I moved to DC for a person. And for a different, broader life experience. In many ways it’s been absolutely worth it. In some ways, it’s been devastatingly disappointing. Overall, it’s been an extremely interesting give-and-take that I never expected.
- Defining home and purpose have become tangibles. How long does homesickness last? When does a new place start to feel like home? Why do we, as a society, define ourselves by the job we’re paid to do?
- I’m not nearly as healthy here. There’s no easily accessible hiking, no rock climbing, and the so-popular incense in yoga studios makes me ill.
- I’m much more intellectually engaged. This was a pretty big lack in Yosemite. And now I have it in boatloads. Politics, news, trivia, all of the above.
- Speaking of, two words: pub trivia. So. Much. Fun.
- My phone is my lifeline. I’d be lost without Google maps (though sometimes I still am even with it). And without the social connections of Facebook and Instagram.
- Distance doesn’t diminish friendships. I value my girlfriends in Yosemite beyond measure.
- Three hour phone calls and videochats are a real thing. In spite of time zones.
- People here are cold. There’s a whole strangers etiquette that precludes unnecessary eye contact and practically forbids acknowledging other humans in any way.
- I still have birds. True, mostly house sparrows and European starlings. But there are also fish crows that sound like squeaky toys. And cardinals arriving to sing early spring choruses.
- You can find something for every interest here, no matter how obscure or unusual. Mostly via Meetup groups.
- I’m incredibly sensitive to air, noise, and light pollution. There’s a lot of them all here.
- Migraines. Is it the air quality? Is it the tap water? Who knows, but I’m not a fan.
- Almost every day is a day to get dressed up. It’s much more effort to put on a dress and makeup than hiking gear and sunscreen, but I like it. Go ahead and call me #trendy.
- I’ve found I can go days without stepping outdoors. (Yes, this is quite embarrassing to admit).
- I get bored. So very bored.
- I love food. Therefore I love, not only the restaurant scene, but also the ethnic grocery store scene in DC.
- I’ve had a hard time finding a job here. That’s a humbling first for me.
- The Smithsonian and my internship are my grounding force and routine. Volunteer management isn’t a direction I was necessarily trying to go, but it’s interesting.
- It’s been some time since I’ve lived with someone. I love cooking for two, sharing all those inconsequential little moments, and learning another human being on such an intimate level.
- The sheer amount of stuff that’s accumulated between two people versus one is staggering, be it books, dirty dishes, or general clutter.
- I play D&D now. I hear it’s becoming more mainstream; we’ll see. It’s incredibly fun camaraderie, it’s so very creative, and it’s so valuable for just the laughter it inspires.
- Museums and libraries also make this place for me. This is where most of my disposable time goes.
- Mountains. How have I not mentioned mountains yet? My heart aches for mountains.
- I am solidly in the middle of confirming I can do anything, for a little while.
For me, DC is a timed experience. I came in knowing that living here would only be for a relatively short time. I can convince myself to embrace all the good and bad of it by knowing that it’s only for a time. I choose to not entirely dislike it here because I know I’ll only be here for a little while. And I already have non-east coast plans coming down the pipeline.
I started writing this morning with the idea of finally getting around to reviewing and posting the various museums and galleries I’ve been to in DC (mostly the Smithsonian ones because, let’s be honest, those are the free ones) before I got distracted by the bigger idea of DC. And I conclude with hundreds of pictures with their myriad of stories still sitting in front of me. Consider that a promise of things to come…