Yay dining room! Now just imagine it with crown moulding...
(nope, the projects never end)
(nope, the projects never end)
This weekend was special for another reason, too: it marked two years since we moved to Washington D.C. Time flies, folks. It seems like not long ago at all that we arrived here during a freak snowstorm and then the movers from hell turned us into campers for three weeks. Buying our house a year and change after that? Feels like yesterday. But here we are, two years later. DC residents. Homeowners. Adults.
One thing is clear: DC has become home. Here's why:
- Personal. I love living in a city alongside so many smart, engaged people. I love the friends I've made in DC, all of whom the District is lucky to call their own. Does DC have its fair share of idiots? You bet. (Do some hold elected office, too? No comment.) But DC's large percentage of citizens committed to public service, doing top-notch research, building campaigns for people or for issues, and trying their best to make the District or their country great... it's energizing. Ideas and passion are currency in DC, and that's exactly what I most wanted from a place I'd call home (not to mention necessary for a place where so many associations, organizations, and advocacy groups are based). I love the history in DC, especially the way that history juxtaposes with current development. My favorite places are ones where past and present brush against one another in interesting ways; this is DC in a nutshell. I'm eager to start digging into more of my Leslie Knope-style interests on a personal level, too... why not attend public meetings for fun as well as for work, right?
- Geographical. T and I live basically in between our families. Does it get more perfect than that? For two folks who've wandered all over the country the last ten years, living within driving (or train-ing) distance of our hometowns is huge for us. Since moving here, we've been able to spend more time with our families than ever before, which has been so special after going without that for so long. It's also fun living in a place that's a pretty good draw for scheduled or impromptu visits from loved ones. Being back on the East Coast just feels right; it's who I am. Those New Mexico sunsets will never leave my heart, but at its core, it's the waves of the Atlantic (DC is driving distance to my beloved Outer Banks!) that matter most to me. From an urban form perspective, DC works for me, too. Walkable neighborhoods, a wealth of transit options, cultural amenities, businesses and residences jumbled together in dynamic ways... these are not just talking points, but components that I need to feel great about calling a place home. DC has them, and my ruined heels from old, uneven cobblestone sidewalks can attest to that.
- Professional. It's a misnomer that everyone in DC works for the federal government - most do not. Neither T nor I do, although our work interfaces with government in important (and very different) ways. I maintain a strong separation between the personal and the professional on this blog, and that can be difficult for me, because sometimes I just want to chat about it online. (Some days I'd pay big money to be able to Tweet/respond to media/correct false statements/interject in work-related online conversations/columns/blog posts.) This is a biggie, though: I'm content with my professional workload for the first time in years. It's crucial for my brain and sense of self that I feel like I'm contributing to something bigger and making a place better. The project I work on is going to change how people live and move around DC, and that's humbling. Being part of a team that's doing its best to help make DC a better place to live matters to me quite a lot.
So that's the two-year report card. Life is good. I wonder what I'll say in another two years. I wonder if DC will ever get the vote. I wonder what's next.