How I ended up in Virginia
On September 15, 2017 I got on a plane at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). I remember my original ticket, to check out the area (I was considering moving to) for a long weekend, was changed because of Hurricane Irma. For some reason though, instead of cancelling my trip all together when my 2.5 hours flight turned into 9 hours, with a layover in Texas, I just cancelled my ticket and bought a one way the day before. I didn’t have a return flight, or any plans really. I just knew that it was time to become an adult again, my summer in Europe was over and I had to start a career. Only problem was that I basically spent all my savings on Polish pottery, tacos in Ireland and non-refundable, missed trips to Copenhagen.
My journey in the DMV started off rocky, but I sure as hell have come a long way.
I focused on finding a job to start bringing in money, since it was inevitable to be anywhere, and not spend at least a few bucks a day. You know people gotta eat at least.
As soon as I landed, I had a voicemail from a recruiting company about a full time position in Virginia. That was motivating. I did what I was asked for almost immediately and kept checking out the area. The down side to my soon to be new job, was that I had to wait for a clearance to be approved. During the waiting game though, I took advantage of my free time and scoped out the areas around where I would potentially be working, at least for the next six months.
Which led me to Springfield. Well honestly it was a wrong address on a google search of Starbucks, on my way to see some apartments that led me to Springfield Town Center. My uber driver “arrived at my destination” and all I remember was seeing a check cashing store and no Starbucks anywhere around me. While I’m literally sitting in an uber, no idea where I am, my driver got a new ride. Just my luck right? Right. He luckily offered to drop me off outside of the Hilton, which was where his next pick up was. Here’s where my luck comes in… The Hilton was right in front of the mall. I decided to ditch my Starbucks idea (even though Springfield Town Center has not one, but two Starbucks inside) and went to each Chuy’s (Remember, I like tacos according to my about me). While sitting there, I rented a car, because ubers were starting to add up.
A week later, and I had applied for what I intended to be a seasonal/part time job, to try and help me get back on my feet financially after my European splurge. I landed a few interviews, but decided on a hostess job at one of the restaurants right there in the mall. I also decided on an apartment right across the street… like so close, I can see across the street, and I’m in the movie theater parking lot already. But the mall convenience isn’t why I picked the area. I picked it because of a few reasons. One, almost everything I would need, was a short skip away. Two, my community was gated and had a key card access for my building as well, which was vital in feeling safe, especially as a single 26 year old in a new area. Lastly, it was in between my new job, and everything exciting the area had to offer. I knew this would be an ideal location, for me to call home base, at least while I continued to get to know the area.
When I finally got a start date for my new full time position, I realized I had about a three day window between my next day off at my part time job (which I had been putting in full time hours at), and my first day at my full time job. So I booked my one way flight back home, checked out of the hotel, returned my rental car and took an uber back to the airport.
20 days later and I was getting on a flight back home, to turn around and make Virginia my new place of residence. I’ll take it, considering I landed with no plan and was off to an extremely prosperous start.
First visit to DC – from a future locals perspective.
About a week into my adventure scoping out the area, I stumbled across a Facebook post about how my sorority alumni group was having a brunch. I was hesitant at first, since I had so much to see, but I ended up going. There I met some sisters from other chapters, and quickly realized that it was totally normal to be new in the area and trying to figure things out. I really just had to keep moving and meet people along the way. Quite frankly, it was interesting how things always found a way of working themselves out.
My ‘free time,’ once I decided on a place and had jobs lined up, left me basically just waiting for start dates and proof of employment, to prove income in order to get my apartment. I suddenly had to reallocate my free time and knew I should get out a little more and explore.
I remember going to an H street festival, brunch in Old Town Alexandria and the movies twice in one day, alone. Some people can never even imagine going to the movies or eating alone. I personally find that to be the best thing, I mean I essentially get to do whatever I feel like doing. Well let me clarify that. The best part wasn’t that I was alone, it was that I felt comfortable enough to do all that, alone. I was not dependent of anyone. And honestly, I thank my recent Europe trip for that even more.
My move from South Florida to Northern Virginia
I was fortunate enough to have my mom, father, cousin and sorority little sister available to help me with my move. When I landed at FLL, I took the ground off running. Straight from the airport, my mom took me to pick up the moving truck. We then dropped it off, and went to pack up my room and sort out my storage. The next day, my cousin, little and I got on the road and headed to Atlanta to pick up my father and continue up to my future new home. It felt like eternity. We had my car and the moving truck, so we all took turns driving and switched up pairs to keep the conversations interesting. I must have slept a total of five hours between the moment I left the hotel in Virginia and the night I fell asleep in my new apartment. When I finally got to sleep, I woke up to everyone around me, sleeping. No one even had energy to make an air mattress.
But my father and cousin left 30 hours after arriving in Virginia, back to their respective homes. Before leaving though, they were able to set up all my furniture, and hang up my TV. To this day I haven’t had to worry about lifting anything heavy. As for my little, she was able to stay a few extra days, and literally unpacked my entire kitchen and washed everything. I’m also fortunate enough to have my mom that understood everything I was going through, and stayed with my dogs for six months, on top of the three months I was in Europe for. I knew they were safe with her, which was one less thing I had to stress about. I will forever be grateful for them being able to help me make this move.
-My next trip out of the DMV after moving here was to Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia.
Lessons to take away
Just go. Don’t overthink it, or at least try not to. Don’t settle for what you’re used to and it’s okay to go out of your comfort zone and start over again. Everything will work out, even if you have to cut back and only eat two tacos, instead of three.