Life in DC moves just as swiftly as life in the mountains. There’s certainly a different timbre to the current and yet it’s no less powerful for the difference. The days are passing. The seasons are changing. The holidays are right on top of us – literally with tomorrow being Thanksgiving. And I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this place.
We’re in “Friendsgiving” mode this year. From last weekend’s dinner party with some lovely folks we met on a weekend hiking trip at Harper’s Ferry to tomorrow’s double turkey adventure with a ridiculously early morning to prepare a traditional lunch for Paul’s hard-working staff and then straight off to Maryland for another gathering of scattered merrymakers. Cheers to finding traditions that are universal no matter your environs.
I’m mastering the transportation scene here. Mountain life prepared me for walking many, many miles and I am always inclined to walk when I can. I am also a big fan of the subway system (dare I say I’ve mastered it? does that claim hold given that I haven’t gotten on the wrong train by mistake in over two weeks?). Uber and cabs are good in a pinch. And I’ve even braved the metrobus. Somehow buses are the most intimidating of all forms of public transit. And, by no means whatsoever, do I drive. I drove myself across the country and into the heart of DC where I parallel parked on the side street behind my building. I haven’t sat behind the wheel of my car since then. And I’m just fine with that.
Exploring is non-equal parts exciting, entertaining, tiring, boring, and hilarious. I’ve by no means done it ‘all’ and, of course, I never will. I still haven’t done even a small percentage of all the things that I want to get around to doing. But I’ve spent hours in museums and art galleries. I’ve been a patron to coffee shops and happy hours. I’ve been to yoga studios and night clubs. I’ve found city trails and gone urban birding (and even found a few golden spots that escape the city noises and bustle).
Speaking of city noises… it’s amazing how they grind away at your nerves only to slowly fade into background noise. Sirens are still loud as ever but not as startling. Street sounds in general become an incessant droning companion. I tune out so many conversations on subway platforms and sidewalks and jostling rush hour-filled trains with earbuds and daydreams. Braying zebras still provide a rather unwanted early wake up call some days, but then who’d want to ever get to where they tune that out? (#zooadjacent life is pretty cool).
I’m finding my community too. It’s been a struggle feeling isolated without my Yosemite girlfriends and feeling purposeless without a demanding job. But good things come with time and patience. I’m finding kindred spirits through my yoga practice and through social efforts (which is kinda intense for this introvert). And I’m finding my passions and causes in this urban maze. In addition to participating in a work/study program at a local yoga studio, I’ve fallen in with the Smithsonian. This is a dream organization for me with a history, purpose, mission, and vision that I really identify with. I’m volunteering (who knew it was a thing to rove a museum??) and interning at the National Museum of American History. So fitting a place to land in this city of old and living history. More on the museum to come, I’m sure…
I still don’t get nearly enough nature in my daily existence, but I am somewhat making up for it with yoga classes and logging pavement miles. And, all in all, I’m having fun being in a new place and holding my homesickness as a precious gift.