From Sarah Griswold. Email her at sarahg[AT]borderstan.com.
I feel like I have had this conversation a lot lately. Whether it be with long-time/long-distance friends from California to Canada, or friends right here in the District. I absolutely love DC, specifically my neighborhood. Right smack-dab in the middle of the Borderstan region, as close to the U street Metro stop as I am to Dupont location, a short walk to dozens of great restaurants, bars, boutiques.
Here’s the thing, DC has been somewhat of a novelty to me — a recent resident of a little more than a year, I still find exciting to make the short trip down to the monuments when we have guests in town. Into my second year here, I’m finally starting to feel settled, like I belong.
It’s A Young Place
Here’s the thing, to outsiders DC can intimidate the crap out of you. If you have this idea of the city in the image of the past — the people here are stuffy and old, or gangsters and hooligans. I know I certainly got that warning when I first told my loved ones about moving here. But when you spend more than a long weekend here, you realize, WOW, this place is young!
Actually, the average age of DC residents is 33.8 years old. A fact that actually makes it much easier to make friends and do fun stuff than I had thought it would be. And another thing, while yes, there are actually some old, stuffy folks, and even some gangsters in poor areas, the majority of people fall somewhere in the middle, which lends itself to a much more diverse place than you might imagine. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to experience that diversity as a girl who lived the last 18 years in Arizona. Diversity — it’s a good thing.
I Hate Driving
I really hate driving. I feel like I really need to hammer this point home. I REALLY HATE DRIVING. For the first time since turning 16, I don’t own a car. I sold it when I knew we were moving here, and my boyfriend did the same thing. We wanted to live in and experience the city the way it was meant to be experienced, by walking. The convenience of walking, or biking, or busing, or Metro-ing everywhere is actually the best thing ever.
The average commute time in the United States is just more than 25 minutes each way — and in Phoenix, my boyfriend and I were easily at 45 minutes each. That was six hours a week we were spending in our cars, in traffic and cursing those crazy drivers basically the whole time. So lame, not fun. But now, not only has our time decreased by roughly 30 minutes, but we get to enjoy being outside and stretching our legs, making us both much happier people to be around.
It’s Even Beautiful
Lastly, and probably my most favorite thing about living in DC is how unbelievably gorgeous it is. I go on and on about it to my friends and family, but really, unless you have been here to see it for yourself, you have no idea. Of course there are the monuments, The White House, The Smithsonian buildings and the rest of the touristy buildings — all lovely of course.
But for me, it’s the row houses, the little hidden parks tucked away, the flowers all over everything, the old buildings blending with the new, brick sidewalks, George Washington’s face on the side of that building at 15th and U NW, the drum circle in Meridian Hill Park — it’s just all so awesome! Definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.
In short, I think it’s pretty darn important to love where you live. Picking up and moving across the country was a scary proposition, but I’m so glad I did, because I’ve never loved living somewhere as much as I love it here! I hope that all of you can say the same thing about the places you call home.