a civil war encampment at sully plantation & a general malaise

Sunday, June 1:  Today I go to Historic Sully Plantation to see a Civil War encampment.  I’m feeling the doldrums today, so I force myself just to get out, as it’s a beautiful day.

Civil War Re-enactors at Sully Historic Plantation
Civil War Re-enactors at Sully Historic Plantation
the encampment
the encampment
Relaxing on a Sunday morning
Relaxing on a Sunday morning
Skeleton soldier
Skeleton soldier

Completed in 1799 by Richard Bland Lee, the main house at Sully Historic Site reflects the history of Fairfax County and combines aspects of Georgian and Federal architecture. Richard Bland Lee was Northern Virginia’s first Representative to Congress, as well as General Robert E. Lee’s uncle.

encampment
encampment
Even little girls are Civil War Re-enactors
Even little girls are Civil War Re-enactors
An ironsmith
An iron smith
Camp setup
Camp setup

On the National Register for Historic Places, and accredited by the American Association of Museums, Sully also includes original outbuildings, representative slave quarter and gardens. Guided tours highlight the early 19th century life of the Richard Bland Lee family, tenant farmers and enslaved African-Americans. Programs reflect the history of Fairfax County through the 20th century.

Civil War tent
Civil War tent
Cavalry horses
Cavalry horses
horse at the encampment
horse at the encampment
tents all in a row
tents all in a row
a peek inside a tent
a peek inside a tent

You can tell how bored I am by life in Virginia that I actually went to this event.  I’m not keen on staged events like these, and though I find it interesting that other people are really into these re-enactments, I’m not that interested in them myself.

Re-enactors
Re-enactors
brightly-attired soldiers, I think they're from an Italian brigade
brightly attired soldiers, I think they’re from an Italian brigade
the encampment
the encampment
colorful soldiers
colorful soldiers
a peek into a tent
a peek into a tent
Card game in progress
Card game in progress

Here it is, nearing a year since returning to the USA after living abroad for two years, and I’m still suffering from reverse culture shock.  I have a hard time finding activities I’m interested in, and as my followers can probably tell from my infrequent posting on my blog, I’ve lost interest in blogging.  I’m beset by wanderlust and am anxious to travel abroad again. Besides that, my job search in America has been unsuccessful, and I decided at the end of May that I will just accept the fact that I will be a teacher until I retire.  I guess I will never be able to put my Master’s degree to good use. I find this very discouraging and frustrating, but I don’t have the energy to keep applying for jobs from which I get no reply or acknowledgement.

shadows on tents
shadows on tents
extended encampment
extended encampment

As a fallback, I decided I’d teach an intensive Speaking & Listening course at the community college this summer.  However, it was not to be.  Two weeks before classes were to start, the course was cancelled due to low enrollment.  Because of the adjunct system at the college, few teachers have full-time positions; this allows the administration to adjust needs for teachers based on enrollment. I was really planning on teaching this class and counted on the income.  Luckily, at the last-minute, I got offered a part-time class, with half the hours and half the money.  I guess it’s better than nothing, but it’s frustrating not to have a dependable job and income.

horses and tents
horses and tents

Because of my fruitless job search and this setback with the college, I decided that if I’m going to continue teaching, the best way to leverage that to my advantage is to go abroad again.  At least I get a salary I can depend on, the opportunity to be immersed in a new culture, and the chance to travel.  So. I decided that I would try to go to China for a year.  As there seems to be a mandatory retirement age of 60 for many Chinese schools, and since I’m in my late 50s, I figured if I wanted to go to China, I should do it now.  Mike and the boys are supportive of my quest.  The last week in May, I started applying to every university I could find in China with available jobs.

lounging horse
lounging horse

Stay tuned for further developments. 🙂

 

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33 thoughts on “a civil war encampment at sully plantation & a general malaise

  1. Fascinating, Cathy. My post this coming week is going to address this very issue–the one of reverse culture shock. I went back to the US for two weeks, and I hated most every minute I was t here. It was painful. You have done well to have endured an entire year!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy! I can’t wait to read your post. I’d like to write another more in-depth one myself, so I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I’ve had a really hard time and though I came back with the will to settle back in and enjoy my life here, it just hasn’t happened. It’s been a struggle for many more reasons than what I mentioned here. Looking forward to hearing from your experience! Hugs to you. xxx

    1. Thanks for your good luck wishes, Kathy. Spoiler alert, I do have a job and am just now trying to get all the paperwork in order. I’ll write more about it when I feel absolutely confident it will happen. I’m so glad someone else understands what I’m struggling with here. Thanks so much, Kathy, and hugs back to you. xxx

  2. So it will be catbirdinchina soon then? Wish you loads of luck. It’s not a place I want to visit, but I know you do so I look forward to seeing it through your eyes. I see Mike and the boys are OK with this. At the end of the day you have to do what makes YOU happy, we only have the one life. Unless you are a Buddhist of course.
    Take care – hope to hear more soon xx

    1. Yes, Jude, I already have
      http://catbirdinchina.wordpress.com/ from my time visiting Beijing in 2010. I’ll just add to that. That’s assuming I can even write a blog in China. I know Facebook and Twitter are blocked, so I won’t find out till I get there.

