Guest blog post from Foothills Forum intern, Julia Fair, at her midway point.

At school, If I’m late to an interview, it’s usually because my professor kept us in our seats late. In Rappahannock County, it was because a cow was in the middle of the road.

In the cow’s defense, I took a wrong turn, my cell phone GPS stopped working, and in a matter of seconds the dirt road I was on turned into its grazing field. Thankfully, the cow moved and I was able to trace my steps and get out of the field and to my interview.

Even though I was spooked by the experience, I couldn’t help but smile, realizing that it basically summed up what’s been like to live here for the past six weeks with only four remaining.

I’ve been surrounded by beautiful country views, conducted multiple interviews outside instead of in someone’s office and the lack of cell phone service has made me less attached to it.

I couldn’t rely on my cellphone to get back on the (correct) road to my interview, so I had to trace my steps out of the field I had wondered into.

Since I’ve had limited cell service, I’ve had to schedule time to check my email to see what’s happening on social media since it’s not readily available. It has made me appreciate the resources my peers and I list high on our necessity list next to heat and electricity.

At school, I have to check my email close to 20 times a day to see if classes have been cancelled, which interviews have been solidified or cancelled and to get assignments from my editors at my school media outlet. Since I have to check it so often, forgetting it for five minutes feels like I’m disconnected from the world.

Not in Rappahannock County.

Here, everyone moves at a slower pace, but they seem to be enjoying life a little more by noticing the small things, like getting to know everyone that they meet.

Everyone who I’ve met has asked me where I’m from, a little bit about my background and they’ve even said that they’ve read my articles that have been published in the Rappahannock News.

You don’t get that kind of treatment as a student journalist elsewhere.

People don’t walk into the newsroom at school to tell us they liked the paper or to give us story ideas. But the people in Rappahannock do. Usually, we get a visitor in our newsroom at school because they don’t like the articles that we’ve published.

In my short time in Rappahannock, I’ve been trying to slow down and notice the small things in my surroundings.

DSC_0075  (cows on Heritage Hollow Farm in Sperryville, VA)

On my way to work each day, I pass families of cows teaching their calfs their way around the county as I do the same with my Ford Escape. It’s not just the farm animals that have knowledge to share, It’s the people who tend to those animals and they ones who buy the animal’s products.

The people I’ve talked to for the various articles that I’ve written have been extremely helpful and willing to explain how things work here in Rappahannock. As I schedule the last of the articles that I’ll work on while I’m here, I’m looking forward to absorbing as much as the county as I can.

– Julia Fair