Risotto, reunions, Tucson, what I’ve learned from 7 months in DC

At the beginning of this week, I had an absurd idea. For health purposes, I considered slashing coffee from my diet. I chug a minimum of 2.5 cups a day, and this consumption might be too hard on my body. I couldn’t completely cut coffee, especially since I adore everything about coffee shops, but I could certainly benefit from opting for tea on most days. Tea has soothing effects, but it also tastes like boiled toilet water.

So, the whole “let’s be healthier” challenge might be too great for me to tackle. Oh well.

In my last post, I said I’d planned an April trip to Tucson. I scheduled my flight on a whim, and for a day, I felt this might have been an irresponsible financial decision on my part. Then I got a call from my close Tucson friend Dyanna, whose best childhood friend had just been killed. She’s crushed and devastated that one of her closest lifelong buddies is gone forever, and I know the tragedy will take a while for her to process. Anyway, we both agreed that it’s great I booked a Tucson flight for next month, as she’s going to need lots of moral support and advice. She’s also going to need me around, and I will do my best to talk her through it.

Yesterday, I caught up with another best college friend, Tracey, who lives in the D.C. area. Believe it or not, she’s actually part of the reason I moved out here.

Tracey and I lived in the dorms together as college freshmen, but we didn’t get to know each other until a Kappa Alpha party sophomore year. Late that night, all of our mutual friends wanted to eat at Nico’s Taco Shop, but we wanted to stay at the fraternity house, so Tracey and I hung out on the front porch while the others indulged in southern Arizona Mexican cuisine. Tracey and I figured out we had a lot in common and were pretty much inseparable from that point on. The same thing happened junior year, but unfortunately Tracey graduated early and left me to live out my senior year without her. Luckily, we road tripped together from Arizona to D.C. in 2009, and I’ll never forget the memories from that adventure.

Anyway, she went back to D.C. every summer during college because she grew up in northern Virginia. Oddly enough, I received an opportunity to do a journalism internship in D.C. in summer 2008, and that experience led me to ultimately move back there for good.

To my luck, Tracey still lives here, and no matter how much time we go without seeing each other, nothing changes.

For example, when she picked me up at the metro stop yesterday, I knew she was going to laugh at my scarf and jacket. As soon as I opened her car door, she threw up her hands in disbelief.

“It’s 65 degrees out, Laura, this is not Antarctica! Look warmer!”

I missed our long-winded conversations, and I feel luckier than ever to have her around. I met her new roommate and his friends, and they were all really chill. It’s kind of a relief to meet people who don’t by default ask me what I do for a living. After a while, it’s annoying to feel interviewed/interrogated, but I’m not arguing that I’m above this. As I’ve said thousands of times, I hate small talk, so I was thankful that these people had no interest in pretending like they cared about what I do career-wise. There’s nothing I love more than writing and journalism, but I’d rather talk about what’s on my mind and bothering me.

Tracey and I cooked some risotto, which I absolutely love. As much as I adore my Irish heritage, a part of me wishes I could be Italian, as the food is Heavenly.

I also hung out with Tracey’s cat, Coffee (she has two felines: Starbucks and Coffee), and I’m still in disbelief that a kitty could be friendly. Having grown up with a feral cat who died from too many heart palpitations, I’ve always believed cats are mean, nervous, hot-headed, and boring. Coffee was fun and sweet, although he did arbitrarily bite my fingers every now and then. My old cat used to do that. One moment she’d be purring and the next she’d grab your arm and scratch you.

My roommate sort of wants to get a cat, and while I’m sure I’d love the company, I prefer dogs. If I had it my way, I’d have my pup Roxy out here in D.C., but she’s far too old to adapt to such a drastic change. I’ll be seeing her in a few weeks, so hopefully she never leaves me side while I’m home.

The sun sets later and later every evening. You know what that means. Summer is near. Hallelujah! As the new season approaches, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that I’ve been in D.C. for more than seven months. The Daily Caller changed my life and I count my blessings every day, even during hectic spurts. I’m lucky to be able to write what I want, manage an incredible batch of fabulous and hilarious interns, work with creative people, and take vacation time when I’m in need of an escape out west.

Here are some things I’ve learned after living in D.C. for seven months:

1. Shopping can be fun. I’ve never been one of those girls who enjoys going to the mall or buying new things, although I did love indulging in sundress purchases while residing in Tucson. After moving out to D.C., I realized that shopping could be a decent and inexpensive experience. I fell in love with H&M, which has reasonably priced attire, style, and good quality. When living on the east coast, you have to dress well and swaddle yourself in warm clothing, so hopefully I can man up sooner than later and be more trendy.

2. The month of March is a tease. Just when you think the horrendous winter has ended, you step outside to wind-chill, hail, and thunderstorms. Don’t lock up your long fluffy coats yet, you have another month and a half to go before safely donning t-shirts and shorts.

3. When winter hits, it dictates everything. For four solid months, I bundled up in gloves, a jacket, scarf, sweater, hat, long pants, boots, and tights every day before heading to the office. I was leaving my house before 5 a.m., which is basically the coldest time of day, so I had to take extra measures to keep warm. I huddled up in my jacket during the work day, causing many to joke that I looked  like an Eskimo. My skin saw no sunlight for at least five months, so I resorted to my sun lamp to curb the effects of Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD).

4. D.C. residents can’t handle snow. Enough said.

5. Wind is worse than snow and rain combined. When walking in windy conditions, my face became so numb it was as if I’d just been to the dentist.

6. People here are more laid-back than you’d think. Before I came to D.C., my friends warned that east coast people are rude, hostile, and perpetually angry at life. I wouldn’t say this is accurate. During crowded metro days, everyone is kind, and no one screams or throws a fit when some dim-witted asshole stands on the left side of the escalator (in D.C., this is a huge no-no). People are much friendlier than I expected.

7. Georgetown is awesome. I’d love to live there and never, ever leave the area.

8. People stay informed. Even if they don’t care about the news, chances are, D.C. folks know whats going on in the world.

9. There are plenty of cool hotspots outside D.C. Northern Virginia and Bethesda, Md., are just as exciting for twenty-somethings as downtown D.C. In fact, I prefer northern Virginia nightlife.

10. Adam’s Morgan is a blast, though. I praise the bar Madam’s Organ for selling select discounted drinks to redheads.


4 thoughts on “Risotto, reunions, Tucson, what I’ve learned from 7 months in DC

  1. I’m a DC Resident and I can handle the snow.

    Step 1: check forecast.
    Step 2: when it calls for snow, go to Giant. Stock up on milk, bread, and toilet paper.
    Step 3: update my Netflix streaming queue
    Step 4: don’t emerge from apartment until sidewalks shoveled
    Step 5: cross fingers and pray for more snow

  2. I wish the metro system could be prepared for snow! The drivers certainly don’t know how to deal with it. On the road, people abandon their cars and get stuck. It’s Hell!

  3. I totally agree with 3&4. I moved here from Wisconsin in August, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this winter. I’m used to below zero winters and crazy wind chills, so this winter was a nice change of pace. And I’d say that NoVa nightlight can be just as much fun (if not more) than District nightlife.

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