If you follow my Twitter feed you know that I had a really good day on Monday. At the end of the day I said a blog would be following “soon.” Well I meant for soon to be faster than four days, but this is what you get. I’ve been busy.
Anyway, my first week on the East Coast has been incredible. There has been stress and worry, certainly, as you know from my post about my first day here. My friends and family have been very supportive and encouraging as I dealt with those feelings of loneliness and fear in this new environment. I have also received both of the boxes I was worried about. That is a huge relief. The apartment is clean and livable. Crisis averted.
Since that first day, though, things have really turned around. I have gotten used to navigating and travelling via buses and trains. I am a master of the Metro :) It gets expensive, though. You can’t buy an unlimited pass for any amount of time and each trip is going to cost about $2.50. Buses are far cheaper.
Back to my good week, and especially my good day. It is strange for me to have had a good Monday because for the last year Mondays were always really rough. But, that’s why I traded in my life in the West for this new one out here. Monday was my first trip into DC since I’ve arrived over here. I’m living in College Park, MD until August, mind you. I had to take the Metro into the DC Teaching Fellows main office so I could be fingerprinted. That journey went off without a hitch.
I was nervous about not being late, though. I arrived two hours early. This was the farthest I’d gone on the Metro and I just left when I was ready without really thinking about the time.
I wandered for a minute, getting the lay of the city. Eventually I settled into a coffee shop to have something to drink while I studied materials for the DCTF Summer Institute.
The fingerprinting was easy if not quick, and my next destination was the house I will move into in August. I will rent a room from this nice couple that live in DC. I will post pictures when I actually move in, but for now let me just tell you that I love the space I am going to get. I will be renting the basement, basically. But they turned it into this great little living space, with a bedroom and private bathroom. It has a bonus room that I am excited to put to use as an office and study. The household washer and dryer are downstairs, easily accessible. When I go upstairs, I am right in the kitchen. I can see myself living here long-term. The location is great as well.
As great as the space is, that is only half of it. The couple I will be living with are so incredibly nice and interesting. The gentleman is a photographer. He’s been doing it for a long time and he’s quite good. The woman used to do something more professional oriented, I forget exactly what, but now she makes these leather purses and pouches and sells them at the Eastern Market. I am going to commission her to make me a new bag!
There will also be someone else renting one of the rooms upstairs, but they haven’t found a renter yet. I am so incredibly excited about my transition into DC and my permanent dwelling. It feels so right and I can already tell I am going to be incredibly happy there.
My last stop was a mixer with some of the other Fellows, but that was scheduled for 5:30 and I finished visiting with my future housemates at around 1:00. When I asked about a theatre where I could kill a couple hours, they directed me to Chinatown, just a couple stops away on the Metro.
It was amazing. It was such a bustling, busy city environment. Right as I left the Metro station I found the Smithsonian Art and Portraiture Gallery. Since my only goal was to kill time I went inside. I never even made it to the more general art gallery, I became so fascinated with the portraits. I didn’t realize how incredibly moving and meaningful and diverse and grandiose portraits could be. I was struck by the fact that this was a free activity in the CITY I LIVE IN.
I will briefly mention that I did go see a movie after I finished at the Gallery. Super 8 was great. It had the feel of an older movie, like ET if ET had been a monster movie. It was a bit like IT in some respects. I wish I could have seen it with my brother Collin or my friend Aren.
Finally, I made my way to the mixer. And I got lost.
Not really lost, I just mis-navigated. As I left the metro station I was already on the street I needed, but I thought it was farther south. So I crossed that street and then started looking for it. I didn’t find it. I found a map and checked my position, and found I was about 12 blocks too far south. And these were big ol’ city blocks. No worries, though. The whole point is to learn to navigate the city.
Once I arrived at the restaurant I started meeting people. There were representatives from DCTF there as well. It was a really good time. One I don’t think I would have enjoyed nearly as much if I hadn’t started taking Paxil before I left Oregon. I made some friends that I have chatted with since then at other Fellows events. Everyone else is just as nervous and excited about this crazy undertaking we’re all going to share.
It was getting dark as I got off the train and walked home. I didn’t realize there were fireflies in this part of the country. I didn’t know what they were at first. They looking like sparks popping up from the ground and they were everywhere.
Seeing them light my way home just made the successful nature of the day settle on me. My confidence cemented in that moment. The image of those fireflies is forever tied to what I felt at that moment: alight with joy and success.