Hello! Greetings from an early a.m. flight to DC. Heading to a conference in Ohio on Thursday, and I figured, if I’m going to be all the way in Ohio, I might as well pay to spend a day or two working in our DC office-so I’ll be there today-Wednesday.
Over the last two months I’ve felt more and more at ease in Oakland. In thinking about this trip, I hope to enjoy the few days, catch up with some of my favorite people, and enjoy the buzz of that magical city. I don’t want to spend the whole time sentimental over places I miss, comparing it to any of Oakland’s shortcomings, or wrapped up in any false nostalgia.
So, in an attempt to be present, going to list out things I know I miss about DC-the goal is to acknowledge them, put the nostalgia aside, and really be present:
1) Bikeshare: DC made a tremendous effort over the last several years to develop a more bike friendly city, and most routes have great bike lanes. To be honest, I could have done a lot more biking while in DC, but knowing that it was always an option was nice. With bikeshare, you can bike to work, and then if it’s too late to bike back, just metro home. The downfall of bikeshare is the bikes are heavy and kind of clunky. I miss the safety of all the lanes and the ease of knowing that if you wanted to ride, there was always a bike closeby.
2) Metro: During most work hours, the metro runs frequently and it’s quite clean. Metro riders are generally courteous and aware of metro etiquette, like not blocking the doorway when people are entering the train. It makes the ride that much more pleasant.
3) Feeling like I know the city: This a little less defined, and something that will continue to take time. DC is such an easy city to navigate, and the neighborhoods have a comforting small-town feel. Perhaps it was because David, Janou and I all moved to the city at the same time, I felt like we all grew into it together. Also, for much of my life, I dreamed of living in DC, and the city felt like it was a part of me. There’s such a comfort in that, and I don’t know if it’s replicable in other places.
4) Happy hour culture: Most of my friends and colleagues lived in the city or closeby. This proximity, youth and ease of transport feeds an active happy hour culture. Though my particular office was quiet, there was a strong advocacy network, and I desperately miss those colleagues and their energy and support during happy hour. It was tremendously comforting knowing that if I had a rough week, I could call Katie, and we’d be able to easily meet somewhere for Chardonnay and good conversation.
5) Run/walking the city: Walking home from work, running on the weekend, run/walking the monuments with Janou-no matter what, the backdrop for these walks would include incredible architecture and history. The best days were the mornings that started with Janou on our loop through downtown-from Farragut to the Tidal Basin, around the Thomas Jefferson, down to MLK, the WWII and then off to work. I miss that so much.
6) Coming home to David in our charming neighborhood: Ok, this got way more sentimental than I was hoping. I thought the list would be mostly restaurants and transit, but I’ve jumped into the uncomfortable internet waters of sentimentality, so here we go. I ache for the memory of walking down our sweet street, past the market and the charming homes, and into our apartment, with David home and smiling and ready to hang out. With him working in Stockton, this simply isn’t a reality on most nights, and I miss it terribly.
7) The magical charm of Eastern Market: When David first suggested Eastern Market for our move to DC, I had not visited the neighborhood, and was leaning more toward the Van Ness/Dupot/Red Line parts of town. The first time we visited, I was sunk-totally caught by its magical charm. The homes, the parks, the trees, the restaurants, Hilloween!, the market at Christmas-charm, charm, charm.
8) Our fireplace and exposed brick: To follow up this list, I hope to make one on the flight home of all the things I’ve grown to love about Oakland-one of them will be our apartment. Though I wouldn’t trade our current place for our old one, I miss the character of the exposed brick wall and the comfort of the fireplace. Few things can ease stress like sitting on the chaise, in front of that fireplace, with a tea and David.
9) The buzz of being on the Hill: I didn’t even work on the Hill, and felt slight envy whenever I was up there toward those who got to work in that dynamic force everyday. There’s such a rush of exiting Union Station, walking down to the offices, and being surrounded by the marble and massive egos-it’s overwhelming, stressful and invigorating.
10) Walking through the city, just knowing you live and work in DC: Speaking of ego, everyone has a a certain sense of importance. Though the egos can be nauseating, it would be a total lie to say I didn’t feel slightly more confident, more certain of my professional path and worth, simply because I was in DC. That’s not necessarily a healthy or legitimate way to build confidence, but it existed. The burst of energy you walking down the street, knowing you’re in a place of importance, a place of history-it’s very special.
Ok, I think that’s the big 10, going to stop here. I completely ignored restaurants and places, I guess they didn’t simmer to the top in my gut check of things I miss. I do hope to get a salad from Chop’t, and maybe some Dunkin Donuts and Potbelly’s sandwich while there.