November 15, 2006

Last Weekend in D.C.

As I mentioned quite a while ago, Paul and I are moving to Washington, D.C. soon. I’m very excited for this. Moving is generally a stressful thing, but it is doubled in intensity when it’s to a new city! I flew out there this past weekend to look for a place to live, and let me tell you that life magically worked out once again, despite my fear that it couldn’t possibly. I found a wonderful place in only 2 days. Well, 3 weeks of worrying about it, 2 more weeks of hard online searching and 2 days of physical shopping. Not bad, eh? Technically we’re going to live in Alexandria, Virginia, but still in what they call the metro area, since it is indeed served by the metro, making it very easy to get to The District.

The move will take place in mid-December so until then, I can simply organize and pack with the calm assurance that I do have a place to call home. Honestly, DC seems like a pretty great place. Everyone was incredibly friendly and the city doesn't seem very intimidating, at least to this former-Parisienne. Although, I wonder if it's just because everyone speaks English...hmm. I was actually a little nervous to visit since, you know, I better like it since that's where we're living! One often hears about the hectic D.C. traffic and busy pace, but I found it to be actually a lot less crazy than Paris. Oh, no one parks on the sidewalks? Why isn't everyone lining up as close as they can possibly get to the subway doors before they open in order to more easily shove your way onto the train and claim your space? Where's the aggressive city attitude? Why doesn't the metro smell like urine? And more importantly, when shoved by some lady with a large purse, why didn't it feel okay to shove back even harder while maintaining the ambivalent funeral gaze that excuses Parisian women of so much of their naughty behavior? It might be wrong that I miss that side of Paris...

In D.C. we used the metro on a Friday night around 6:30 pm and I could stand comfortably with my own personal space bubble around me. Plenty of room! My French friends would never believe it. "I'm telling you - I could expand my rib cage when I took a breath! It was amazing..." Why wasn't my face in some guy's armpit and somebody's little dog pressed up against my shins, with a purse shoved between my thighs and the only thing to hold on to was the flat glass panel on the door? I didn't know how to handle all that comfort! I'm glad I don't have to put on that face every day anymore, but it certainly made me tough, and I really miss it. Paris was never boring, that is certain!

But back to D.C. The low buildings and colonial architecture make the city incredibly beautiful yet cozy, too. It almost felt like a midwestern city to me - people seemed casually dressed and extremely friendly. I guess in Paris it really is all about fashion! I know that with the political arena out there everyone is working incredibly hard so there is a certain yuppie-vibe to certain areas, but overall, I’m really looking forward to getting to know the city. History was such a rich and intriguing part of living in Paris, so I’m excited to live somewhere with so many monuments and so many stories.

Plus, there are the crab cakes! Oh! (And I can’t believe it’s taken me 4 paragraphs to get to this…) I was there for 3 days and I had crab cakes twice, so I’m feeling as if I can stand to wait another month or so before I get to eat them again. I don’t even think we went to any restaurant that was particularly known for their crab cakes, but it didn’t matter. Compared to what you find in the Midwest, well, there’s no comparison. I’ve gathered that the most common presentation of crab cakes is the crab cake platter. Two lovely cakes were served with coleslaw, fries or onion rings and a delicious remoulade sauce with capers. It struck me as funny that at the much nicer restaurant we dined at the next evening, the platter idea was repeated. I ordered the crab cakes again, which came with a lime aioli, jicama and apple slaw, and yucca fries, of all things. Both were excellent. Do check back here in a few months and I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you where I go for the best crab cakes!

Also, I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads Chez Mégane now and again. I'm not posting as much as I'd like to right now, but by the time we're settled out there, Chez Mégane hopes to be back to her old pace with much to say about her new home city!


Genie said... didn't tell me you had crab cakes while you were there! (And now you probably understand my aversion to all things crabby (other than myself) in Iowa City, eh?) Your pictures made me wistful -- I'm so excited for you about your move, and am really looking forward to reading about your D.C. discoveries along the way.

:-) Genie
The Inadvertent Gardener

Anonymous said...

magnificent post! can't wait to hear about your new adventures (from one country's capitol to another)! come visit before you move!!!

Tanna said...

That is maybe an odd part of Paris to miss. But Paris is just Paris and when you miss it you miss all of it. Anyway I do and understand.
The crab cakes look great!
Wonderful to have a place to go to now!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to DC. It is a great place to live, I know i've been here for 16 years.

Tea said...

Congratulations on your new home! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures to come. Oh, and the crab cakes.

bcinfrance said...

Onion rings, slaw and crab cakes in the same photo?! This is American food heaven...

Lisa said...

I am so very envious of the crab cakes! All the best on your move and I'll look forward to more posts from our nation's capital.

Megan said...

Genie - Yes, I understand now completely! =) You've been such a huge help with DC stuff - I hope you can help me with more restaurant recommendations when I get out there!

Emily - Thanks, girl. I hope they'll be worth reading! Miss you!

Tanna - You're so right! I miss all of it, even the stuff I never thought I'd miss!

Anonymous - Thanks for the welcome! I'm really looking forward to living there.

Tea - Thanks for your comment. I hope to have a few stories to tell!

bcinfrance - So true! I couldn't remember the last time I had onion rings!

lisa - I know! Crab cakes are such an unfair advantage that people on the coast have. But, in the midwest we have the 2 inch thick pork chop, so that's something!