Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Footloose Feeling

In between writing stories about my current life, I thought I would write down some of the other fun times I’ve had that I didn’t post about at the time. This is the story of a Saturday night near the end of March, the night of Purim in fact.

Carolyn had invited me to go to a Purim celebration at the local synagogue but I wasn’t really in the mood. Purim for those unaware, is the holiday celebrating the triumph of the Jewish people in ancient Persia against a king’s vizier who wanted to kill us all. One of the commandments for the holiday involves excess drinking. It’s a fun holiday and people wear costumes but I decided I’d rather not go with her.  Instead, I arranged with Beth to meet up with her and go out with some of her other friends that I mostly (at that point) hadn’t met. Beth came to my place since we didn’t know where we were going to meet the others. My roommate Elizabeth and her boyfriend Jeff were watching Twilight while I made fun of them for it when Beth arrived. After providing her with a homemade cupcake Elizabeth had baked, she and I hopped a cab over to the neighborhood near George Washington University to Alison’s apartment.

Alison’s building was gorgeous, incredibly fancy outside and in. That said, we still somehow managed to wander in without having to deal with the security nominally running the place. Alison was still getting ready when we walked in, and Beth helped her figure out what to wear while I chatted with Alison’s roommate who had just returned from a trip to California. The night was still fairly young and the girls were hungry, so the three of us walked over to a nearby restaurant to get some food. When we ordered drinks, the waiter checked our ID and asked Alison where she was from. I thought it was a bit of flirting but apparently it was checking to see if she knew what was on it and if it were real, which surprised me as it doesn’t seem a very good test of whether the ID is real. The dinner was nice otherwise though, especially when the bachelor party at the next table got loud and the girls got hit on by the very drunk groom who went on and on about how he was in good shape for his age. It was very difficult to control my laughter while the girls did their best to placate him.

After we ate we went back to Alison’s to drink a bit before going out. Beth particularly liked the flat orange soda with vodka.  Although Beth and I had had a rather messy night there just the weekend before, the decision was made to go to McFadden’s partially because it was so close. Carolyn texted while we were drinking to tell us Read more…

Categories: Personal

That Funky Monkey

The weeks in DC just seem to fly by. No sooner do I get up for work on Monday than it seems I’m leaving the office on Friday. For the most part though, my days contain good memories, or at least vivid ones and that’s really what I look for at the moment.

This past week was hectic at work, with yet more fallout from the abrupt departure of a colleague, but it’s starting to settle a bit. The big craziness was wondering about whether there would be a government shutdown this week. After everyone freaking out about it non-stop, the whole thing fizzled and it’s business as usual today. I had a chance to catch up with Clara (whom I know from back in Seattle) on Wednesday and went to her house for a party on Friday. I like Clara and her friends, they are very down to Earth and passionate about important things in a way that I find intriguing, if difficult to emulate. I didn’t stay too late though because I planned to meet Carolyn and Corinne in the morning to go the Cherry Blossom parade.

Though not a fan of waking up early on Saturdays, I managed to crawl out of bed and drag myself to Carolyn’s apartment by a quarter to ten. I couldn’t get a hold of either of the girls and no one answered when I knocked, so I thought perhaps they had already left and decided to go meet them at the parade. The parade was fun, although the weather was not the best. While I stood there, I tried calling Corinne again, and only moments later received a text from Carolyn revealing that neither girl was there and they had decided to not come and sleep in since it looked like rain. Unfortunately for my own sleep cycle, Carolyn had forgotten to inform me. With a rueful grin and a shrug, I went back to enjoying the blossoms and the rest of the parade before walking to the grocery store and heading home. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and speaking with a couple of friends on the phone before it was time to get ready to go out.

