DC’s horrendous winter weather taught me just how much I despise the cold. Genuinely cannot stand it. My spirits decline. I merely survive, trudging through the dreary days. After a solid three months of boots and thick scarves, 23 of my 24 hours spent indoors, I have decided that if I can help it, I will never live somewhere that has surpluses of below freezing weather and snow. God made too many other beautiful places in the world to deal with that.
This weekend, though. It was like the winter’s end in Narnia — DC transformed almost overnight from a mild arctic to an arena of sunshine, flower petals and tourists. Cherry blossoms were in full bloom, as were my spirits. My shoulders are sunburned, but that is quite alright. My Vitamin D deficiencies probably needed a little toasting. With the exception of looming exams, I packed this weekend with all kinds of fun. As much as I love home and look forward to reuniting with the Compton Clan this Saturday, I’m despondent to depart from IJM and the groove I’ve settled into here. My time in DC has been fantastic, but if I could’ve enjoyed this weather in DC every weekend, oh man. I might not leave. It turns out a full weekend of spring – composed of spaghetti straps, outdoor activity and even a little pollen – was all that was needed to clear up my winter blues. For my last weekend in DC (HOW did that happen?!), I prescribed myself the maximum dosage.
Friday I ventured into the crowds around the tidal basin to witness both cherry blossoms dancing through the wind and groups of tourists congest the pathway. After a packed week at work, it was so nice to decompress by myself and do two of my favorite solitary activities: walk and people watch. I sat on a slanted patch of grass for almost an hour trying to keep an accurate count of the number of Caucasian male-Asian female couples that passed by.
Saturday my fellow intern Allegra, her roommates and I ventured to Shenandoah National Park to conquer Old Rag Mountain. This trail comes with a host of horror story rescue operations and large people with even larger confidences who are decimated on this trail; the Boy Scouts (if some of them were my sons, I would have more prudence in what they signed up for) that congested our way up may contribute to these tales. The rock scrambling toward the top, however, was not too challenging and a great deal of fun; it makes me want to pursue climbing more. The 360 degree summit view certainly was worth it. Best lunch of the semester. Good company, too. Allegra’s roommates, who I had never met before, provided great trail companionship.
After saying farewell to all the friends I have made at the Falls Church Anglican Sunday, I met up with Heather and her friend in Old Town Alexandria, which reminds me a lot of downtown Charleston. We walked to the waterfront, rented bikes and cycled ten miles out to George Washington’s stately home via the Mt. Vernon Trail. I stepped back to the late 1700s and conversed with Martha Washington about corsets and letting go of hoops for the Revolutionary cause. Most of the time I think I’d like a pretty small, quaint house, with “just enough” room. Then I spend time on the South’s aristocratic plantations with lots of land and manicured lawns. Despite their dark history, I think to myself, This life could be pretty awesome, too. I’m so grateful to enjoy a little slice of that at Sugah Cain whenever I want.
After our bike ride back, I raced to my apartment to meet Jill and Allan Bellacicco. These two are dear family friends; Hoffa and Allan both attended Summerville Academy and were roommates together at The Citadel. Allan and Jill treated me to dinner at the Curious Grape in Shirlington. This is one of those places where you have an idea of what you’re ordering, but there are so many specific ingredients in the description that you’re not sure what you’ll actually be eating. Seared Kampachi, for instance, with Sicilian tabouli, pomegranate, crispy farro, and sauce arrabiata. In English this means the best fish I’ve had in my life bursting under a bed of crunchy citrus flavor with just a little kick at the end. Plus it was specially paired with an equally fancy wine. The only thing better was the company.
As this season of living in the nation’s Capitol comes to an end, I’m so grateful to have transitioned into nicer weather, enjoying new and old friends and tons of time outside. This past weekend really was my favorite weekend in DC. The winter is done, the work is over. Even as I return to Charleston, I pause and give thanks for the many new experiences of my young adulthood. Changing seasons – in time or in weather – allow us to cherish each moment, knowing that it won’t be like this for long.
|Pasty white, but soaking up some sun!|
|Lindsey & Allegra|
|Rocky Ridgeline of a trail|