This past year I spent my second summer out here in DC. At this point it feels normal – I couldn’t imagine being at home for the whole summer ever again. Spending summer last year out here was pivotal in making it feel more like home and less like somewhere I felt like I had to be for school, and coming back here for my second extremely sticky, very humid, and mosquito-ridden summer just felt natural this year.
In the way that last summer solidified that this is home, I think that this summer marked another monumental shift because it was the first summer that I felt like I could play hostess out here in DC. There’s something so adult about feeling like you know a place well enough to have people come visit YOU, host them at YOUR house, and show them around YOUR city. I didn’t even think about it in the moment, but I think that being a hostess marked a monumental shift between me and DC!
For me, I don’t think that I could call a place home if I didn’t really feel like knew it well enough. I think a feeling of being at home comes from a sense of comfort and ease, and to me that translates to knowing what’s going on outside my door, what I enjoy doing in the city, and how to easily get around. I feel like hosting someone else in your city is the ultimate test in showing that you know a place well enough. Kind of like how in school, being able to explain a concept to someone else is the ultimate test in proving that you actually understand the content, I think that this is the same idea.
So this summer, when my 21st birthday rolled around, as part of all the celebrations and festivities, two of my closest friends from high school came to visit me. We’ve visited each other many times before and in fact, we always do Thanksgiving together, but this trip felt special because it was the first time that I could host them both in DC. It felt kind of cool to introduce them both to DC as the place where I’m from and that I know the best; I think that it really impressed upon me how much I’ve gotten to know this city and how at home I am here. Racking my brains to come up with a list of must-do activities while they are here and showing them around made me take a step back and be like, “wow, I actually know this city pretty well. This is my place.”
I think it was also a moment that I felt really proud of because I remember arriving here not even two years ago and feeling so overwhelmed by being in a completely new city. I wrote about this in a Dear LME blog post a while back, but a few months after I first moved here, I was still feeling incredibly homesick so my dad came to visit me. One of the things that he did that helped me immediately feel more settled was just to help me explore what was around me; he pointed out a nice bakery I could go to on the weekends, places that it was easy for me to walk to, and just overall gave me a helping hand in getting to know the city better. Feeling like I knew my surroundings a bit more was so huge in settling down and feeling at home here.
And so being a hostess not only to my school friends, but also sort of being the DC local tour guide to other students in my intern class this summer at work has been a full circle moment; I’ve gotten to know the city well enough over the past two years that I can now host people and show people around and hopefully do the same thing for my intern friends who are thinking of moving here next year that my dad did for me two years ago! I love a wholesome full circle moment.
Have you ever experienced this feeling of hosting someone in your new home!
If you weren’t here last week you’ll want to check out my introduction post where I introduced myself to the world!
See you next week,