Adapting to DC City Life
Ok ya’ll, I have been living in Washington DC for a little over a year and I wanted to share how my transition from moving from a smallish town in NC up here as been. If I am 100% honest, my relationship with DC was not love at first sight. I feel like every city has a word that can describe it (yes, I am totally stealing this from Eat, Pray, Love— Elizabeth Gilbert, you are a traveling goddess!) and I would have to describe DC as… “driven”. Chris and I often joke that it is the city of class presidents. Lots of big fish in this town trying to stand out, can get, well… exhausting. It definitely took me a while to get used to people asking “what I did for work” as a follow up question to what my name was when we first met. In comparison to Montana, where people worked hard so that they could play hard… it just felt like people hustled here all the time. What’s you profession? What is your side hustle? Oh you run… how many marathons have you done? You do yoga? are you a certified yoga instructor? At first it really didn’t feel very genuine and was a dramatic change from my life in NC and the Rocky Mountains.
I wanted to leave. I wanted to be literally anywhere but living in Washington DC… preferably somewhere with amazing views and the outdoorsy life style. The summer here was super depressing. It was hot— omg was it hot! Chris was doing two internships so there wasn’t a lot of time to play, and I had just come off orientation and was realizing how much more I had to learn as a new grad (still learning this!) But then summer turned to fall and the heat seemed vanish. I got more confident at my job and Chris and I were able to explore more. This helped a lot, getting to see everything that a city has to offer can really make you appreciate it more than what the rest of the world knows it as. Yes, we have amazing museums & monuments, congress, the white house, Georgetown. But we also have super cool dive bars, vegan restaurants, unique and kirky neighborhoods, and so. much. diversity. On my walk to work I hear at least 3 different languages on any given day. In my neighborhood you can pick from Laotian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Italian, seafood, sushi, ramen, spanish, tex mex to eat at. These are all within walking distance from my apartment. I can go to spin class, yoga, pilates, group running, krav maga… its all at my finger tips. Did I mention that I literally hear the lions roar when I leave for work in the morning… the zoo is right next to my apartment!! That and its amazing to me how much quicker time goes by now that I am a nurse. Before I knew it, Christmas had come and gone and we were leaving for our trip to Ireland.
This is when I started to see a shift in how I felt about DC. Every city we went to, I found myself comparing it to DC and finding positive things about my home. Exploring my neighborhood and learning where my hang outs were made me miss “my city” when we were in different coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. I missed my apartment and plant babies. I missed our monuments and bridges. And I was really happy that I got to come home to it.
Ever since our trip to Ireland, DC has felt even more like home. I am loving getting to continue to explore this city and pick out places that I want to share with visitors. I love that we no longer give out plastic straws (unless you request one), have to pay for plastic bags, and have an incredible recycling program. The food scene is out of this world and I am continuously finding new restaurants to try and return to.
My goals going forward are to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I was blessed with a small group of friends already living here, but I want to make this more of a home with others around me. I feel it generally takes about a year for you to get comfortable in your new town and now I want to find others to explore and experience this town with. I plan on going to events at athletic stores, trying out some new workout classes, and return to the yoga studio in my neighborhood to meet others.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because you may be in a similar situation. Moving sucks, starting over is hard, and finding common ground with those around you can be challenging. You may have recently moved from a huge city to the rural sticks and are freaking out or you may have switched neighborhoods and its a literal trek to get to your friend group now. All these things are adjustments and can be uncomfortable. But give it time. Where you are, truly may not be the best place for you— but you are only going to know that if you give it enough time to figure out why. You’re never alone in your feelings, I can guarantee someone, somewhere is thinking the same thing as you. Feeling the same thing as you. So know you aren’t alone and things will get better… who knows you may even end up loving it; just like me & DC.