I promise I’ll get some pictures on my blog soon. I took my camera around with me today, but the batteries died.
In the meantime, I want to share my favorite thing in D.C.
Easily, the thing that brings me the most joy here is running into people I’ve met since moving, especially in my neighborhood. I ran into two people I knew yesterday in Chinatown and another tonight at the grocery store. Yesterday a woman at the Y said she had recognized me walking on my lunch break and we started talking about databases. Constituent databases are not that interesting, but it was still really nice to meet her.
When talking with someone I’ve just met, there is one question that is almost always elicits an interesting response. “Where are you from, originally?” I imagine that in most other cities, the vast majority would answer the question with some place in the nearby region, but in D.C. the answer is rarely, “The District.” This brings me to my least favorite thing about D.C.
Because so many people have roots in other places, many hope to return someday (this is the case with just about everyone I’ve met here from Chicago). Others are so full of ambition that it seems inevitable that they’ll head off to New York, LA or one of those brand name colleges. Some of the native sons swear they’ll never move, but they don’t consider a move to the suburbs to be leaving, per se. I’ve even heard from one friend that the attrition of peers a huge part of her desire to move back home.
Catch me on the right day and I’ll love or hate D.C. for exactly the reasons listed above. Most days however, I try to approach life in the federal district as an opportunity. People are always leaving, but they are also always showing up. This, beyond all the other idiosyncrasies of the city (no tall buildings, Democrats and republicans sharing drinks at Happy Hours, all the diplomatic license plates, etc…), is what makes D.C. a completely unique city in my view. No other place I’ve ever encountered is so steeped in tradition and history, yet so dramatically different from one moment to the next.