Sunday, August 16, 2015

DC Living

Well, I did it.

I finally escaped Mississippi's death grip, despite its attempts to keep me there, and made the move to Washington DC.

As dramatic as it sounds, I have dreamed of moving out of the South since I was about 13 years old. That's when I started to really understand things and realized that my family never really fit into the southern lifestyle. That's also the age I was when my family took a trip to Boston to pick up my brother from his Tanglewood summer music program, which was my first trip out of the South. And I was all, "WOW PLACES THAT AREN'T THE SOUTH ARE AMAZING. Pine and magnolia trees aren't the only trees that exist!!"

(Despite my deep hatred for Boston's baseball team, Boston is actually really cool. Go Yankees.)

I was pretty nervous about moving 16 hours away from most of my family, understandably. I just spent a year with my parents. We were already close, but there's a deeper bond that happens when you have to depend on your parents for basic things like your mobility and every day activities even though you're an adult.

I'd love to say I am transitioning so much better than I thought I would because I'm so independent (true), but I know a big part of it has to do with JT and Karley living 20 minutes away. They were out of town during my first weekend here after my family left, and it was unexpectedly a little rough. So when they were coming back on Sunday, I texted "Can I invite myself over for dinner? Because I had a dream everyone in our family was dead and I think I need to be around people." It's nice to have someone close by that you can say that to and you know their response will be "Yeah, bring some wine!"

So I've spent the last two weeks exploring, Netflixing, and spending lots of girl bonding time with Karley. JT travels for work during the week, so it's really nice to have each other. She has been awesome and we've been having so much fun! It's cool when you are able to get to know your sister-in-law as a friend rather than just your brother's wife. She is a teacher too so we obviously love to talk about that nonstop, unfortunately for JT. We can already tell that we're going to have some fun occassionally teaming up against him. ;)

Favorite activities include drinking wine, watching an episode of a TV show, then pausing it and talking about the most random stuff until 1am.

I also met up with my student teaching CT (cooperating teacher) and he freaking rocks. We basically line up on everything when it comes to education/teaching styles/work personalities, so I have no doubt that this semester is going to be a blast. We were up there decorating the classroom and I met a bunch of other teachers and administrators, all who are so welcoming, inclusive, and friendly. It is the best atmosphere I've ever seen in a high poverty school. The school is one street over from my place, which also rocks. It's also really big and has a very confusing setup, so luckily teachers have to be there a week before students so I will hopefully stop getting lost by the time the kids get there. 

It's a totally different world up here in the best way. The thing about DC is you can choose to do your own thing and talk to no one or have a conversation with the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop, and both are totally okay.

There is so much culture and diversity, and everyone is so respectful of that. If you go to church or just believe in God, that's cool. If you don't, that's cool too. If you want to be Catholic and also stand up for social justice, no one calls you horrible names. If you're a democrat, good for you, and if you're a republican (Rs here are NOT like Rs in the South, for the record), good for you too. The first question people ask a 22 year old woman is "What do you do for a living?" not "Why don't you have a boyfriend?"

So basically I'm finally living in a place where my views are in line with the majority of the people here, rather than the minority. And even if they're not (pay close attention here, South), you can still be great friends with each other! You can even be NICE to each other! For the first time in my 22 years of living, I can actually BE MYSELF outside of my family without fear of losing friends or being excommunicated simply because I view the world in a different way. Being different isn't just tolerated here, it's celebrated. Are there ignorant people here? Sure, those people are everywhere. But there sure as hell aren't as many of them, and it's beautiful.

It's so liberating to be able to be yourself.

The view from the rooftop of my apartment building. Not too shabby, yeah?
PD week for teachers starts tomorrow, and there are no words to explain how happy I am that school is starting. I need my routine back. I met my University Supervisor via FaceTime earlier this week and she is so funny and wise. She briefly got off topic, and we discovered that her husband and I had the same Traumatic Brain Injury rehab doctor at Methodist in Jackson, and we are both good friends with my favorite Starkville OT, Linda! I have repeatedly let the fact that I'm a semester behind beat up the perfectionist in me, but GUYS, no doubt that God is all up in that. Although I don't really need many accommodations anymore since my cognitive abilities are so much better, it's so nice to have a University Supervisor who just gets it. She gets the struggle.

Not to get all preachy, and I wouldn't consider myself an "everything happens for a reason" person, but God is so good at making His presence known sometimes. Even after a year and a half of me being all "ARE YOU FREAKIN' SERIOUS, DUDE? REALLY?" And if you don't believe any of that, then we can just chalk it up to a really freaky coincidence.

I'm about 4 months shy of my 2 year mark (CRAZY), and much to my surprise, life is so good again. I truly didn't think it was ever going to get truly wonderful and enjoyable again despite the promises that it would, but here it is.

On one final note, meet this 2 month old love who is officially living life as a Cacibauda. I was bored on a Saturday morning and just went to look. An hour later, I was leaving with a cardboard box carrier and this 2 pound kitty. She came into the shelter in bad shape, so she's still a little spazzy, but she's quickly realizing that sudden movements and talking loudly is a regular thing when you live with me. ;)

Introducing sweet Darby Rose Cacibauda!