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What’s there to like about DC?

Now that I know that my family and I will be in language training for a year, it’s time to settle in. I live in North Virginia, close to DC, and I have to admit that loving it here does not come easy to me.


As much as I enjoy being in the United States for a while, this town presents formidable challenges each time I live there.


The first time, back in 2010, was the year of “Snowmaggedon” and the ensuing "Snowpocalypse." This sounds a little bit more dramatic than it was, but we were snowed in for weeks at a time, watching houses burn to the ground and other snow inflicted problems spread on the news as we were forced to work from home.


The second time we moved to DC, in 2013, was only for a few months. Unfortunately it was an extremely hot summer and I was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Hence, going outside to face the suffocating heat was hardly an option.


The third time we moved to DC almost worked out because we we were going to stay for an entire year. But--lo and behold--I was put on a mild form of bed rest due to pregnancy complications and thus unable to explore much of the town or the beautiful nature surrounding it.


Yet this time around, I’ve decided, is going to be different. I'm finally going to see and appreciate this area for real. I bought a brand new bicycle so I can ride the tree-lined Old Dominion Trail to work. Never mind that I lost both keys to my theft-proof lock already—it’s going to be great. I also bought the fanciest child seat I could find so my 2-yo daughter can enjoy the rides too (once I find a locksmith to put me out of my misery).


I’m also taking every opportunity to get out of town. Not wasting any time before the summer runs out I’ve already been hiking in Harpers Ferry, tubing down the Shenandoah River, salsa dancing in Rockville, Hookah smoking in Falls Church, shopping in Tysons Corner, and Korean BBQ and karaoke singing in Annandale.


Not that there is nothing to do inside the DC area, of course. Running at the Mall has always been a favorite, especially when followed by brunch on Capitol Hill. I've done a 9-mile hike in Rock Creek Park, which was awesome, and I’m discovering some great new hangouts for drinks and food. I like Ballston Quarters, which is perfect for happy hour and family friendly, and the 14th Street area in downtown DC, which features awesome theaters and restaurants ("Le Diplomate" being a new favorite, partially because of the French food and partially because of the name).


Ergo: so far so good. My plan to like DC seems to be working. And it better be, because diplomats in language training—for reasons that still elude me—are not allowed to take any days off for vacation. That’s right: I’ll be taking German language lessons all day, every day, until I pass the dreaded language test sometime in May 2020.


It’s going to be a long year, but I plan to make it a good one.