All right, it is official. I wrote a little bit about this class I took on how to teach English to non-native speakers, but haven’t mentioned it since. The actual class has long since ended and so for the past several weeks I have been working on finishing the online grammar component (almost done!) and preparing all of my application materials. Oxford Seminars (the name of the program) doesn’t get you a job, but they do submit your applications to their partners in various countries, help you prepare for interviews/negotiate contracts, etc. All that good stuff.
And yesterday, I received an email from my career advisor saying that my application had been sent off! This morning I woke up to an email from one of the schools asking to speak with me on the phone. IT IS HAPPENING.
I know a lot of people generally wait to share this kind of news until plans are finalized and ready to go, but a) I am too excited to contain myself and b) if it doesn’t work out, something else will. I’ll still keep the location a secret until that gets figured out though, just for fun. I am giddy about whatever adventures are next, but I still have a few more months left in our nation’s capitol and I do not intend on wasting them. I have a few things in mind that I’d like to do before I leave, but mostly I just want to spend time with the people I have met and hope to always know.
My friends from home and school (either when they visit or when we catch up via novel length emails or marathon phone conversations) ask me what life is like in D.C. How do I like it? What’s my favorite thing? Was it what I expected? I’d lived here before (in the spring of 2012) when I did a semester in Washington through Carleton. I lived in Arlington, VA and interned with the National Defense University. I was only here for 2 months, but fell in love with this city. From the minute I landed, my senses were in full overload. The sounds of the city were quite different from the midnight train whistles at Carleton. There were more than five restaurants and the beer cost three to four times what it did at the local bars in Northfield. Spring time was beautiful and there were festivals, farmer’s markets, and food trucks. We ran ourselves ragged with museums and monuments and then spent most of our weekends brunching and binge watching Game of Thrones. I liked ‘working life’ as a change of pace from school and to suddenly move from cornfields to a city considered the gateway to the world–where a nerd in a suit can attend all of the public events her little heart desires–was thrilling.
Having been here a little longer this time around and becoming more immersed in the city and working world than I was with Carleton, I’ve discovered more things that I like and more things that I dislike. I found this list and laughed because it sums up my feelings quite nicely.
24 Things You Learn When You Move To D.C.
1. Snow > the federal government. The way this city handles snow is a joke. We had 1 snow day in my four years in Minnesota. Not that I mind. Having not had a snow day since I was a child, I can tell you that they are a trillion times more exciting as an adult. No work, coffee, reading all day, and throwing snowballs at parked cars? Yes.
2. Coming from Boston, this place and its people are pretty damn friendly. I haven’t been to Boston in ages, so I can’t comment. I’m visiting this summer though!
3. Coming from anywhere else, they’re rude as hell. I’ve met some pretty great people, but yes. D.C. is south of the mason dixon line, but lacks the southern hospitality gene.
4. The Washington Monument looks better covered in scaffolding. False.
5. You’re never the smartest person in the room (and you don’t want to be). This is kind of true, you would be surprised. However, when it is true, you can always try to be the most open-minded though, and that will take you just as far.
6. People will ask you what you do for a living before asking how you’re doing. Even for someone as type A as me, the workaholism and competitiveness in this city is tiring. This is what I hate about D.C. Don’t talk to me about who you know and what you do. Talk to me about YOU. If you don’t have a life outside of your profession and you’re only talking to me because you think I can do something for you, I’m out.
7. If it weren’t for happy hour, I couldn’t afford to live here. I rarely go to happy hour and still have trouble figuring out how people live here and manage to save money.
8. Seriously, BOGO for alcohol is the best. Still doesn’t beat 2-for-1’s in Northfield.
9. Competitive karaoke is a thing, and it’s awesome. I have yet to find this, but I have done karaoke. We did “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce and the birthday girl didn’t know the words, so she danced while we sang.
10. Donald Rumsfeld uses the self-checkout at CVS. He goes to the one by my office. Even former Secretaries of Defense need q-tips.
10b. (That is considered name-dropping in DC.) It is annoying and don’t do it.
11. Work hard, brunch harder. Considering how seriously I take breakfast, I thought I would like this more. But brunch is expensive and I’ve quickly come to associate it with symbols of status.
12. Some French asshole put rotaries or traffic circles or whatever the hell they’re called all over the place. Worst. Idea. Ever. The circles do throw off the easy navigating system of the city grid. I don’t drive though, so it doesn’t bother me too much.
13. Nonprofits are a business. Their product hopefully helps others, but it’s not a bunch of absentminded idealists in a room talking out of their ass. Some might be, but I will be the last person to shoot down nonprofits. Dedicated idealists who want change? Go for it.
14. It’s the gayest city in America. No, really. It’s true. My single roommate reminds me of this often.
15. Chinatown should just be called China Street or China Alley. Putting Chinese lettering on a Walgreens and a Chipotle doesn’t make a Chinatown. Amen.
16. There’s a weird rivalry between the people of New York City and DC. It’s stronger than the Yankees and the Red Sox. I haven’t found this to be true, but I do know that people who love one city have a hard time moving to the other.
17. House of Cards is filmed mostly in Baltimore. Never seen it….but Homeland also isn’t filmed here.
18. The metro looks nothing like it does in Scandal. Yeah that was weird.
19. The humidity in the summer can make it feel like the devil is Frenching you everywhere. This is a really strange analogy, but its true. I thought I could handle summer heat coming from Texas, but D.C. heat is wet and work clothes are the WORST for humid weather.
20. In addition to the Smithsonian and all of the historical landmarks, there’s a wax museum that has a bunch of presidents and celebrities you can grope. Never been, but it is true that there are a lot of things to do besides the typical museums and landmarks.
21. Heavyset tourists will take Segway tours around the monuments. God bless America. Hey now. If I could afford a segway tour, I woud.
22. Bikers will ignore bike lanes and traffic laws. They’re like honey badgers on two wheels just not giving any f****. Biking in this city scares me.
23. If you’re using the escalators in the metro, walk on the left side and stand on the right. I’m looking at you, interns and conference-goers. And don’t forget the hoards of tourists and school groups that flock here when the weather gets warmer. It is infuriating. The metro brings out the worst in me.
24. Washington, DC isn’t broken. Congress is. There are half a million people in this town who work very hard for nonprofits, private businesses, and government agencies. They support their families and great causes. They’re not broken. The people you elect and send here are. Not all of them are, but yes, I generally agree with this statement. The ‘brokenness’ of D.C. is centered around a few buildings, while the majority of people in this city busts their backs to make things better for their country and the world.
I am itching for what comes next, but to be clear, I am not ready to leave because I don’t like it here. To the contrary, I have had a wonderful time and I know that spring is going to bring all kinds of new exciting things because seasons let you discover places all over again. I am ready to leave because I am restless and eager for more. And it is happening.