Monday, January 15, 2018

Moving, Settling, Reconnecting

Washington D.C., Week One | December 31, 2017 - January 7, 2018

With recent life changes, I foresee it being difficult to regularly get out and find new things to talk about, at least not the same way I have been the last few years of living by an irregular schedule. In keeping with the continuity of this space, where I document new life changes, I want to semi-regularly talk about what's happening in life as I settle into new patterns, to capture all of the feelings and small moments that would otherwise get lost.

I've been living in D.C. for two weeks now at the time of writing this (though this post only covers the first week), and it's a little-but-not-quite surprising how quickly I've settled back into the big city routine. The novelty of living in D.C. is not quite what it would typically be as I already spent three months here not too long ago, so while I now live in a different suburban city and take a different route to work and actually work in D.C. and not across the Virginia border, it's still a routine I'm familiar with and a pace of life I'm accustomed to.

I drove up with my parents on New Year's Eve Eve to move all of my beginnings in, though it took several days longer than it should have with building management being particular about when new move-ins are allowed (and they've still yet to ask me for the $200 move-in fee, so??). We moved in boxes intermittently throughout the weekend, pushing stacks of my belongings up against the back wall to be unpacked later. The rest of our time was spent running around the city trying to stay warm amidst the Arctic blast and eating at D.C. hot spots, first at St. Elmo's Coffee Pub before church for toasted bagel sandwiches and Stumptown drip, then Holy Cow for custom burgers, Compass for hot coffee and Moroccan mint tea, and Jinya for New Year's Eve ramen. Amongst all the food, we took the Metro - the cars unusually quiet due to the ferocity of the weather outdoors - into the District to walk around the National Gallery, walking amongst the Impressionist painters then through a Vermeer exhibit, which the three of us agreed was technically impressive but visually dull.

After my parents returned home to Raleigh, it was left to me to settle into a daily routine of work and not-work. After a few final days of nothing before starting my job which I spent reacquainting myself with some of my favorite District spots and getting lunch with a friend from the summer, I was thrust into the world of Department of Labor grants and running on federal government timelines. So far this has entailed writing video briefs and cross-referencing spreadsheets of DOL grantees in congressional districts that are organized either by zip code or county but never both and never in what I need, and while I can see how work could become commonplace in the future for now it's exciting.

As for my new home life -- my roommate and I get along well, though we only cross paths briefly each day as our work schedules are off by an hour on both ends and we each have our various evening activities to attend. But on the first Friday night of being here, after a hellish day of weather delays and building security related problems, we both settled into the couch with full glasses of moscato and watched The Americans, and it was a relief to know that no matter how stressful living in the capital can get, at least life in my apartment is good.

On the Sunday afternoon following a full week of living here, I had a taste of the fun of being an active person on the internet, as I met up with a few fellow instagram friends at a coffee shop in Arlington, where we talked about coffee (of course), the annoyances of social media algorithms, and life in general. Having followed each of them on instagram from anywhere from months to mere days, it was fun to see what each one was like in person and which aspects of their personalities they emphasise online. That same Sunday evening, I visited a fellow churchgoer's house to try a new small group that, funny enough, was hosted in the same neighborhood I lived in over the summer, just one block over. While the group was not the right fit for me, it was a relief to know that this year will not be the same as last summer, where I had too few activities to fill my time with and felt the full weight of continual loneliness; now, I have a job where I interact with five other introverts daily, an apartment with a friendly roommate I come back to every evening, and a new church family to grow into and meet new people in. It's only been two weeks, but everything is already starting to fall into place, and I'm happy that D.C. is where I ended up.

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