First Week in DC: Impressions

February 2, 2012

What can I say?  I’ve been to DC before as a tourist, but living here is well, different.  The city is welcoming, and even forgiving, bustling, but never overwhelming.  I love it, but if you asked me what I love about it, I don’t think I would be able to answer you.  It’s just a feeling I get when I’m walking to work and I see the Washington Monument always looming over me, or on the Metro passing through Arlington National Cemetery, or getting off at Union Station and seeing the magnificent dome of the Capitol and thinking “I could walk there.  I could go in there if I wanted to”.  It’s like the grand “American mythology” of the founding fathers and the government and the President that we learn about in school but never really experience, is all right here, living and breathing.

Although if you asked me what I don’t like about DC, I could certainly provide you with plenty very specific examples.  I could say, well, the Metro is too expensive, and the pricing system doesn’t really make sense.  Why is it more expensive for me to go from Crystal City to West Farragut than it is for me to just travel one stop further and get off at McPherson Square?  I’m spending more time on the Metro, and going farther, so shouldn’t it cost more?  And depending on what time you’re traveling, there are three different prices you could be paying.  I don’t like that I can never find a cheap cup of coffee, or a cheap anything.  I don’t like that once you get away from the main tourist area, up around the Northwest quadrant, all the streets and blocks start to look the same.

But that’s just me nitpicking, because I do love it here.  I love that there is plenty of free stuff to do if you know where to look.  For example, the Kennedy Center puts on free concerts every night at 6.  All the Smithsonian museums are free, and I have a feeling you could spend a whole year here and never see everything those museums have to offer.  It’s a city where you can go to work all day, and then go be a tourist.  And you’re in the middle of everything.  It is very difficult to be in DC and be totally sheltered from politics.  And if politics isn’t your thing, whatever your thing is, it’s here, without a doubt.

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