Misadventures in D.C.


An Ongoing Look at the Urban Life of Vince


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If you’d told me seven years ago that I would still be living in DC in the fall of 2006, I’d have punched your arm and called you out of your mind. Yet here I am, sitting in Foggy Bottom this afternoon, admiring the view from the Watergate windows and thinking about my place in the world.

It’s no secret that most of my time in this city has been marked by an ambivalence towards it, an undercurrent of doubt as to whether Washington is where I truly belong. I don’t pretend to have answered this question once and for all. Yet, for the first sustained period I can remember, I feel a dramatic improvement in our relationship, that years of proximity have finally given way to a some sort of new understanding and appreciation. While DC isn’t perfect, I can finally start to see myself settling here for longer than a six-month horizon.

Interestingly enough, my most recent trip to London is largely responsible for my shift in perspective.

After spending six days there with my friends -- all of whom have a degree and are fully immersed in their own unique orbits -- I came away with a simple yet profound realization: that life in the UK really isn’t that much different than my own in the States. That my own city has most of the same ingredients as this place I’ve idealized. And that once you have those ingredients, it’s not so much the geographic location that matters, but what you do with yourself while there.

My day on Saturday seemed to confirm this for me. It was one of those gloriously radiant autumn days that has no business being so nice, given the month of the year. Such days bring out the best in my neighborhood, and as I aimlessly wandered through the streets and through Meridian Hill Park, I was filled with this immense sense of gratitude – I felt so lucky to have such an awesome apartment, a compatible roommate, the privilege of living in this cultural melting pot, with leafy green spaces and ethnic restaurants at my doorstep. It’s such a fit for me. And it’s totally inappropriate of me to take it for granted.
  • (Anonymous)
    I felt the exact same connection between London and DC...only opposite. I actually adore living in DC and when I took a trip to London this past summer, I thought "wow, this isn't so different...I could live here."

    Great post!
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