Thursday, October 20, 2011

Right Coast!

I visited my former homeland a few weeks ago, primarily to attend a wedding, but I don't need much of an excuse to set foot in DC.  There was even a Five Guys waiting for me across from my arrival gate once I stepped off the plane.  Ah, the East Coast - how I miss you!  However, I do not miss your humidity.  That was like a smack on the skin when I stepped outta IAD.  Gross.

Slick avoided his 3-hour commute that Thursday by working from home, so he was able to pick me up from the airport.  We'd do anything for each other, but a special place is reserved for those friends who will do airport runs for you.  They're a step above the rest of humanity.

I missed that face.
I had a little Hoya reunion with Angelle, Jacinda, Katie and Liz on Friday night at The Tombs (St Elmo's Fire, anyone?).  And maybe I got a little nostalgic.  Best years of my life, right there in that 4 block radius.
We were there long enough to get ours hand stamped (Liz asked for a forehead stamp since she didn't get one on her 21st), but not long enough to see the party really get started on the dance floor.  We're too old for that now.
Jacinda and I flashed back to our accounting class days with Srini across the street.  Bonus points on the exams if you could spell his last name (Sakaraguruswamy).

After dinner I drove across town to my old hood to pick up the groom of previously mentioned wedding at the metro.  A little pre-wedding party was at Bus Boys and Poets, and man, how my old hood had gentrified!  A few years ago there's no way on earth I would've walked down 5th St by myself, day or night, but now with a 24-hour Safeway and luxury condos on the block - pshaw.

I hadn't seen Michael in years!  So great to catch up, especially since the three of us used to spin electro-house music at all hours when we lived next door to each other in summer 2003.  That's what you get when you mix an Italian, a Spaniard, and a white chick who thinks she's Euro.
The lovely bride and groom - Janine and Javi.  Both Peace Corps alums.  They're hard core.
Saturday - wedding day.  My first Georgetown wedding that actually took place at Dahlgren.
I've been to enough Catholic masses that I knew I'd be confused as to when to stand, sit, kneel, turn to your neighbor and what to say or sing.  But that's alright. I successfully conveyed peace to my neighbor at a semi-appropriate time.
After the ceremony we headed across town to Silver Spring for a little lunch action at Mrs. K's Tollhouse.  I used to work in that neighborhood and had seen Mrs K's daily, though never eaten there.  It's a 'ladies who lunch' sorta place.
I don't even remember what we ate, but it was good.  Don't people only go to weddings for the food anyway?  No dancing, just mingling, and I successfully avoided the bouquet toss.  Michael's little girl, Sophia, filled in for me.
Jan had promised to cook me dinner while I was in town, so after the wedding I headed to his place in NE DC.  We explored his neighborhood before getting down to food business.  It was my second Catholic activity of the day - visiting the Franciscan Monastery.

They have the Hail Mary prayer written in well over a hundred ancient and modern languages and some lovely gardens.  It was worth suffering in the humidity to see some of this stuff.  The security guard yelled at us when we tried to enter the chapel - apparently he didn't think we wanted to step into the Mass that was going on.
Finally - the main event.  Turns out I like brussells sprouts more than I remembered.  Though the tomato peppers were a little too spicy.  I'm a weanie.
Delicious potato soup with chives, made from scratch.  Yum, yum.
And Jan, enjoying his perfectly seasoned steak.

We spent the rest of the night in a Mormons vs Catholics dart rematch.  Our rivalry dates back to 2001.  I wasn't doing so hot at first, but switching to my left hand made all the difference. How's that for ambidexterity?
Sunday morning I made my rounds to some of the DC singles wards, including one that meets in the Single Mormon Mecca.  I was super glad not to be in one of those wards while I lived in DC, and honestly I was almost intimidated to walk into one even now.  But no worries - I saw Celisse pull into the parking lot, ran into Katie while walking in, saw Jeff who I hadn't seen in years in the lobby, tweeted Joe Juanstan who was sitting on the stand, got a FB message from a Phoenix friend sitting in the row behind me, and saw lots of other familiar faces.  No big deal.  Three Relief Societies and two Elders Quorums are still full of people I know.

After church I drove to north Arlington to see Abe and Kim and their munchkins, who are finally back in the US of A for good.  Their girls are hilarious, and add in a couple kittens and you've got a rolling good time.
They just moved into a new house and hadn't unpacked anything, but their borrowed crock pot provided us with a delicious pot roast dinner.  That's the stuff Sundays are made of.
Time to rush to another social engagement, a birthday party for some guy I didn't know.  But a guy I do know - Mr Bill - ambushed me when I walked in.  Bill and I went to Primary together back in Oklahoma and have been friends ever since.  We still have our tradition of calling each other on our birthdays.  Yep, it's sustained us.  Okie friendships never die, even when you become a stodgy lawyer.
More people I know.  They  make me laugh.
So back when I was about 21, I fell in love with a band (that included two Okies) and joined their street team and went to all their concerts, because that's what you do when you're in college.  And despite growing out of that phase of my life to some extent, I am still really good friends with some people from those days, including the lovely Sammiterp.  Sam lives in my old Van Ness 'hood, so I met her there for lunch on Monday.  The Giant grocery store is way nicer now, btw.  IFFW for life!
After lunch I swung by my alma mater again to pick up some swag, then I drove over to see the munchkins and kittens again.  I helped install some cabinets, cause I'm good at holding things up on a wall.
Monday night, my last night in town, Slick, Christina, Tim and I went back into Georgetown for some food.
First stop, Georgetown Cupcake, because I needed to score dessert before they closed.  Yeah, yeah, the cupcake trend is on its way out, but I still love them.  And these ones are delicious.  Chocolate cubed?  Yes, please.  
Dinner was at the old standby, Pizzeria Paradiso.  I still think their small, original Dupont location is the best, but this one will definitely do.  Sparkling lemonade + a Bosco (add sausage) is pretty tasty.  

We walked to where M meets Wisconsin.  

And then we drove to the Iwo Jima Memorial, which is techinally called the Marine Corps Memorial, and finally after three tour buses left and I could hold my camera still out of the way of trees, I got an okay monument shot.
And then I drove back to Falls Church to see Stephen, who didn't go to UVA like his shirt says, rather he went to Georgetown with me.  His cute wife had baked a cake, so of course I ate more dessert.
Tuesday afternoon, my last few hours in DC.  I needed to explore Dupont Circle and the Shake Shack that recently opened, so I picked up Celisse and we had lunch.  I also dropped into my favorite little photography shop to pick up some stuff to hang on my still white walls, despite moving in four months ago.  I won't let myself hang pictures of places I haven't actually visited, but I prematurely bought some Istanbul shots since I'll be there soon enough.
I meant to stop by the new MLK memorial on the way outta town, but I didn't.  Cause it was on the verge of raining only it didn't rain, so it was jut 99% humidity and disgustingness, so I stayed in the car.  I also didn't get to visit my old Natty G friends, so that'll have to be another trip.

Until next time, DC.

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