      Yes, I do only have one life Jude, and as travel is my passion and I can’t do it to the degree I want unless I pay for it myself, I guess I have no choice but to go off again. I love the challenge of living and working abroad, and though not always easy, it makes life interesting. There is so much to see in China, Jude, and in Southeast Asia, where I’ve been briefly before, so I can’t wait!! 🙂

      1. Hey Jude! You can ask about the book. I finished the book and am happy with it, but now I’ve wasted a month after my first attempt at writing a query letter. I was so traumatized because I put my query up on a forum called Agent Query, and it got ripped to shreds, so I couldn’t face it for a month. Now I’m back to the drawing board. I’ve decided it’s harder to write a one-page query than it was to write a 350 page novel!

  3. Am glad the China job looks like it will happen, Cathy. My fingers are crossed. You don’t need any more disappointments. It is hard to believe you have been home a year and I can sure sympathize with the lack of a decent job market with your skills. I can remember old posts of yours of the culture shock of coming home. I appreciate you sharing this. Hugs.

    1. Thanks, Lynne. I’ve been offered the job but still haven’t received my copy of the signed contract from their end, nor have I received the paperwork for the visa. I hope it all goes as planned. It’s been a rough year readjusting to life in the USA, with age discrimination still a problem on the job front, but at least it seems my family is on track. 🙂

  4. Great post Cathy. I loved the outfits of the “brightly attired soldiers from an Italian brigade”.

    I admire your tenacity in sending out so many resumes. I’m shocked to learn that employers don’t bother to acknowledge receipt of your application. Emails are free, and so easy to set up.
    Having lived in 3 countries I understand how hard it is to go back. I’ve never felt that the US is my “home”. I don’t know where my home is.

    1. I know what you mean, Rosie. I guess I will always consider the US my home, but lately it doesn’t really FEEL like home. Except my family of course. I find it hard to adjust to life here though, and I am ready to go abroad again. 🙂

  5. I have never understood re-enactors either – why does anyone want to go back in history and celebrate a period of time that was not the best of times? The Civil War was fought for a just cause, but it was, nonetheless, a war and far too many lives were lost. One of the many lessons you’d think man could learn would be that negotiating, talking, listening and considering the needs of other cultures and peoples should be the first resort and should be thoroughly explored and exhausted before picking up arms is even considered.
    Good luck with the job in China – I think we have to embrace what our hearts tell us and what’s available to us and launch into it with gusto and determination.

    1. You’re right, Carol. I can’t understand the appeal of this either. I guess people do things like this just because they really want to be immersed in history, or just out of boredom. It’s something to get involved in. My friend Mario used to say that human beings spend most of their time and energy trying to fend off boredom. Maybe that’s the answer!

      I’ve gotten the job in China, but am waiting for the details to come together. 🙂

      1. Congratulations on the job in China! And know there is light at the end of the tunnel – you will get to retire one day.

  6. It’s exciting to hear that you have come to a decision on what to do next. Maybe after China you might be able to come to Australia and find some sort of teaching job. If you have ESL teaching skills there is a demand for teachers in that area. Good luck.

    1. Thanks so much, Carol. As I’m now reaching that age that many of the powers-that-be consider “unemployable,” I figure I better do these jobs as long as I can get hired. Whenever my kids get married, or start to settle down and have kids, I’ll want to be home and since that’s nowhere on the horizon, I may as well do my wandering while I can! Maybe I’ll make it to Australia one of these days — I hope!

  7. Wanderlust is hard to cure. I’ve been back in the U.S. for almost 3 years. The only thing that stops us from living abroad again is age. My husband is 86 and it becomes increasingly difficult. If you want to travel, make sure you do it now. Best of luck.

    1. Yes, Eileen, wanderlust is really hard to cure. I know age is a determining factor for travel, or at the very least, health. You can be old and travel, as long as you have your health, and as long as I have mine, I may as well keep going. My dad and mother-in-law are both in their 80s and I see the toll that health problems are taking on them. You’re right, now’s the time. 🙂

      1. Come October this year, I would have been back in the U.S. for 3 years. But I’m at a point in my life that it isn’t so much fun anymore. I’m closing in on 65. So, do it!

      2. We’re all getting up there, Eileen. I’m 58, soon to be 59, so 60 is in one short year! Time goes by so quickly! It really isn’t fun living in the USA; I can’t put my finger on why. It just seems such a rat race. I feel like I’m a hamster spinning on a wheel endlessly. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Gilly, for your words of encouragement. I sure hope to get back into the groove of blogging again soon. Now I’ve lost my motivation, but maybe China will cure my malaise!

  8. Interesting photos Cathy. Glad you went so I can enjoy the re-enactment from my easy chair. 🙂 Best of luck to you on your job quest. It will all turn out well, of that I’m sure.

  9. You’re funny, Cathy, but in a very appealing way 🙂 Hasn’t that little girl got the best smile? She didn’t save you much pizza, though!
    I don’t think that restless nature of yours can be tamed. Maybe when you’re old and grey. I’m waiting for the ‘good news’ post. Take care, my lovely friend.

    1. Hey Jo! I hope you’re enjoying your stay in Tavira. I’m glad you think I’m funny “in a very appealing way!” I’m not sure what that means, but I guess I’ll take it as a compliment. 🙂 Yes, I don’t know that my restless nature can be cured. I got an offer in China, but am waiting for all the details to be settled. I’ll write more on it when I feel utterly certain all will come together.

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