Originally I had planned to have a pregame get-together at my place before heading out. But between so many of my friends being out of town or studying or otherwise occupied and the latest expansion to the people I know still being very new, I was fine with postponing it for a few weeks. Instead my plan was to tag along with Beth again, joining her and her colleagues for the night but with the bonus of already having met them. I walked over to Beth and Carolyn’s apartment for the second time that day as the night slowly came to life around me. I do like going into their building. It’s fancier than mine and yet stands in a much more relaxed environment, part of the whole gentrifying trend in the city. When I arrived, Beth was still getting ready (she tends to run a little behind, but so consistently that it’s easy to allow for), while Carolyn worked on the paper for class she was staying behind to work on. Corinne was also there, with a new friend of hers, Brittany, who was new to DC. Amid discussions of southern accents and previous nights out, Beth finished dressing and we all had a few drinks before bidding Carolyn farewell and walking over to Beth’s friend and coworker Lauren’s apartment up near the Adams Morgan area of the city.

We had to wait for Lauren to come down and get the four of us because the people walking into the building right in front of us ignored us when we asked them to hold the door open but Lauren quickly whisked us up to her apartment where along with people I knew such as Allison and Diva, there were a few others sitting at a table drinking wine and chatting. We joined them as they switched to beer and liquor and tried to figure out where to go that night. I rarely have strong opinions about where to go unless I’m planning something and the ever-present dilemma about where to go on a Saturday night entertains if nothing else. While we debated, I played a couple of games of Bananagrams with some of the others (and winning the second round). The game is a bit like Scrabble combined with Spoons or maybe dominoes, but it was fun. Some of the others left to meet other friends, including Corinne and Brittany. Those of us who remained talked still about where to go until eventually talk focused on pump-up music and Beth gave us a preview of some of her dance moves. Near midnight, having made no plan except to just go and see, Beth, Allison, Lauren, Diva, and I headed out the door.

Adams Morgan at midnight on Saturday is anything but dull. With people going in and out of bars, talking, flirting, fighting, and otherwise engaging with others, the sounds of loud club music mingling with the ringing of phones and making the cigarette smoke in the air vibrate, the streets Read more…

Categories: Personal

Jumping Right In

Catching up on everything I’ve done in DC with anything like the detail I usually like is impossible at this point. However I will make the attempt to add digest summary style entries of some of the most notable events while at the same time jumping right back into entries about my experiences as though there was no gap. With that explained, here’s the story of my Saturday night:


Saturday I wasn’t sure what my evening plans would be. Carolyn was off in Florida for her boyfriend’s birthday and there was the usual uncertainty about who might be around and up for doing stuff. Luckily, Beth, Carolyn’s roommate not mine, invited me to join her and several of her coworkers for a night out based around a birthday but apparently much more open. I headed to her place a little after nine for pregaming, a bottle of citrus-flavored vodka in hand. I hadn’t been to their apartment before but it was very nice, very fancy, and the apartment itself spoke very strongly of both girls’ personalities. While waiting for her coworker Kelly and Kelly’s friend to arrive we played around with some music. Beth is apparently a Kesha fan but hadn’t listened to some of the more amusing lyrics so I pointed those out as her eyes grew round with shock.

After her friends arrived and we had a few drinks (theirs mixed with the coke in their McDonald’s cups), we headed out to the Russia House, the first stop of the night. The Russia House is really a high-class kind of place. The bouncers had earphones like Secret Service agents, and apparently to book tables you had to ensure a minimum of three hundred dollars spent. It was only after I walked in that I realized Beth wasn’t with us. Kelly told me she had forgotten her ID and had to run back and get it. Slightly more nervous now that it was to be me and a bunch of people I didn’t know at all, I followed the two girls up the stairs to the reserved tables. The dark wood paneling and subdued red light everywhere made an odd contrast with the American pop and dance music playing that reminded me of certain bars I’d been to in St. Petersburg, only much more expensive. The place was full of people in better than average clothing, even for DC and I was glad I had looked the place up and not worn jeans like I generally prefer. The three of us sat down along the row of tables set up for the party and I introduced myself to the birthday girl, Olivia, and her friend and another coworker named Diva.

