I’ve been living in Washington, DC for about 2 1/2 months now and people have started to ask me how I like it here. The truth, unfortunately, is that I haven’t been able to see much of the city because I’ve been so occupied with work and school. Originally, I had the idea of going out to see a museum once a weekend, but when football season came around, just after I moved in, that idea went out the window. I’ve been downtown a handful of times and even made it to a Washington Nationals game before the season ended, but apart from that, I spend the majority of my life here in the Northwest DC bubble.
I live in Glover Park, a small, mostly residential neighborhood featuring a bunch of embassies, green spaces, and quiet streets. That is of course, for the hilly Wisconsin Ave, where I live. Day and night I hear the fire trucks and ambulances wailing past, leaving me to believe that either people in Washington, DC are stupid or the emergency services overreact to everything. It’s not like living downtown during rush hour, but you notice the siren when it blares past your window at 2 am. Wisconsin Avenue is your best bet to find any kind of business in this neighborhood, and though there aren’t a great number of options, you can find a few restaurants, cafes and even bars. There are some handy stores, a CVS, Whole Foods, and a couple of gyms.
Yet when I look out my window I see houses and trees, and it appears as though I’m in a suburb outside of the city. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, because while I need to see some wildlife, I also want the feel of being in a city. I want to go downstairs and have a few markets or stores where I can quickly pick up bread or fresh fruit and vegetables. I want a Metro stop nearby, but if you live in Glover Park you’ll need to travel at least over a mile to get to the nearest stop. One night it took me an hour and forty minutes to get to a bar via public transportation, even though it would have been less than a ten minute drive. Because I mostly hang out in this area it only affects me on the weekends when I try to get somewhere else.
Working just down the hill in Georgetown, I walk back and forth to the office each day, taking away the stress of a commute. In two separate six month stints in my two years in Buenos Aires I was able to walk to work and I know how much of a difference it makes on the way you start your day. For that, I’m grateful, though sometimes I think it would be nice to make it farther down just to get out of the area and see something else. I head back to my apartment, study, get in a run if possible (though it’s getting less manageable with assignments and the colder weather) and then make the 25 minute walk to campus.
Depending on the day and how many meetings I have, I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon in Tenleytown at American University, then head home again to continue studying and call it a night. So how is DC? I wish I could tell you. From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. Some people do profess a love for this city, but it has yet to grow on me. There’s a weird vibe brought on by the journeymen who aren’t really from here, young go-getters trying to make a name for themselves, and diplomats driving around. By the end of at least two years studying here, I’m sure I’ll have a better appreciation for it, and will be able to talk more about the capital of the United States.