Looking Back, Moving Forward.
I've never felt more like an interloper than when I lived in DC, and as a super tall red headed Haole from Hawaii, I've had my fair share of interloping. DC has layers that, as I got deeper and deeper, simultaneously made me love the city, but also forced me to understand that I had zero clue as to what the hell was going on. Let's just start with the elephant in the room: gentrification.
I was a gentrifier. I moved to a neighborhood where bullet proof glass adorned the counter of the local liquor store. But you know happened 7 months after I arrived? No more bullet proof glass. I made friends with a guy named Patrick, who had lived in Shaw his entire life. He told me that when he was a kid hanging out with his friends on the corner, it was the spot. Now if he and his friends get together, white people pick up the pace as they walk by. He feels like a pariah on the street he grew up on.
Meanwhile, everything seems to be going wrong for folks that are new to the city, too. The metro is shit. The summer is too humid. Everyone is trying to network too much. The list goes on and on.
But, as I spent more time in the District, I started to fall in love with the city. It was a love that I knew wouldn't end in marriage, but a love that I'd be better having than not. Fall bike rides in rock creek park, seeing Wale perform in the middle of H street (literally in the street), and early morning sunrises with November Project made my time in DC seem surreal and magical. It's a city that is many things to many people, and it gave me a such a rich experience that it's hard not to feel a tinge of heartbreak knowing that it's no longer my home.
Let me paint a picture for you. It's election night, 2012. Obama has just been declared the projected winner. What do you do? When I lived in LA in 2008, I celebrated with my roommates and we went out and talked with our neighbors. In 2012, I left the bar where I was watching the coverage (with a hundred other people) and walked to the White House for the most outrageous outdoor party I've ever attended. The fucking White House. The secret service watched people light up blunts in celebration of the president, their boss, getting to keep his job. The absurdity of the scene is still not lost on me.
And that is just the surface. Living within walking distance of the 9:30 club, becoming friends with the owner of the jumbo slice shop (shout out to Duccini's), and meeting some of the most joyful, genuine people I've known made my time in DC unforgettable. That time, however, came to a close on January 16th, 2016, when I stepped on a plane to start a new, albeit temporary life in Chile. So here we are; me writing, and you reading. This blog, first and foremost, started as a way for three close friends to keep in touch as one starts a new life in San Francisco, one (me) starts a half vagabond/half professional life abroad, and one holds down the fort in the place where we forged our bonds: the District of Columbia. We hope you enjoy.