I try not judge places by their airport(s). It is a first impression, but more often than not it is wrong. I arrive in D.C. on a flight of three people (yes they ran it with only three) and we go through a side door. I think to myself is this really that secure but then again three people aren’t exactly a security risk. The airport itself is small and on the older side. There is a medium sized American flag hanging on the wall and a quote by Ronald Reagan.
I get in a cab and we drive to my new home. We drive past monuments. It’s weird that they are so close and that they are here. Things on postcards, things on maps. We turn onto the interstate and it instantly reminds me of road trips we took when I was growing up. They are so big and efficient and always make me feel like the world is a place of immense possibility.
The metro is impressive. It makes it easy to get around, but it also takes a while. This city feels huge. It is a really big bustling city complete with cabs that sound like they are going to fall apart and people who are always in too much of a rush to wait for the light to change. Jay walking is extremely pervasive here. I am trying to get Denmark out of my head. I feel like I am not in as much of a rush as everyone else.
There are a lot of people in suits and a lot of people ride bikes here. I feel like it would be weird to live in a city where there aren’t bikes going by all the time. People complain about how expensive housing is. The coffee place across the street from me does two dollar sandwiches on Wednesdays. I make a mental note of this. I think I will go every week and sit and read.
At Starbucks I see people meeting to talk about articles and politics. I see a boy reading a book about Sharia law for his class. It looks interesting.
It is pretty easy to find my way around. The streets are on a grid and the names are in English. Aside from getting on the wrong train once so far the metro has been a breeze.
It is harder to meet people but I expected that. I am no longer an exchange student. There are no longer those resources. There are no longer events and a student café. I am a little fish in a big city where I don’t know a soul. I no longer have the feeling that anyone around is a potential new friend. It is a lot more insular.