Washington to Washington

My journey from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC. When we moved here we began to discover the differences from the west coast and the east coast--and I'm not talking about the music. It's a fun look at the differences and prespectives from one Washington to the other.

Monday, August 07, 2006

How do you like it so far?

It’s been 6 months since moving to the DC Metro area. I still am asked, “Am I still used to it yet?” “How do you like it out there?” “Do you want to move back to Seattle?”

My answers: Sort of. It’s nice. Not really, at least not right now.

In fact, I don’t hate it out here; it’s quite lovely. I’m originally from Los Angeles, so it’s nice to be back in a large city, especially the nation’s capital. There are many things to see and tons of stuff to do.


HOME: Great! We have made our little apartment homey and are beginning to enjoy the amenities of our complex.

WORK: Great! I am in a new job with a great company and good co-workers. Granted it’s been a little quiet with many people escaping for vacation, but I can’t complain, I think this is a good fit.

METRO: Well, I don’t ride anymore. It is actually cheaper for me to drive to work and quicker. I opted for the 25-minute drive into Maryland from Fairfax to the hour and a half ride from taking the Metro.

COST: DC is a lot cheaper than Seattle. Yes, it’s true. I think because there are a lot more choices than Seattle. You don’t have to choose among the 5 good restaurants, instead you have several dozens. The museums, art shows, some parking, and sales tax (4%), most of this stuff is free. Even the rent is pretty good for what you get.

TRAFFIC: The traffic is not bad at all, the beltway may have more volume, but it moves. Again, I’m a native Southern Californian so I have seen real traffic.


FRIENDS: Well, that has not changed. Because of how much Odin works, I spend a lot of time alone. I have used that time to explore, so when we get to have a free night together or an entire weekend; I can show him my “research.”

PEOPLE: That is an interesting situation. I consider myself a generally friendly person. In fact, I have never been accused of being shy. However, striking up conversations with strangers has been interesting. Something as little as holding a door open to standing in line, I have noticed that East Coasters enjoy their own company – for a lack of a better term.

For instance, today, I politely mentioned to the man standing in the elevator that his shoes were untied. He gruffed and said, “Yeah, I KNOW!” This is not uncommon. I have noticed that many people are very pushy, very loud, and seem to feel they are the “most important person” around—mostly to the amount of limos and blackout town cars that are about town.

However, I have run into some downright lovely people. At my last position, a woman that was applying to replace me enjoyed our conversation so much that she actually invited me to meet her and some friends for a movie. No, she was not a local; she was from the West and knew how hard it was to meet people.

I still have hope.


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

It took me two years to adjust to the cultural differences here (moved here from San Francisco, now almost eight years ago). People here are friendly, it's just a different style of friendly. I kind of like the way people don't let it all hang out here, even though it took me time to get used to it. When I go visit the west coast, I feel like everyone is sharing their story with me, whether or not I want to hear it! Welcome to DC - it's a lovely place, lovely people -- just different.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Freckled K said...

I've been here for a looong time, and am practically a local, as are most of my friends. And, as "Townies," I would say that we are friendly and welcoming folk. I don't think that it's an East-West thing. There are asshats all over...DC just houses a great deal of them. But - I promise - there are some really nice, cool people out there.

10:05 AM  
Blogger RealChic1999 said...

I can relate. I moved to the DC Metro area (will be living right in the District starting next week!) over a year ago from Western New York State and though I never found WNYers very friendly, I think DCers are worse. Will I ever meet more like-minded and friendly people? I don't know. I know if things don't change within another year, I'm going to try to attain my goal of moving to New Mexico or Arizona. I feel there's no breathing space in DC...hence the edgy attitudes!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Hey Pretty said...

I'm from New England, where people are generally very aloof, so DCers seem downright vivacious in comparison. What I will say however, is that when I go out West I am always surprised by how outgoing everone is. People actually make eye contact with one another on the streets. It takes a while to get used to.

11:01 AM  
Blogger DCVita said...

I've been to alot of different cities and although DC is not the friendliest city, it is still pretty humble in some respects. There are definately alot of people here who are young and focusing on thier careers, so the competitive edge is definately felt. But overall, it's ok. People are nice, they are just more to themselves. I find that DCers are just more private individuals...perhaps it is the conservative nature of the city.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Scotty said...

Hi there!

Sorry to hear of your friendliness troubles! I have to agree with you as I am from the midwest. I remember I was at a party once and someone asked what I did for a job. I explained that I was an underwriter for an insurance company and that I loved my job (I was only 22, and it was a wonderful job...company car and working from home is great!). I was scoffed at because I didn't have some high level position in the government sector. I couldn't believe it! I thought "all that matters is I am happy" and it's true. Just stay true to who you are, and you will meet the nice guys, it just takes time. The great think about D.C. is that there are so many people from so many different places that naturally there has to be some nice people :) I was going to move back to Ohio, but I have finally grown into the city and I love it! Hope things work out for you! :)

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Reded said...

Oh, V. I feel your pain. I moved here year ago for my husband's job with XM from the friendliest place on earth (well, if you're white, anyway) - the South. I totally feel the "I'm super-important and don't have time for you vibe" from some of the younger folks here. Plus I work from home, so I have absolutely no outlet to meet folks. Ugh. Very lonely. Thank god I have my two cats to keep me company! Are there any young adult groups that aren't all about cocktail parties, business networking and hooking up? I think I've forgotten how to make friends. Sigh.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Paul E. Zimmerman said...

So the humidity didn't make the Con list, eh? That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that you had relocated to DC. I hate humidity with a passion, and maybe I could go as far as saying that I live in fear of it. :)

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Gavin Newsom said...

I was there for 7 years before moving back to the West. GET OUT NOW! It will suck your soul dry. They have no sense of fashion, the 5 restaurants are all overrated and everyone has this incredible inferiority complex about New York.

Plus, in the summer its like 750 degrees and 99% humidity.


11:53 AM  

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