by Jennifer on November 8, 2010

photo credit: Nicolas Karim

Friday night. I clutch my driving directions in one hand and refer to them in the glow of my car’s interior light. 16th Street to Florida, right on R, take 23rd at the roundabout, and so on. I’m on my way to meet friends in Arlington and decided to take surface streets rather than looping around the city.

I make my way on narrow side streets with cars parked on both sides, past charming row houses with pretty front stoops.

It’s my first timing driving a car in DC – I’ve taken the Metro countless times and been the passenger when someone else was driving, but it’s my first time navigating on my own. I have a sense that I’m probably in Georgetown, but when I turn on to M Street, I know it for sure.

It’s immediately familiar, though much has changed. Which is how it so often is when you go away and come back.

I’d have to ask my best friend since college how long it’s been (15 years? Longer?) since we spent long, aimless days shopping in that part of the city. She lived in Maryland for years and when I would visit, we seemed to end up there.

Walking and shopping. Seeing three movies in a day. Trying on oversized sweaters or finding funky candlesticks at Urban Outfitters. Checking out guys. Talking about where we thought our lives would go next.

Not looking at a map. Figuring out where we were as we went along. Doubling back to get our bearings if we had to.

Not knowing then that it would always, ever, be so.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

the mama bird diaries November 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

Sounds like a wonderful time. When I went back to DC after many years, I was amazed by how much the city had grown.

Lee November 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

We are brave, brave girls, are we not?

Femke May 9, 2012 at 6:51 am

I looooooove Georgetown. I’m from Holland and visit DC every now & then. Came accross your blog and I like it so much. Feel I want to read old your blogs in one go 🙂
Lots of love from Holland,


Slow Panic December 20, 2013 at 5:41 am

How did I miss this when you first posted it. Love this, love the writing and the memories. Have I mentioned how we didn’t how good we had it back then?

Sarah Piazza December 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I adore Georgetown and would live there in a heartbeat, if I had money…

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