As a kid, I remember saying to my father, “Daddy, I’m going to live in DC when I grow up.” And he would say, “It’s expensive to live in the city. I doubt you will be able to do it.” Even though I knew dad meant well, I replied, “I’m going to do it.”
And I did.
Living in the city a little over a year has been everything I’ve ever imagined, plus more. The days are noisy and the nights are just the same. People are walking the streets. Cars breezing by. The ambulance are ringing up and down the avenue. Liquor stores are bustling on every corner. Students and the working class are waiting for the Metro bus. Residents are walking their dogs. Police zipping in and out of traffic. Neighbors arguing into the wee hours of morning. The faint noise of the Red Line subway car gliding by. Restaurants galore. It’s Rhode Island Avenue and it’s my home.
A fifteen minute drive to work. Walking distance to the subway. Just a dash from 295 and 50. Minutes from Downtown. Friends and family close. Plenty of things to do on date night.
I was without a car for three months and was still able to get around the city without hassle. The city is convenient. The city moves fast.
I’ve always been fascinated by the busyness of the DC. If I could live here the rest of my life, I would. You ever get this feeling that you know things are only temporary? Like, pretty soon, the fantasy will come to an end? Well, that’s how I’ve felt the entire time I’ve lived here. And I don’t know how long I will be here, but I will enjoy this ride while it lasts.
I have my cool cousin, Christina Sturdivant, to thank for birthing a portion of my obsession with city living. She introduced me to DC’s swanky restaurant scene where we have an unspoken rule of no chain restaurant indulgence. It has become so much fun to try new places!
While growing up, a part of me did feel it may be impossible to live in the city as a single woman. I mean, there I was age thirty and had yet to leave the suburban nest. I was in grad school and working a job that I did not enjoy that was also unrelated to Social Work. Then, Hyattsville happened–with a roommate (hey, Patricia!)–and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was close to The Nation’s Capital!
But it wasn’t DC. I still wanted DC.
Almost two years later, Patricia was heading to grad school and I had accepted a position making a bit more money in a field I wanted to be in. But I was also left scrambling for a new place to live. Maybe I should try DC? No, I don’t make enough money to live there. Well, let me just try. So I searched and searched for weeks. Joined every apartment hunting network possible. Circled ads in the paper. Visited apartments I couldn’t afford. And then it happened. I stumbled upon an affordable one bedroom apartment on the Northeast side of Rhode Island Avenue. What a dream come true!
This has been the best time of my life.
In my 32 years of living, I’ve come to learn that anything is possible. You can have what you want, you just have to prepare, exercise patience, never stop working for it, and when the opportunity comes (because it will), maximize on it! Dream big. No matter what others may say, go for what you want!
A Girl From the Suburbs Living in the City