A Year Older in Washington, D.C.

I’m 22 now, and it’s weird because I haven’t had to say it out loud yet. It’s like being 19 or 29, an “in-between age.” I also feel really old. When I turn 23 next year I should just start searching for senior living communities and practice writing letters to the grandkids that I don’t have. Anyway, I decided to go to Washington D.C. for my birthday this year to visit the area and decide whether or not I’d be interested in moving there at the end of the summer.

(audible gasps and whispering – a woman screams in the distance)

I know, I know, you’re probably all wondering what happened to NYC. It is absolutely still on the table! I just decided to expand those dreams to give me the best chance of a successful future. As of right now, the three cities I have on my list are: New York, Philadelphia and D.C. I believe that I’ll get a great start no matter which one I choose.

Back to D.C.; the area I stayed in was near Dupont Circle and I have to say, it was pretty nice. Rows and rows of beautifully-built brownstones and streets that were lined with trees. The most noticeable feature of the area after the homes were the Embassies. I saw the Argentinian, Democratic Republic of Congo and Lithuanian embassies all within a 15 minute walk of one another. Talk about culture!

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Walking through D.C., I couldn’t get a solid read on the energy of the city and it really unsettled me. It’s certainly a major hub for professionals, and everything was beautiful; but it seemed very closed off. It had the hustle and bustle of NYC, but the weird calmness of a suburb. However, there were times when it really came alive. We strolled through a park during our walk and found a drum circle that filled the air with a steady beat and random shouts of excitement. Right next to that were ornate ponds and fountains that just begged you to grab a cup of coffee and your favorite book and spend a few hours there. Or in my case, take pictures.

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Of course, no visit to our nations capital would be complete without obligatory tourist photos at all of the monuments. I’m particularly proud of my Washington Monument picture. (Scroll down for all of those.) We weren’t able to get close to the White House, there was something going down and the police had it blocked off. We saw two different motorcades with snipers hanging out of black SUVs pull into the White House grounds later on. I’m just tossing this out there but it very well may have been a visit from Beyonce. Just sayin’.

The next day, I had coffee with a family friend who works in D.C. and she gave me some really good insight into moving to the area, as well as advice on starting my career after college. I know for a fact that if I ever move to D.C., I’ll always have at least one person there who will look out for me and make sure I’m doing alright. She’s doing very well for herself and it’s important to surround myself with people who will help me grow at this time in my career.

Afterwards, we went to all the museums that we were too tired to go to the day before. The city isn’t that big but good Lord; there is so much walking involved when you’re busy being a tourist. My feet were crying from all the abuse they were getting. I think the coolest thing I saw during the entire trip was an adult ball-pit installation at the National Building Museum. I mean, JUST LOOK AT ALL OF THE FUN THAT IS HAPPENING DOWN THERE. WHAT.

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In the National Museum of Natural History, we walked through the butterfly room and the butterflies took a huge liking to me. Either that, or they liked the natural oils that I use in my hair. I had a buddy that stayed on my shoulder during the entire twenty minutes we were there. I named him Chester – Chester the Butterfly.

For my birthday dinner, I wanted to go somewhere fancy. Being the classy gentleman that I am, I chose a Mexican restaurant. Now when I tell you these portions were so small, I literally mean that I was offended. I was sure that I’d ordered from the kids menu by mistake. It was so bad that I was looking up pizza places nearby while I was still eating so that I could get some real food. I guess I can finally say that I’ve had the upscale dining experience and I have concluded that it is not for me.

On my last day we went to Silver Springs, Maryland to check it out. The friend that I met with lives there and she said it was a great area for young professionals who work in D.C., and I liked it! It was clean, diverse and everyone looked happy. Or at least they were pretending to be. And…they have a SweetGreen! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a salad chain that’s been predicted to become the next Chipotle.DSCN0506 We’ll see. I know how Americans feel about salad. We stopped in for lunch and I was impressed. At last, another establishment that vegetarians can act snobby about. This was the Mexican Corn Elote Bowl that I ordered. As soon as I get famous I plan on being a celebrity endorser for SweetGreen. Kind of like that Jared Guy from Subway – minus the child pornography scandal and fuzzy details about his actual weight loss.

It was an interesting trip and I had a wonderful time and birthday. Everyone who sent me Happy Birthday texts, posts, calls and tweets really made my day. Thank you again! A special thank you to Theo, who made this trip amazingly fantastic and put up with me complaining about anything and everything whenever I was tired, hungry or a combination of the two. It takes a certain level of intense patience and self-control.

Things I’ll take away from D.C.:

  1. Do not stand on the left side of the escalators in the Metro stations unless you plan to walk while you’re on them. Stay to the right if you want to stand still. People get very angry. I got yelled at.
  2. Diversity of culture and race is enormous in this city! It was actually rare to hear people speaking English!
  3. There’s no such thing as a 24-hour anything. Siri cannot find you pizza. No matter how late it is, how drunk you are and how nicely you ask her.
  4. This city is for working professionals. If you’re not on your game you will not like it.
  5. Important decisions happen here. It’s easy to forget that the most powerful man in the world literally lives in that house that you just want to snap a picture of.
  6. The city holds some of the most important pieces of American history in its museums and monuments. There are plenty of reminders to be grateful for the life you live because so many have died to preserve it.

Will I end up in Washington? Who knows, I certainly don’t. I had a great time exploring it and wouldn’t hesitate to move there if the opportunity arose. Till next time!

As promised, pictures.

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