A Minnesotan in DC

It is important that I take these moments of transition, as I plunge into the middle of this city, built on a swamp, home of powerful institutions, with a culture all its own, a vibrant and intense culture that threatens to consume and assimilate those who dare enter.

Lance Armstrong doesn’t stand a chance… While it’s an exhilarating high speed ride TO downtown, the bike trip on the way home, from Capitol Hill to Glover Park in the NW of the District of Columbia, is all uphill. I am pretty committed to being a bike commuter though, maybe to maintain a bit of the earthy culture of Minnesota and Minneapolis, an ingrained need to suffer just a little (see Garrison Keilor), some subconscious fear of becoming too “nine to five.” I have already done a great deal of exploring, and I had a great weekend getting lost in new neighborhoods, and still so much more to explore.

The power of technology served me well, and I found a place to stay through Craigslist. I am living in the Glover Park neighborhood, North of Georgetown University and South of American University, NW of the Downtown Washington DC area. Check out the map http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=3828+Calvert+St+NW&sll=38.923426,-77.061152&sspn=0.014824,0.040169&ie=UTF8&ll=38.923727,-77.075379&spn=0.007412,0.020084&t=h&z=16&iwloc=addr

It is very safe, lots of great restaurants and nice food stores (definitely a temptation that I will have to budget for in this city…), great bus lines, lots and lots of gorgeous trees and gardens and parks. Not exactly the most diverse neighborhood in the world… pretty exclusively upper middle class, always people walking well manicured dogs in the evening, carrying their Whole Foods shopping bags… but I think it will be a great place to live.

My friend Kat took the time and lost the sleep to take a road trip, driving me from Minneapolis all the way out to the East Coast – turning straight around to make the exhausting return journey to start summer classes on Monday and get back to work. I am so lucky to have the friends that I do, it has made a possibly traumatic experience something truly wonderful.

Fresh beets and tomatoes, East coast grown, from the Dupont Circle Sunday Farmers’ Market, turned into a sort of garlicy cream sauce, a long, enjoyable and messy cooking spree in my new kitchen, taking the time to indulge in it with the knowledge that afternoons to myself are a limited commodity, what with a “real job” now and everything. Finding the market was but one of the many small triumphs over the weekend, each little new thing reminding me how much pleasure I get out of learning a new place, a new city, be it Jakarta, Penang, Kunming or Washington DC.

And so, in the morning, a new job, new habits, so many new things to learn. Exciting, anxiety producing.

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