Monday, September 16, 2013

Place & Time -or- A Memory and A Place

I grew up viewing the coffee shop and the bookstore as the two ultimate destinations in life. I usually looked forward to going to the bookstore to admire all the different types of blank books or journals I could lay hands on. I'll never forget my first blank book -- it was covered in 90s faux denim. The pages were lined. I wrote about everything that came to my funny, prepubescent mind and I loved it. I used it when we moved across country via mini van. Im still addicted to the blank book. Until high school I didn't like coffee, so I would drink tea whenever I had the privilege of visiting the coffee shops with my dad. Back then Starbucks had the Tazoberry frappuccino. Back then I was too little to know that the whipped cream on top was more than half the calories, and I had no idea what an annoying drink I was asking the baristas to make me. I was just a little girl enjoying Daddy time. Now I've worked in a coffee shop for years at a stretch, and I still go back as often as I can, both to chains and independents. It keeps me connected to my roots, to my dad, and to some of my dearest childhood memories.

A few weeks ago someone took to Facebook strongly criticizing northern Virginia and Washington, DC.  Apparently, Baltimore is superior. I won't argue against the charms of Charm City, which I happen to adore myself, but I got thinking about how much I really love DC and Arlington. My husband is tired of hearing me tell him how I privately vowed to myself on a 6th grade family field trip to a museum (which I hated!) that one day I would live in the glamorous national capital. As I grew older I began to see that might be unrealistic, and I dropped the matter. Through no searching of my own, a job opportunity landed in my lap and I've been living and working in Arlington since 2011. Loving every minute! I love walking wherever I want to go. I love all the runners and bikers -- and bike share! I love the sports bars and the way little villages of restaurants and shops sprout up around popular metro destinations. I love DC sports teams. I love how generous the wealthy can be. I love the ethnic restaurants and the myriad food trucks. I love the FREE museums (now!), and endless free cultural experiences in DC. I love going running through the monuments and admiring the architecture. I adore the crazy hundreds who play in kickball rec leagues on the Mall. I love the craft beer scene, the street festivals, and the fact that I can score a quick Guinness after a 10-mile training run. I love, more than anything, the amazing friends I have made living here, and that I met my husband here, and that he proposed to me with the backdrop of the Washington Monument and the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. I love the cherry blossom trees! Peddle boats! Crazy tourists! Hot dogs! 4th of July. Chinatown. Every village in Arlington. Fro yo. Access. I love the controversy and the energy and the thousands of genuine people for every one politician. I love that Children's is where my precious baby nephew's life was saved. The place feels like home, and that's one thing I've not regularly been able to say about anywhere.

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