The time has come for me to say goodbye to DC. Not to worry, I still plan on being a city girl, but the next time you hear from me, it will be as a newly minted Denver resident. There are a lot of reasons why I’m leaving, so I’ll make it quick. The first and foremost is highlighted in this month’s issue of the Washingtonian, entitled “Can You Afford To Live Here,” and speaks to the ridiculous housing and ever-rising cost of living. Short answer: No, I can’t afford to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Secondly, I’m well into my 30s, and without children of my own, I want to be closer to my family. Reason three, I miss the mountains, I want to spend more time outdoors, and well..sometimes you just need to be a ski bum.

Now with that out of the way, here’s what I want to say. Thank you, DC. It’s been an adventure. A pretty crazy one at times, but I moved here because I knew I’d be able to do things here I couldn’t do anywhere else. At times I’ve wondered if you were the right choice. I stand now, single and poor, but no one will ever say I’ve led a boring or predictable life. It hasn’t been an easy journey. I’ve battled with crazy landlords, bed bugs, and theft, to name just a few of the hardships, but I’ve walked away with a wealth of experiences. Here are a just few of the things I have to thank you for:

I’ve become savvy at public transportation. I became a bike commuter and learned how to change a tire, how to navigate the city’s bike lanes, and how to teach cycling. I’ve ridden segways down the National Mall. I’ve played Kickball in front of the capitol and run races through the memorials. I learned how to do Pilates, and then how to teach Pilates. I’ve climbed the monuments at night and floated down the Shenandoah River in an inner tube. I’ve had weekend getaways to NYC to watch friends in improv shows and eat Thai food in Brooklyn. I’ve hung out in the Hamptons and Philly, the Shenandoah Mountains, West Virginia, and the beach, and I’ve swam in the ocean.

I’ve attended a Christmas party at the White House, seen the President and First Lady in person, and shaken their hands. I gave limo tours to rich people and befriended influential ambassadors.  I’ve seen space shuttles at the Smithsonianm and explored the museums. I watched our first black president get inaugurated and watched protests on the National Mall.

I’ve learned a lot about food: How to cook it, how to can it, how to swap it. I’ve eaten Carolina BBQ on the Outer Banks, been to a pig roast and a couple of oyster roasts, drank locally brewed beer, and learned to drink bourbon and then make a great bourbon cocktail. I’ve eaten at trendy restaurants, food trucks, and local coffee shops.

I’ve gone to all-night art parties, soirees at museums, and Halloween parties at museums. I’ve ridden on a float in the gay pride parade. I’ve trained and performed with clowns and taken lessons in aerial arts and rock climbing. I’ve interned at a national arts organization, produced/taught/wrote/acted in plays for great theatres, and acted and sang in the Fringe Festival. I’ve reviewed theatre and music. I’ve gone backstage at the DAR, watched documentary film premieres, been part of a locally produced web series, and been a background actor for a popular political drama. I’ve gotten bloody in Shakespeare, performed Shakespeare at a festival, worn beautiful crazy costumes, and recorded a couple of audiobooks.

I’ve seen friends play the fiddle in flahsbands, and seen friends at their most creative and collaborative, friends at the peak of their performance skills, friends producing new and different work. I have friends who know the best music, and what I should be reading to stay smart. In fact, I’ve met the smartest of people from all around the world, some of whom are trying to change it for the better. I’ve made friends, lots of awesome friends who’ve shown me that the true value of living in a city is being within walking distance from the people you love.

And truly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg because if you do this city right, you have exposure to the best things in the world all the time. I know I’ve taken it for granted. DC, wow, you have truly amazed me with the wealth of experiences you have given me. Of all the places I’ve lived and things I’ve done, this place has made me a better, stronger, smarter person and shaped me in a way I will never regret. Thank you, DC. I will truly miss you.

A few of my favorite places and memories:

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Till we meet again.

-C

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