This week is my first official week of summer. It’s been hot and muggy in D.C. for sometime now, but real summer–my summer–began not with the weather, but with the end of (most) obligations. Much like it did when we were kids. 06162014_016 As I child I remember not understanding why all people didn’t get summer vacation. One time I asked my mom why dad still had to go to work once I was out of school and when she explained that only students (and teachers) get summer vacation, I remember thinking that the concept of no summer seemed alien and cruel. How else do you get to celebrate the end of a hard-earned year? How are you supposed to get excited for work/school again when you don’t have a few months off to read all day and swim? 06162014_021 My 9-5 hasn’t ended yet, but grown-up summer still means no more tutoring, no more Hindi homework, no more grammar homework, and no more studying for the GRE (which was Saturday afternoon…didn’t go so well, but that’s ok). 06162014_026 Last summer (post-graduation summer) was about freedom, friends, and exploration. There were no limits, no deadlines, no obligations. This summer is a little different. It’s constrained to evenings and weekends because I am still working (no more late mornings with brownies for breakfast and afternoons spent reading on the roof), and, unlike last year, it is focused on one place. Well, really two. I spend enough time in Virginia to consider it a place well worth investing my summer hours in. A place that feels just as much like home as D.C. does. 06162014_024 Last summer was about how much ground I could cover in 6 weeks (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington state, New Orleans, Texas…) and this summer is about exploring the places in D.C. I haven’t yet, spending time with the friends I’ve made because I don’t know when I will see them again, and embracing the time I have to myself. And so far summer is starting with a book list, a bucket list, a new camera, and tortilla española.    

(photos courtesy of Justin Rotundo)

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