My family with the Washington Monument in the background.

My parents, sister, and me, ca. 1978.

One year ago today, I arrived in Washington, DC. Moved to DC, actually. This isn’t the first time I’ve lived here, however. I first lived in DC the summer I turned seven. My father, a FBI agent, needed to spend three months at the national headquarters, and he arranged the timing so that we could spend the time with him. We stayed in a suite with kitchenette in a hotel then known as the Guest Quarters, less than two blocks from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station and just a few blocks from the Watergate complex. Not long after moving to DC last year I tracked down where we’d stayed. It’s still there, 801 New Hampshire Ave, NW, now a Double Tree. I have lots of good memories of my time then. I don’t know that I had much conception of DC as a city, but I have many memories of specific places within the city, and I liked being here.

Lisa and Mona

Lisa and Mona at our favorite picnic spot in Rock Creek Park

Now, 35 years later, I am much more aware of Washington, DC as a city, and my feelings about being here are far more complex, far more complicated. A year on and the city doesn’t feel like home. I’m not sure that it ever will. This isn’t to say that I’m having second thoughts about moving to DC. While the city may not feel like home, where I live in the city is the truest home I’ve known since I packed up and moved off to college. I arrived in DC one year ago today because 14 months ago Lisa and Mona asked me to come be with them. I moved here so that we could become a family.

We’ve long since settled into the mundane day-to-day of family life: parental permission slips that need to be signed, a dog that needs to be walked, trash that needs to be taken out, homework that needs to be done, moods and schedules that need to be accommodated, floors that need to be swept, bills that need to be paid. We walk to the local coffee and crepe shop and Mona takes my hand. I look up from my work and Lisa is doing her own work nearby, sometimes close enough to reach out and touch. We three gather together and one of us reads out loud from one of our favorite books. Through all the mundane day-to-day and stresses and difficulties of daily life and the weight of a city that’s too busy and too densely populated and too unfamiliar, through it all I am daily struck with awe: I am here with the two of them. There is no place I’d rather be.