November 1, 2011, Washington, DC: Today is our anniversary of home. It’s hard to believe it’s been only one year since we moved to Capitol Hill, harder still to believe we’re still so fresh off our short-lived experiment in non-city living. In some ways it feels like we never left Washington.
In other ways, of course, today’s a good day to recall what we left behind.
This afternoon I returned to our old neighborhood in downtown Annapolis, not far from the area on the edge of town in which I still work everyday. By all means, downtown Annapolis is a neighborhood that’s easy to fall for. Tiny historic homes line narrow streets around the fingers of Spa Creek just off the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay. Our home in particular was red and adorable, located in an area that’s walkable and quaint, a stone’s throw from the Sly Fox Pub. Hands down the best part about that old place was its proximity to water: I could roll my little yellow kayak just two blocks down the street and drop it into Spa Creek for an evening paddle. That’s something I could miss everyday if I let myself.
But there are tradeoffs everywhere we go and not once have we regretted our return to Washington. Back here are our friends, as well as the metros and taxis and bicycles and airports and train stations that connect us all to one another. Back here is a city where people come and go, where’s it’s the norm to be a nomad. Nobody’s really from here, at least not at first. Somehow that makes a lot of people feel like they belong.
I’ve often considered this year whether perhaps it’s been easier in my experience to move across the country than to move 40 miles down the road. Is having a foot in both worlds more of a challenge than starting fresh? Is it simpler to move to a place far enough away to ensure you can’t maintain daily ties to your former hometown?
One of these days I’ll write more about Annapolis. For now, I’ve made deliberate choice to revel in the joys of my new home rather than dwell on what was right and wrong about the old one.
For tonight, I’ll simply appreciate that year we spent near Spa Creek. I’ll remember that water. Tonight, with no regrets, we’ll toast to this happy anniversary of home.