Friday, November 13, 2009

On the other hand

A while back I posted an entry listing five things that I won't miss when I leave DC. If you recall, most of what I will not miss involved tourists.

Today -- my last day at the World Bank -- I have been thinking about all of the things that I will miss about DC when I leave next weekend. I guess I'm feeling a little reflective at the moment. It's a nice change from the all-consuming panic I've felt for the past week or so, compliments of the upcoming packout.

Thus, in no particular order....

1. Running on the National Mall
I don't really like running, but at least DC offers some beautiful views to keep me entertained while slogging my way through a 4-miler. Running doesn't seem so bad when one can stop and admire the sunset silhouetting the Washington Monument.

Also, the people watching on and around the Mall is of the highest quality. As annoying as they might be when clogging the sidewalks or riding the metro, sweaty tourists are really quite entertaining to observe when out on the street.

2. The Sunday morning Farmer's Market
I suspect that the sadness I feel about my final visit to the Dupont Circle farmer's market (likely this coming Sunday) has more to do with my concerns about the quality of the food in Kabul than any specific attachments to this market. But I'll list it anyway.

As a creature of habit, I take particular comfort in getting up every Sunday, rain or shine, and seeing how much I can get at the market for my weekly budget of $20. In the summer the tomatoes -red, green, purple, yellow, and zebra-striped -- are drool-worthy. In the winter I stock up on apples (how insanely good have the Honeycrisps been this season?! ) root vegetables and winter greens, and at least once each fall I try squash to see if I've overcome my dislike of it. No change so far. But as long as the sellers keep stocking it in abundance, I'll keep trying.

After living a mostly vegetarian lifestyle since Nick's departure, with the bulk of my meals being made with fresh produce from this market, I think I will find the switch to the Kabul diet of processed, meat-laden foods quite a shock to my system. In all honesty, as much as the delays in my departure for Afghanistan have been frustrating, I do apprecite the opportunity they gave me to get my fill of fresh summer produce. I'm sure I will spend many of my mealtimes in Afghanistan dreaming of fresh kale, ripe heirloom tomatoes, dribbly apples and sweet potatoes with dirt still stuck to their skins.

3. My bike
I love my bike. I love how much time it saves. I love that with it I find myself going to parts of DC that I wouldn't otherwise visit due to their lack of public transportation (Georgetown....not that there's anything all that great in Georgetown, but at least it's somewhere to go). Whenever I'm asked for advice on living in DC by a recent transplant, I always tell him or her to make getting a bike a priority. When my old bike was stolen I was completely lost. I couldn't fathom how I would manage without it; I was going to lose a whole 40 minutes out of my day just walking to work! Without my bike I feel slow and inefficient. It will be a sad day when I have to put it in storage. That will be one of the last things I do before leaving, because I can't see how I can get all of my errands done without it.

4. The restaurants
You name the cuisine, DC probably has it. Italian? Of course. Japanese? Yes. Belgian? In abundance. Ethiopian? Ghanian? Slavic? Scandinavian? Nepalese? Yes Yes Yes Yes.

And if you can't find it in DC, you can probably find it in the VA or MD suburbs. Although Nick would argue that there is one cuisine lacks proper representation in the DC area: Chicago deep-dish pizza. Nicky, you can remedy that one when you win the lottery.

And Maryam and Pauline, I fully expect you to keep me up to date with additions to the DC restaurant scene. That means pictures and description from first course to last. For the next 1.5 years, my 'dining out' will be limited to living vicariously through you two.

Which reminds me, I need to get to Lalibela one more time before I leave.

I don't know how I would have made it through the past few months if not for the welcome distraction of trapeze and silks classes. Yes, they cost a pretty penny. But it gave me something to focus on and look forward to during the lloongg months of silence from HR. It's been so long since circus has been part of my life. But from my experience at the rig in DC, I know that I need to find ways to keep it in my life. If Nick and I stay with the foreign service this may be tricky at times. We'll just have to be creative, and strategic in our bids for posts. Hey, Jamaica has a USAID mission and a Breezes resort with a trapeze! It could work.

6. Friends & Colleagues
I'm keeping it short and sweet here, to avoid hurting any feelings. Thanks to those who have made my time at the World Bank the great experience that it was. Thanks to those who have been part of mine and Nick's time in DC. Thanks to those of you who have gone out of your way to keep me entertained for the past 6 months. Keep in touch all.

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