My first visit to Washington DC was in 1989. We took the train from North Carolina to DC for my class trip. It was the first time I had ever visited a big city and I fell in love with our nation’s capitol. I think we were here for about 5 days and we visited every monument and most of the appropriate museums. I fell in love with the busy streets, the metro, the bustle of people, the monuments, the beautiful architecture, the restaurants (though I am sure we ate at really crappy ones- they seemed to this small town girl to be so sophisticated.), the smells of a city, the street vendors…everything. I knew that DC would be my home one day. I remember telling mom and dad that I was going to live in DC one day. So when I graduated from college, we loaded up the U-Haul and I moved to DC.
The DC of my early 20’s was quite different. I never really felt like I lived in a big city. I hated the metro and chose to drive or take cabs everywhere and I most certainly never went down to the mall unless someone was visiting and wanted to see the sites. But for sure I knew trendiest bars and hot spots…YOU BET. It’s so weird, I never really felt like I lived in a big city. I didn’t notice the hustle and I guess I became accustomed to the smell. It felt so small. I honestly can’t believe that I roamed all over this city like it was Mayberry!
Fastforward…I am a tourist again. And DC through my 30ish eyes seems scary and big and crowded and not friendly. The architecture and lure of history is still here, but I can’t believe that I lived in this BIG bustling city…and I liked it. I just can’t get over the fact that I jetted around this city. It doesn’t seem real.
I am staying near the convention center in an area of town that really was sketchy and scary when I lived here. I am not really all that familiar with this part of town, so exploring this afternoon brought me down streets that I have never explored. When I lived here, this part of town did have some high rises with businesses but there wasn’t much residential and certainly not any shopping. Today, there is all kinds of shopping and restaurants. The city may seem so different because I am in a different part of town, but even Georgetown, my beloved favorite spot, seemed dirtier and busier!
So today, I explored DC with a new grown-up set of eyes. Visiting some of my favorite spots and some new ones. In my three years here I never just took a stroll on the mall. This afternoon was the perfect time for a stroll. After being cooped inside meeting rooms all day, I desperately needed to stretch my legs. It has been extremely hot here, record highs, and let me just say…Americans are not pretty on a good day….so on record high days…wow….Note to all Americans…just because you are vaca doesn’t mean you should dress as though you are doing yard work! Anyway- I strolled the mall, enjoyed the fresh air and said a little thank you that I now call Gville home!