On the beginning of my New Life
Short version: It has taken some getting used to, but maybe not quite as much as I expected, and I am really loving it.
Long version: The whole process of finding an apartment and packing and moving had me pretty freaked out/unhappy/apprehensive. I thought that DC would be so different and weird and dangerous that this year-long experiment with post-college life wouldn’t even get off the ground and that it would turn into a miserable year of waiting it out. I worried about getting mugged, I worried that I wouldn’t get along with my roommate, I worried that there would be nothing to do in my neighborhood, I worried that I would be paying too much for a crappy apartment, etc.
But, a month or two in, that all looks pretty silly. Yes, my neighborhood is definitely not as, uh, white as, well, everywhere else I’ve ever lived (and many other parts of DC, to boot), but it’s got a lot of character and I am totally in love with the tree-lined streets and row houses. I have personally met all our neighbors (who are all nice, friendly, interesting people) and already befriended the people who work at our neighborhood coffee shop (which has more than lived up to my high expectations, and keeps us supplied with the freshest and best goddam coffee I have ever tasted). My roommate is pretty much my West-coast doppelganger and needless to say we get along swimmingly, with our His and His bookcases, four (yes, four) bikes, experimental music, and dinner-cooking. Ruth lives just on the other side of downtown (and the Capitol) and we have actually been Going Out and Socializing Together—major Real Life points.
Living in the city is about as great as I imagined it would be before I started worrying about all the practical stuff. The novelty of doing all the stereotypically urban things—going out to shows and bars, checking out the apparently endless assortment of indie coffee shops, walking, public-transport-ing, and biking everywhere, hosting and attending various sorts of communal meals, spending a whole afternoon at the monuments/art museum/botanical gardens, free string quartet concerts—has not worn off, and I’m pretty sure it won’t any time soon. I am particularly fond of the combination of urban anonymity and twenty-something we-all-just-graduated-from-college-and-moved-to-DC camaraderie. I do of course miss Williams, and a big part of that is not being able to walk more than a hundred yards without bumping into a half-dozen people you know. But sometimes that can be suffocating, and it’s nice to have some space to try on new identities and explore things for myself without feeling quite so intensely self-conscious all the time. The larger context of anonymity makes the things that are familiar and intimate more special and more personal.
So, consider this my return to the world of the living, and expect to hear more about things that are occupying my time and attention these days—namely, lentils, speech processing, bikes, coffee, and beer.