As August draws to a close, we have so many reasons to celebrate: birthdays, anniversaries, coming out of two natural disasters (within 5 days) unscathed, and anticipating the beginning of a brand new chapter of our lives!
August has always been one of my favorite months. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, its arrival means that summer freedom is coming to a close and school will soon be back in session. But it’s also the month of my birthday! (And my mom’s; I love that we share the same day.) For over a decade, it was also the month of an annual extended family beach trip. And for the last three years, it’s been the month of Brian’s and my wedding anniversary. So it’s a great month.
This year August was even more eventful than usual. I spent almost every weekend working on a film (rather than my usual sleeping in and going to the farmers market and cooking and blogging). I was also in the midst of a will-we-or-won’t-we-be-moving-across-the-country-next-month quandary, which was causing me more than a little anxiety.
A couple of days before my birthday, I was offered a wonderful and unique opportunity for a new job at an organization whose work I admire and that is actually in the same field as my graduate degree. (Imagine that.) I accepted the position on the morning of my birthday, which happened to also be the same day as my first earthquake ever. Maybe it means that this coming year is going to be particularly …. vibrant? Moving? Earth-shaking? Or maybe it doesn’t mean anything.
The new job means a new city and a cross-country move. Actually, we’re moving back home. We’ll be within driving distance of our families, close to lots of friends, and finally in a position to get a house with a yard, where I’ll finally get to grow some vegetables of my own(!).
I've learned a lot in my 5 years in DC. We’ve enjoyed our city life, but we’re at a point where being close to our families is a priority, where the comforts and ease of small-town living are more alluring, and the inconveniences of the city are starting to outweigh the advantages. A five- to ten-minute commute is also pretty appealing.
Guess what? I blew them all out in one breath.
Our destination town is Fayetteville, where Brian and I first met and where we both attended the University of Arkansas. Fayetteville is a charming place nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. It’s a top college town and boasts a lively arts scene, a brand-new American art museum (nearby), and a 60-stall farmers market. It’s a place where college football passions run high and cost of living runs low. It’s also the home of some of my favorite people in the world.
Oh, but it does get hot there. And there’s no Trader Joe’s within a 199-mile radius. (The closest one is exactly 200 miles away. I checked.) Whole Foods is 180 miles away. I’m already anxious about where we’ll find our favorite cheeses. (Yes, I mean you, Santa Teresa.) Is it possible to buy cheese online? On the upside, there is a great locally owned natural foods store (a co-op, in fact) that I’m excited to explore.
September 28 will officially be our last day in the District.
John F. Kennedy said that “Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.”
He knew what he was talking about, and there are a number of things we won’t miss about the city, including the WMATA with its myriad problems and those of the DC/MD/VA drivers who refuse to use their blinkers or turn their lights on in the rain.
On the other hand, there are plenty of things we will miss about DC. I’ll miss my kitchen and its humongous island (but hopefully I’ll find a new one with equally excellent counter space). We’ll miss having the year-round Dupont farmers market and our neighborhood14th and U farmers market, Ethiopian food, and great grocery stores. We’ll miss the U Street Corridor; wine happy hour and bocce at Vinoteca; fried oysters and gypsy jazz at 1905. I’ll miss the shopping (but not the inconvenience of getting there). We'll miss impromptu weekend trips to New York City that don't require a plane ticket. We’ll miss the view from our rooftop deck and seeing the Washington Capitals play live. We’ll miss the parish we’ve grown to love and the beautiful Masses at the Basilica. Most of all, we’ll miss our DC and New York friends. But we'll have great excuses to come back and visit.