DC Update

It’s long overdue, but here is an update on life in DC:

I was offered a new contract at the end of my three months with Peace Corps. I accepted, and now have a job here for the next two and a half years. Peace Corps is unique (at least in the Federal Government) in that you can only work for Peace Corps for five years at a time. Apparently this policy dates back to the early days – Sargent Shriver (the first PC Director) said that if Peace Corps was going to be a federal agency, it wasn’t going to be one of those agencies with career bureaucrats that don’t do anything. And so, the five year rule was born.  

So, since I will be staying in DC for a while longer, the next step was to find a more permanent living arrangement. I was incredibly lucky when I moved out here that my friend Amy had an extra bedroom that she was willing to rent out to me. I didn’t really realize how lucky until I started looking for a new place. I seriously underestimated how much of an ordeal finding a new house would be. I started with Craigslist – trying to find the right mix of location, price and roommates. I went to numerous open houses of all types. I had group interviews, individual interviews, looked at bedrooms and bathrooms and tried to find something that I liked – with people that liked me.

I finally found a new place, not too far from my current place. The neighborhood is called Bloomingdale, in the eastern half of the northwestern quadrant of DC.  I will be living with three other people, two guys and one girl. It’s a great house, in an area of DC that has been gentrified fairly recently. It’s a little further from the office – but still within walking distance and close to a couple of bus lines.

Overall, I have found life in DC is pretty great. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming being around so many people all of the time – but there are advantages to life in the city.

Here are my top three pet peeves:

  1. Bicyclists on the sidewalk.  I was almost hit by one the other day. The road is for wheels, the sidewalk is for heels.
  2. People stopped in the crosswalk. I hate having to walk around cars to cross the street.
  3. Cars that do not yield to pedestrians, even though it is DC law (and well marked). Florida Avenue is the worst place to try and cross – without stoplights, cars never stop for you.

I have been trying my best to keep meeting new people and trying new things.  I have been active in the Iowa State Alumni Club of DC and I have enjoyed spending time with some fellow Cyclones. The club is really just getting started, so it has been fun to be in on the planning stages of everything. So far it has mostly been gamewatches and happy hours – but what else do you really need? Also, there are a few other Zambia RPCVs in DC (DC is a haven for RPCVs!) so we have something of an informal group and get together for dinner or happy hour every once in a while. It’s great to meet people with similar backgrounds and experiences.

So that’s the update from DC! Winter here has been pretty mild – a few snowy days, but nothing unmanageable. Hopefully spring is just around the corner. 

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About Mary E. Fuller

I'm recently finished three years of service as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Serenje, Zambia. I completed two years of service in a rural village, and extended my contract for an additional year to work at Kasanka National Park. This blog is a collection of my adventures at Kasanka and beyond.
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