeake.  The Naval Academy sits right on the bay, giving the place an established, respectable quality.  We particularly enjoy the gelato and coffee at Aromi d’Italia, the sushi at Joss, and of course breakfast at the timeless Chick & Ruth’s Delly.

Annapolis Mall: FAIL

We live about a quarter-mile from the mall, and have frequently enjoyed the close proximity of such fine dining establishments as Noodles & Co. and Chick Fil-A.  This would have made the mall a “WIN”, but things changed around November, when they opened a huge new section, making our mall the largest in the state, and thereby prompting people from Delaware and Pennslyvania and Yukon Territory to drive to Annapolis to do their Christmas shopping.  The traffic congestion added 10 minutes to our drive home for the whole month of December, and my dislike of our modest-shopping-mall-turned-gargantuan-cesspool-of-consumerism began to take root.  During one particularly lengthly parking-garage-exiting ordeal, I turned to Drea and said with complete sincerity, “I freaking hate this place.”

Sailing Culture: WIN/FAIL

Yes, this is a two-sided story.  Annapolis is sometimes called (fanfare, please) the “sailing capital of the world.”  While this may sound like a slight exaggeration (San Diego or Sydney seem to have a more legitimate claim on that title), there certainly is a distinguishable sailing theme in Annapolis.  The harbor is beautifully littered with sailboats of all shapes and sizes.  There are boating shops all over the place.  Our freaking apartment complex is called Regatta Bay.  This is definitely a sailing town.  Which I like.  Gives the place a nice old-fashioned seaport feel.  The flipside, however, is that we also have what I’ll call “sailboat snobs.”  These people are ridiculously rich, and are happy to drop untold amounts of cash on a pimped-out sailboat, not necessarily so they can enjoy sailing, but so they can sit in the downtown marina (aptly nicknamed “Ego Alley”) and watch passersby envy their wealth.  It’s quite a spectacle.

All things considered, we’ve loved living in good old Naptown, and even though we’re only moving half an hour away, it will be a little sad to say goodbye to our first apartment (which we love) and the memories we’ve made here.

But we’re excited about the next phase of life too.  Drea’s parents are going to rent out their basement to us for significantly less than we’re currently paying to live in our apartment.  While having our own place for the past year has been great, this will really help up to save some more money to buy a house.  We’ll also be closer to pretty much everything (church, friends, parents, etc.).  Plus, Drea’s mom’s cooking is the bomb, so hopefully we’ll score some benefits there too!

Even though we don’t have a whole lot, God has certainly shown His faithfulness to us this first year.  We have everything we truly need right now, and are excited about what’s to come!