Goodbye, Virginia (Part I)

If someone would have told me back in the fall of 2006 when I moved to Washington, DC that I would stay there for almost nine years, I would have laughed in their face. Yet it happened just that way. Three years ago today I passed the FSOA, and yesterday I moved away.

In the days leading up to my move, I was incredibly busy. After my packout I was still working full-time, attending meetings at the State Department every day. I reaped the rewards of having completed many administrative tasks and personal errands in the months and weeks prior, ending up with a little more time for fun. And most importantly, very few instances of being angry and frustrated that I had more things to do than allotted time to do them.

On the evening of Thursday, May 14 my husband and I threw a fun going-away happy hour downtown at Teddy & The Bully Bar. In my typical fashion, I sent out an invitation over five weeks in advance. LOL. Over the course of nearly nine years in this area, I have had the opportunity to meet dozens of fantastic friends and colleagues and I was so pleased that many of them were able to make it. I will truly, truly miss the professionalism, support, humor, innovation and intelligence of the people I’ve known here, and I hope that our paths will cross many more times in the future.

There were more than one hundred wonderful pictures from that night, many of which I haven’t even seen yet. Here are just a few…

10628490_10152972199938860_821015762760799247_n 11244898_10152972202583860_2122098955906181382_n

IMG_2547 IMG_2555 IMG_2582 IMG_2583 IMG_2564IMG_2592 IMG_2597 IMG_2640 11246029_10152972103493860_5558159497955715107_n IMG_2609I was pretty stunned when my matron of honor and her husband walked through the door of the bar. I hadn’t even invited them because they live hundreds of miles away. I only invited people who lived within 20 miles of DC because it was a weeknight and just a casual stop-by-for-a-drink kind of thing. But here they were standing in front of me – absolutely amazing. So we took them to a late dinner at the fabulous Founding Farmers and went for a final little drive in my car because…

…early on the following morning, Friday, May 15 my beloved VW was picked up and taken away to be shipped to Uzbekistan.

I went out to the parking lot over an hour early to remove the license plates and do a final sweep for personal items in the vehicle, when low and behold the truck showed up early. This is why it pays to do things early, kids. Bonus – an extra hour (albeit a carless hour) to myself.

IMG_2662 IMG_2665 IMG_2672 IMG_2676 IMG_2680Goodbye Hildegaard! Be good!

It was strangely sad to watch her leave. And it was incredibly aggravating to navigate northern Virginia over the next few days with a full schedule by using only public transportation. Whenever I started to get irritated, or apply another band-aid to my foot, or anxiously check my watch for the tenth time worrying that I would be late, I reminded myself: soon you will be a stranger in a strange land, where everything is in Russian or Uzbek. After that, I settled down into a state of gratitude.

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