After more than three and a half years in DC, it’s finally time to say goodbye.
As anyone who has lived here for more than a year would know, DC is an extremely transient city, with 20-30 somethings spending a few years here to kickstart their careers. I’ve seen a number of friends come and go, and sometimes come back. It’s always sad to see yet another person leave, but after awhile you get used to it, and more than that, I always knew eventually I will be one of those people. Except, now after three years, I finally feel at home and more comfortable here than anywhere else. But it’s the same comfort that’s telling me it’s time to move on.
As soon as I finalized my plans to move and it became real, I started reflecting on the things I would miss most about DC. I’m definitely going to miss the incredible collection of museums, most of which don’t cost a penny to visit. I sure won’t miss the paucity of decent Asian food in DC, but I will miss the crabcakes benedict at Matchbox, the damn good Amsterdam falafels, happy hour cocktails and chocolate onyx at Cocosala, pupusas and unbeatably cheap meals at El Rinconcito, Satin Sheets at the Gibson, the beer menu at Birch and Barley, and Hot and Juicy anytime anyday. Oh and that new Laotian place in Columbia Heights, Thip Khao. So. good.
I’m going to miss not needing to travel thousands of miles to be part of Inauguration Day, or getting last minute invites to go see Obama at an event, or being in the nation’s capital during election years (it’s really quite exciting and the only time I’m really caught up on politics).
I’m especially going to really miss being surrounded by a group of genuinely kind people who haven’t lost faith in their abilities to affect change in the world, even if in tiny increments, as an individual or as a member of a larger community. As Frank Underwood said, people in DC are driven not by money, but by power, which I agree, but would argue that for many people, it is not the self-serving, ladder-climbing kind of power that they seek (though no doubt there are plenty of those too), but the power of influence, to be able to work on issues of importance to them and contribute to progress.
And finally and most of all, I’m going to miss all the wonderful friends I’ve made while in DC. I know I said friends always come and go when you’re living in this town, but you also know when a friend is one that you’ll keep for a long, long time. I have made a few of these and I’m extremely lucky to have them.
This weekend, I packed all my belongings into my car and headed out of DC. It still feels surreal that I won’t be walking Keiko around the same block and taking the same route to work and picking up coffee along the way and going to happy hour at the usual dingy Irish pub and cooking dinner in my lovely apartment and watching our usual shows with my lovely roommate, anymore. I’m now on a week-long cross-country road trip with two friends. It’ll probably sink in when it’s over and I get to my destination. But for now, DC still feels not too far away.