I Heart The District

So, tomorrow is my official going away party. I don't leave town until August 4th, but with summer travel schedules being as hectic as they are, I wanted to make sure we could hold the party at a time when most of my friends are able to attend. Needless to say, the sadness is setting in and its really hard to put into words how difficult its going to be to leave DC and the incredible friends I have here. So I've decided that instead of bitching about the humidity and the metro (again), I'm going to post about what I love about DC. My ode to the district, I guess you could say.

The Metro - I know. This is weird since my last post was complaining about it, right? But the convenience of having public transportation that can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go for $1.65 is pretty nice. When I lived in CA, I hated the traffic. Sometimes the comfort of a car (and its AC) is really nice, but I really prefer to let someone else do the driving. Pick me up, drop me off where I need to be, keep the AC running, let me read my paper in peace, and I'm happy. While I am positive Spokane does not have the traffic issues of the Bay Area, I think I may miss my morning rides to work. It goes without saying, however, that I will not miss the crowds, the tourists, the smelly people, fighting for a seat, people who hate on the iPod or delays. But other than that, I'll miss metro.

The Capitol - For the rest of my days, I will always maintain that working on Capitol Hill was one of the best experiences of my life. Those of you who have worked there can attest to the fact that there is nothing else like it. Its so exciting and fast paced (well, sometimes). I met some really incredible and powerful people, saw some very interesting (read: shady) incidents transpire, and made some really great, lifelong friends. But the best part of working there was walking out of my building (I always worked in Longworth) and seeing the United States Capitol right in front of me. And because I live on Capitol Hill, I see the dome every day when I am walking to and from the metro. Its so amazing to see that beautiful building every day and know that I live in a pretty unique and powerful city.

Surprisingly, Walking - I just don't like the outdoors. We all know the reason - humidity. And bugs. But I love getting up on a Saturday morning and walking down to Eastern Market with Roommate to get a coffee and stock up on goods. Some of my best moments here have been on those walks. I also love being able to walk to shopping at lunch time. The ease of being in a big city and knowing you can get around on foot has been really nice. I'm a little annoyed that in Spokane I may have to drive everywhere.

The People - One only needs to refer to Blesus' earlier post about the people of Dupont Circle to know that DC is filled with some pretty interesting characters. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, there's always someone around that makes me stop and think "Wow. I've never seen THAT before." And I love it. I enjoy my walks from the metro to my building every day and seeing the various people who work around here, watching what they're doing, listening to their conversations, wondering what they're backstory is. There's such an ecclectic mix of people here and I am never disappointed by the cast of characters that pop up all over the city.

My Friends - People may not think a white girl from middle class San Jose, CA would be really into diversity, but I dig it. In all honesty, I didn't have a lot of black or Jewish or gay friends before I moved here and now I have many (no, I am not trying to be that person trying to prove they're not racist by saying "But I have a black friend."). I've loved learning about their culture and backgrounds and families and traditions and lifestyles. I often wonder if I would have friends like this if I had stayed in San Jose after college. Yes, I know Blesus is from Connecticut. But on top of that, I have been incredibly lucky in that I've met many people who I know will be lifelong friends. I don't worry too much about keeping in touch with a lot of my friends here once I move, because I know I will. They have been instrumental in my adult and professional life - as a support system or quasi-family or counselor when needed. Its incredible how much I've changed between 22 (when I moved here) and 26 and there are many people who have been on that journey with me every step of the way. While I will miss them, I know I will see them soon.

It Has To Be Said - My Money - Going in to debt for school has been a huge source of stress for me. While I'm not rolling in the cash, I do make a comfortable amount of money and have become accustomed to certain standards of living. I think I may have to abandon these standards. Gone are the lovely chicken and fresh veggie dinners, replaced by a selection of Top Ramen and Mac N' Cheese. I think I may have to downgrade from the Aveeno face wash, only to replace it with the Walgreens brand. This may also be the time in my life when I purchase Suave shampoo and conditioner. I wonder if my mom can send me some travel-size bottles? Its going to be weird not being able to drop $60 at CVS or $70 on shoes whenever I want. I'm depressed about it. So please, when you see me in two years, don't make fun of me when I am wearing shoes from 2006. Its just not going to be very nice.


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