Friday, April 30, 2010

My Date with D.C.


I tend to view relationships with cities no differently than relationships with men.

There are those that you have huge crushes on, that take your breath away when you see them, but that you know are just eye candy and not really suited to your style of life. That's Barcelona for me.

There are those that are intriguing and intellectually stimulating, that seem to match you in a lot of ways, but that don't seem to understand and relate to the full breadth of your personality. Paris, for me, falls into this category.

There are those that are surprisingly open, intrinsically kind and undeniably handsome. They fit you quite well, offer you a lot, and you know that you would want to revisit them in the future, but that live so far away that you know it probably wouldn't work out in the end. Buenos Aires.

There are those that are like old friends; they know you very well. Being in their presence after a prolonged time apart makes you happy, and maybe you can even see the two of you together one day, but not quite right now. Montreal.

And then there are those great loves: the ones that you dream about no matter where you are or how many years have passed since you saw each other. These are the ones that you compare any future relationship to, whether or not you mean to. This is the one that, even if it never quites works out, you yearn for them and hope that some day fate matches you back together... Bella Roma. Those of you who know me knew that was coming.

And then there is D.C. I have not known how to categorize my relationship with D.C. I think to me it has been the blind date that I have always been reluctant to go on.

"Karen, I know who you should meet! You are both international and love culture. You are both suited for the big city lifestyle. You both encourage walking and public transport. You'd be perfect for each other!" Thanks, but I'm kind of busy at the moment; maybe some other time...

"Karen, I know who would be great for you! You would love him. He lives close to your family. You know the same people. You even have the same east coast mentality and foreign spirit." Thanks, but I am not really interested right now. I have my heart set on someone else...

"Karen, I know who you'd be perfect with! He is organized and tidy. He takes care of his appearance. Foreigners love him. You'd be great together!" You know, thanks, he sounds great, but I am still recovering from my last heartbreak. I just left Rome...

Each time, I would make an excuse not to consider D.C. As logical and obvious as the connection would be, I was never intrigued. Truth is, I could never quite convince myself to give it a try. I maybe thought him too familiar, too accessible... maybe even too American.

Then, like so many relationships, fate stepped in. And I found myself thrown into the situation. And I have to admit, that our first month together has been pretty nice, much better than I would have ever thought. He has kept me plenty entertained with things to do. We have been to a ton of ethnic restaurants, salsa dancing, an Asian festival, an Italian concert and Bollywood dancing performances, satisfying my appetite for foreign cultures. And, like all good relationships, I still feel like we have a lot to learn from each other.

I still have to say that I'm not sure that this will be a great love for me. But it is definitely a good fit for now. And as fate has also shown, sometimes destiny, more than desire, better knows what is right.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hiatus mode explained



Probably in the blogging world, I have committed a grave sin in taking such a long break in writing.

My silence for the past month can only be defined as a hiatus- one that I will shortly explain. However, in the meantime, I think hiatus is an interesting word, and I believe it worthwhile to share some tidbits of information about it:

1) Coming from the Latin hiare, to gape
2) First recorded in 1613 to mean a gap or break in something
3) And, apparently, hiatus mode is something that bloggers do... as one example, (and also as the photo credit)... so maybe I am more of a blogger now than I thought I was.

Anyway, this April I entered a period in my life where there was so much going on, that taking the time to write about it would have been sensory overload. Perhaps like many others out there, I write to reflect on things, to sit and analyse, to make something real or to share it with others who can comment or advise. Sometimes though, events in life need to be left alone and absorbed before being shared. And I have barely had a moment to digest the events, some good, some not-so-good, of this month.

I could have foreseen to some extent that April was going to be chaotic: my first month in D.C., finishing the process of moving in, learning my new neighborhood, still getting accustomed to my job and its routine, reconnecting with friends in the area, hosting guests from all over the place... And, in addition to these fairly foreseen events, April also unveiled a cat with bladder stones that led to multiple trips to the vet, a ton of medication, and ultimately a surgery. There were other events of great significance in April, but as I am not done digesting them, I will have to write them at another time.

Yet, be assured, I have not let my philosophy go by the wayside. I have continued my quest to try something new at least once every day: this has included beet dip at the Russia House restaurant, tamarind sweets brought directly from Mexico, wine from Moldova, the World War II monument in D.C. and some of Georgetown's famous cupcakes, among many other things.

As I get caught up on writing, details will be forthcoming. However, my point of all this is: my days of being a tourist have not come to an end!

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