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April 27, 2008

Things I'll Miss About DC

It finally hit me last Wednesday night when I went for my usual run down at The National Mall that I'm going to really miss D.C. Beyond the obvious fact that I'll miss all the great friends and colleagues I've met over the last two years, there are the small, seemingly trite and overlooked experiences of living in a place that I’ll miss the most. This was my last run in D.C. and the realization that I’m actually moving to London for the unforeseeable future made me slightly melancholy.

  Originally uploaded by cherbert.

I’m going to miss the view from the Capital looking West down The Mall and to the Lincoln Memorial in the distance. Sitting on the wall with that view in front of me became an important part of my running cool down ritual; it was relaxing, allowed me to clear my brain, decompress from work, and have a good think. In fact, my goal was to dream up some cool web sites or other companies that I wanted to start while sitting there with The Mall stretched out in front of me.

Still haven’t started any of those ideas, yet, but they’re on a list on my computer germinating. Maybe they’re time will never come unless I act on them but I refuse to give into that sentiment that they will never happen. Granted, there’s never a right time for anything but I haven’t given up the dream behind those ideas.

I’ll also miss the Military Band Summer Concert Series that performed on the steps of the Capital. What an amazing venue for listening to a military band play classical music during a warm summer night. And for those concerts that I stumbled onto, during a run of course, I always stopped to listen for awhile and soak in the atmosphere. The band would play close to the North steps and the audience (lots of families) would pack the steps in front of them while the rest of the audience sat or stood in the arced space behind the band.

  Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC 
  Originally uploaded by bpmccaffrey.

Just beyond the Lincoln Memorial is Arlington Memorial Bridge and a set of stairs that look across the Potomac towards Rosslyn, VA. As part of the run, I went across the bridge into Arlington National Cemetery and loop back to those stairs on the D.C. side, running a few speed intervals. The stairs were tiring because they happened after having run out and back across the bridge, which was always windy and the sun was in your face for at least half of the trip. But the view from the set of stairs was always settling and motivating, despite my sore legs and dry throat.

The Capital Hill neighborhood was quite good to me. I’m not in politics so it may seem an unnatural fit but I was talking with a fellow CC alum about the D.C. neighborhoods and she thought that a lot of us came to Capital Hill over other places because it matched the type of people we are. Take that where you want but I think her point was that it has a small town, tight-knit community feel and that’s something that I take away from my experience at CC and being in Colorado Springs. The Hill had that feel where the neighbors knew each other and said hello on the sidewalks or in the coffee shop, families with strollers could walk around during the day to the parks or come back at night without any concern, and the people themselves were outgoing, driven and also cool at the same time.

I’ll miss that vibe of Capital Hill along with my daily walk past Eastern Market on the way to metro every morning. Walking past the dog walk area, the school on 8th and Pennsylvania, and the antics of Barracks Row (there’s nothing like hitting the 7-11 on Barracks Row at night, there was always a odd mix of characters in there. And don’t forget the Sizzlin’ Express either, a chain restaurant that was actually a community hang-out for a lot of Capital Hill people. I will miss the H3 form the hot grill, what a delicious chicken sandwich.

There are more experiences and moments that I’ll miss about D.C. but it’s these kind of innocent, perhaps trite memories that I fondly cherish. It was a good two years (hardly enough time to really know a city but about average for most young people in Washington) and perhaps I’ll return but for now London is my new home. And I’m hoping to discover just as many little nooks and crannies about this city as well.

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