More people soon arrived. While I sipped a Russian beer and listened to stories about handcuffs and house parties from Kelly, Olivia had a six-vodka sampler and others tried a variety of interesting beverages. Beth eventually came back, ID in hand, and she and Kelly and I had some very nice vodka at the bar. Allison, the only one of Beth’s coworkers I had met before, and a delightful addition to any party group came along with her sister who was in town visiting. The fifteen or so people there probably made the reservation minimum without much trouble. I had heard some amusing stories over the last few months about a lot of Beth’s coworkers so it was really fun for me to put faces to names and anecdotes. Eventually Beth and Kelly and others started getting antsy because they wanted to dance. They arranged to meet up with some of the others later and I floated back down the stairs after the three girls and a fellow who was planning on meeting his rugby team at a bar very close to where Beth lives, Local 16 so we decided to go there at least for the moment.

I was not Read more…

Categories: Personal

A Letter to Myself Circa January 2010

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Because I’m Turning 25…

Dear Eric,

In a few weeks you turn 24 while today I turned 25. I wanted to write to you just to tell you how lucky you are to have the coming year ahead of you. Everything in your life you wish could be better, will improve enormously. Even the parts of your life that you think are pretty good already will be amazing by the time you hit that quarter century mark. It might be hard to believe, but considering you’re already reading a letter from the future I encourage you to be open-minded. I thought it might be nice to give you an overview of what’s to come, some highlight at least, just so you understand why it was a year worth breaking the laws of physics for. You might be wondering why, if I can send a letter into the past I don’t send it to you on your actual birthday. The reason is because even though that’s the calendar day you turn 24, the day you get on that plane to Germany is really the day your year begins. Oh yeah that flight is delayed by a day just so you know, apparently the English can’t handle snow.

I thought about different ways to recap your year ahead but decided a simple chronological summary would make the most sense. So here’s a month-by-month look at the coming year: Read more…

Categories: Personal

Tales of Europe: Alexa the Kiwi Lives the Life Less Ordinary

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Free walking tours in the major European cities are one of the best parts of traveling through Europe, especially when alone. The quality of the tour itself varies enormously depending on the city and the guide, but nearly all the ones I went on exceeded the sometimes disparaging descriptions of these types of tours I sometimes read.

The tours also provided a great way to meet people, especially people of similar age and circumstance to myself. The easiest to meet were others traveling alone of course as gravity naturally drew people not talking to anyone else to speak to each other, usually during the milling around before the tour began or during the break provided during the three or four hour tour.

But this isn’t the story of the tours, no this is the story of a young woman I met right before the tour I took in London began. This is the story of Alexa, and three outlandish events on her journey from her home in New Zealand:

Alexa doesn’t immediately stand out in a crowd. Pretty, with shoulder-length brown hair, a smattering of freckles across her cheeks, and a wicked glint in her eye, it’s only when she flashes her dazzling and infectious smile that heads start to turn. In between puffs from her inexhaustible supply of cigarettes, she told me about life in Havelock North and her decision to save up money and, much like the thousands of other Australians and New Zealanders I encountered, travel the world. What made her story different from so many others was that instead of immediately departing for Europe or North America, Alexa instead went to South Africa. In short but vividly descriptive sentences, she described her unconventional trip along the eastern coast of Africa. Read more…

Categories: Personal

Things On My Mind

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

There’s no real coherent theme or story, just things on my mind I want to put down. Read more…

Categories: Personal

Washington DC: Formal But Fun

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve lived in Washington DC for a little over seven weeks now. Time enough to get the lay of the land and understand a bit about how the city and its inhabitants function, but not so much time that I don’t still get surprised on occasion by what goes on around me. I’ve visited DC a few times growing up but never lived here and seeing the city through (somewhat) adult eyes is an entirely different experience. DC has its quirks, good and bad, just like any other city I’ve lived in, but it’s those differences that make traveling and living in new places a worthwhile experience. Here’s some of the things I’ve noted that define the city, at least in my head: Read more…

Categories: Personal