To balance out my more negative posts, here are just some quick highlights of everyday life things that I have enjoyed so far in DC.
- The food. See the rest of my blog for examples.
- Coffee. To be able to get seriously good coffee all the time, and re-fills. I loved having a drip coffee maker, but the cafetierre [or French Press] works equally well with the good coffee we can get.
- Iced water. Everywhere, for free. It’s not a luxury, it comes with the table – or the seat if you’re at a bar.
- My Brita filter. I know I only need this because the water tastes bad. But it means we have chilled water at home all the time too.
- Ranch dressing. I’m in love with Ranch dressing. On bagels and sandwiches, as a dip for vegetables and crisps [or chips], as a refreshing dressing with hot buffalo chicken salad (I know you’re supposed to have blue cheese, but this is better!) and – recently discovered – as a dip for pizza crusts.
- The climate. Yes, I know I complain about this. But the spring/early summer was wonderful and in the end we didn’t get too much humidity this August. You don’t ever need a cardigan, except to survive the air conditioning. And autumn [fall] is just the ideal of what this season should be: it’s been warm into October with not too much rain and I’m not sure if the climate is responsible for this, but the leaves seem to stay on the trees longer and gradually change colour in the most perfect way. I thought people exaggerated about the beauties of an American fall, but now I know it’s all true.
- The bus. There are two from right outside my front door and they’re beautifully air-conditioned. This, I have discovered, is how the city has an integrated transport network – you just have to use the buses.
- Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and World Market. Apart from the wonderful names of the first two, you can get really good wine and some great snacks from all of these. Harris Teeter and Whole Foods also do really good takeaway hot food, which is a really cheap way to not cook. And World Market is there for when we just need Heinz tomato soup, chocolate hobnobs, Worcester sauce, or Tunnocks caramel wafers.
- Running. This is a great town to have started outdoor running in. There are loads of footpaths along the creek, or in the parks, and it’s so normal to see runners on the streets that there’s no feeling of being looked at or judged. There’s also plenty of shops from which to get the gear – and cheap running clothes available from Target.
- Rock Creek Park. It’s amazing that just minutes from the trendy area of Adams Morgan is this area of almost wilderness. Far wilder than Central Park, the city is built around and above this wooded creek, which makes for amazing views in some parts of NW and lets you get away from the city in minutes.
- Cheaper clothes and shoes. This spring/summer there were lots of dresses and the chances to wear them. I’m very much enjoying the cheap warehouse-style outlets and the number of stores they have that follow the TK Maxx [TJ Maxx over here] retail model.
- Uber. I know this is in many cities now, but I love it and it makes living in DC much easier.
I hope in future to produce some more nuanced, helpful pieces about the nuts and bolts of living in DC, but this week’s been about adding the lows experienced as part of culture shock to the record of life in DC, which had till now only really featured the highs.