Like a Local

Like a Local

Midterms are mean. Not because they’re, well, midterms, but because MIDterm tricks me into thinking it’s MIDway through the summer. With only 3 more weeks to go, I can’t believe how much you can absorb from not even 2 months in the city. As I’ve mentioned, most people here are transplants, but I can pretty much tell you where any H&M, metro stop, tourist trap, and Au Bon Pain is, so does that mean I can call myself a local?


Either way, I’m going with it. I played “local” this weekend and showed off my beloved city to a very special guest.


Yes, that is a bum napping in the background.  Unfortunately, that is a common sight.


Mama and Me Take D.C.

I stayed for a full workday Friday, so mom explored in the meantime. “This area is so nice!” was her reaction from the hotel, 2 blocks away from the RAF. “This area…could be so much nicer!” was her reaction from the RAF. Watching her amusement and surprise as she discovered more and more about the place I’ve been living was quite funny. I got to play tour guide and showed her “this is the way I commute to work. This is the route I take if it rains. This is the 5-story Macy’s. This is the quickest way to the Hill. This is the scenic spot on the Mall. This is where I do homework on a lazy Sunday.”


I also shared my rules-of-thumb for not sticking out like a sore thumb.


-Metro etiquette: Walk left, stand right. Stand left, and prepare to have some pretty angry commuters after you.


-Street smarts: Even if you have a green light, look both ways.  Or prepare to die.


-Helping the homeless: This is a tough one. I’ve never been one to say “no”, especially to those in need, but encounters with D.C.’s homeless population are unavoidable. Under bridges, outside the metro, on street corners, tourist attractions, restaurants – napping, begging – terrible as it sounds, it can be desensitizing. Just recently I offered a woman my granola bar, and she refused it…and then stuck out her hand for money instead. I lost a little faith in humanity that day.


-Grocery bags: I don’t know why it took me 7 weeks to buy my own canvas tote. Stores charge you 5 cents per bag in the city, and nickels add up! Plus, a major city promoting waste reduction? I’m on board.


One of the perks of having your mom come to town (besides the company, of course) is the fact that she missed you so much and wants to take you out to a delicious dinner. For me, that means #allthesushi. Per my suggestion, we returned to Asian Spice, where my aunt, uncle, and cousins had taken me before. We then wandered around Chinatown before calling it a night.


Blue crab, torched crab, spicy crab, crab

Blue crab, torched crab, spicy crab, crab.



SaturdaySince my mom had already seen all the monuments and memorials more times than we could count, I planned an itinerary that would give us both a new taste of Washington.  We got our Saturday morning workout in the form of paddle boating.  It's hard work!  We had an hour on the water, but 30 minutes was plenty.  From our vantage point on the Tidal Basin, we had a scenic view of the Jefferson Memorial.  It sure was beautiful, but htere is nothing I love more than the memorial at sunset during cherry blossom season.





The next new-to-us stop was the National Geographic Museum. Even though this is my 7th time in Washington, I had no idea this existed until just this summer. The exhibition on show was “Peruvian Gold”, and although photography wasn’t allowed inside the exhibit, the ornate Incan treasures on display looked something like this:




Dinner reservations that night were at Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic oyster bar and tavern just a block from the White House.  Opened in 1856, it became Washington's first saloon and was a favorite of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, and Warren Harding.  From all the hype surrounding this "landmark" place, it wasn't anything exceptional, but I suppose it's the "landmark" quality that makes the experience.  



Victorian interior


SundaySunday morning we made the walk to Eastern Market.  I could never tire of that place.  What better way to peruse vintage magazines, antique furniture, and handmade crafts than with your hands filled with free samples of juicy peaches and summer berries?  Going from artisan to artisan is overwhelming, but I ended up with two pretty pairs of earrings.




My mom found a little basement pottery studio that I hadn't seen the past 3 times I've been there.  That's the best part about returning to places with another pair of eyes, always something new.  



Another (final) stop included Union Station, D.C.'s main point of railway departure.  It's no ordinary train station however, and more like an upscale shopping mall on the inside!  I introduced my mom to the glorious haven of H&M.  There are none of these near me at home, but think a scaled-down, more sophisticated, and less overwhelming version of Forever21.  The #1 sign you've reached adulthood?  When you get excited about adding to your professional wardrobe and skip the crop tops and bathing suits from cropped pants and business suits.



H&M may be the new Forever21 and Harris Teeter, the new Publix (hi, Floridians), but Au Bon Pain could never replace my beloved Starbucks.  Our last hour consisted of hugs, coffee, selfies to my sister (who is traveling around Europe), and mild pondering about my future.  "So...can you see yourself here?" my mom asked again and again.  I've come to love and learn the city so much that I feel less like I own it and more like a part of it.  After showing my mom around like a local, I think she felt it too.




And I think you can guess how I answered her question.

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