Moving to a New City
When you’re moving 5 minutes down the road from Pennsylvania Ave. to Virginia Ave. moving feels like a pain. But when you’re moving 5 hours down Route 79 from Pennsylvania to Virginia, moving can feel downright confusing.
You start with a plan.
- Clothes? check.
- Pots and pans?
- Office supplies?
On paper, everything looks to be under control. But when you move to a new city there are so many essentials that you can’t pack in a bag.
- Local diner?
I recently moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC and felt all kinds of confusion when I got settled. I learned that the act of moving isn’t finished once all the boxes are unpacked.
Read more to find out what I did to go from feeling lost to feeling like a proud Washingtonian.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I grew to love the small-town feel where everyone’s happiness for a week is driven by the Steeler’s performance the past Sunday. We stick together.
A lot of my friends and family share this love of my hometown, and they get to enjoy it every day since they still live there. When I first had to move away from home, I easily missed my friends and family the most. They were with each other every day still! I felt really left out.
One mistake I made when I first moved away to college is that I tried my hardest to replace the friends and family that I missed. I was unsuccessful - It turns out that you can never replace your hometown friends and family. This caused me to feel like I wasn’t doing a good job of fitting in.
When I went home for holidays, my hometown friends and I picked up right where we left off. I learned that even though my friends were hundreds of miles away, they weren’t going anywhere.
Once I focused more on appreciating what the new people around me had to offer, I found myself making meaningful friendships. Eventually, I could be as open with my new friends as I was with my hometown friends.
Fortunately, I moved to Washington, DC. Instead of trying to find somewhere that replaces my Primanti’s sandwich which would be 100% unsuccessful, I was open-minded about new things DC has to offer. I found a handful of new go-to restaurants that serve food from all across the globe right in my neighborhood. (recc’s: Duke’s Grocery, Surfside Taco, Bethesda Bagels, Sushi Taro, etc.)
Exploring new places to eat has been one of my favorite hobbies while living in DC. It’s a great way to learn about the different cultures of my new neighbors while seeing new parts of the city.
Take the metro to the waterfront for the relaxing views? Nope.
Take the metro to the waterfront for the relaxing views and oysters? Yep.
With so many iconic DC establishments like Ben’s Chili Bowl and new spots (Jose Andres restaurants) popping up I’ll never see them all.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed any time you move, but it’s especially easy moving to a big city. Going from Pittsburgh’s population of 1.7 million to DC’s of 6+ million had me questioning how much bigger this city is going to feel.
Luckily, this concern was put to bed when I finally made it to the city. The lack of skyscrapers give the city more of a small-town feel. Walking through the cute row-home neighborhoods in DC feel more like walking through a historic New England town than our nation’s capital.
The small-town feel does not stop with looks. There are countless ways to get involved with your neighbors in DC. srcLogic sponsored an intramural soccer team (pre COVID) where we spent our Wednesday nights playing against other DC teams and then grabbing beers with them afterwards. This was such a great way for me to meet new people in the city and become closer with my coworkers.
I did not have to give up any of my hobbies, either. I played rugby throughout school and was sad to pull on a jersey for my last game in college. I was lucky to find out there are 5 competitive rugby teams in the DC area to choose from! I’ve been able to continue my rugby career with the Potomac Exiles Rugby Club. This gives me the chance to feel a part of a team again while staying in shape and meeting new friends in the area!
Overall, you can’t avoid feeling a little bit scared when moving to a new city. Keep in mind that there’s no need to replace everything about your hometown because those things will always be there. I encourage you to embrace your new unfamiliar surroundings; you will find new reasons to call DC home.