The Features, Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Rachel

The day-to-day existence I was living when We Love DC came into my life was one with little light. A darkness enveloped most thoughts I had at the time due to having lost my dad, dog, and two grandmothers all within the span of eight months. I had lost focus and direction. After having coffee with Jenn Larsen, one of the founding editors, I was persuaded to start writing for We Love DC. Finding my way into that world changed everything. The light was back. And I was ready for it.

Why do I still love DC? Because of what We Love DC brought to my life.

It took a few months for me to find my groove and re-establish my writing voice but coming from a place of feeling stranded, lost, and confused will do that to a person. In the Fall of 2009, We Love DC offered me an opportunity to utilize the skill sets I developed during my time studying journalism at American University.

But for me, We Love DC was never about having a byline or wearing a press pass. To me, We Love DC was a project that fostered my sense of self during a time of much needed self-discovery and mental preservation. I could write about any topic I wanted as long as I could compose a piece with passion, integrity, and facts. And the topic I was most passionate about was music.

It’s no secret that music is the love of my life. We Love DC provided me countless opportunities to not only interview national touring acts that I’ve admired or kept track of for quite some time – like Rachael Yamagata, Tony Lucca, Megan Hilty (of Smash), Kris Allen (of American Idol), and Barry Manilow. But, even better than that, We Love DC presented the opportunity to live, breathe, and document the current state of the DC independent music scene. Continue reading

Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Rebecca

I came to our fair city a fresh faced, college graduate who knew only one thing about her move down here: I definitely did not want to work in politics. Thinking back I only vaguely recall who that girl was or what she was thinking, or even what made her happy. Despite twenty odd years under my belt, I was new to the world, and pretty much had zero life experiences to learn and grow from.

It’s said that childhood and adolescence are the most formidable years of your life.
And while it’s fruitless to argue that those years aren’t important, for me my most formidable years, my 20s and early 30s, happened right here in DC. More profoundly put, I truly grew up in this city.

The last 9 years here have had their ups and downs, their failures, their simple pleasures, their soul crushing, heart breaking events, their depressive episodes when I literally had to scrap myself off the floor, their serendipitous meetings, their triumphant fist in the air celebrations and a whole hell of lot of in-betweens.

At the center of it all is DC; its people, its culture, its evolution, its bars, its opportunities, its music, its heartbeat are all at the crux of this personal growth and discovery. Continue reading

The Features, Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Fedward

When I moved to the Washington area in 1998, it wasn’t for any single good reason. I had a few reasons that added up to something, but I can’t say my logic was in any way sound. Mostly I was 27 years old and felt like I’d exhausted my opportunities in my home town. I didn’t have anything tying me down, and I figured I had enough connections here that I could make a go of it. When people asked me, I’d say that everyone else lived in DC for four years so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I had a friend who lived in a group house on the Hill, and she idly said she was thinking of moving out, but she needed a roommate. I told her I’d arrive in August, and she should find us a place to live. That first year we lived in a rented house in Crystal City, but a couple weeks after Metro’s Columbia Heights station opened up I moved into an apartment a few blocks away, where I lived for ten of those four years.

Seventeen years later, I’m a married homeowner and I have a different glib answer about why it would be impossible for me to leave: I can never live anywhere with fewer than three airports. Given the choice I’d never use any of them but National, but I’ll fly out of Dulles or BWI if the itinerary is right.

But that doesn’t really answer the question of why I (still) love DC.

When I came to DC I found a culture that didn’t revolve around the business of government. My friends aren’t lobbyists or politicians. I’ve come to know a few congressional staffers and lifetime feds over the years not because of their answer to the question “so what do you do,” but because of the things they do when they’re not on the Hill (drink, mostly). I know a few lawyers, but most of them continue to prove my belief that the happiest lawyers are former lawyers. Continue reading

Essential DC, People, The Features, Where We Live, Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Ben

Full disclosure: I really wanted to title this article “Why I (Still) Love DC: Take Two (or Ten)” but Jenn wouldn’t let me. (Something about ruining the pattern or other such reasonable editorial argument.) If you’re a long-time follower of We Love DC, you’ll know I wrote a similarly titled piece back in 2013 after this site’s fifth anniversary.

And then suddenly, here we are not two years later and the party’s over.

Back in the fall, when it was discussed about putting the old gal to rest, I didn’t really want to let it go. I’d hoped that a fresh generation, newer (or older) blood would pick up our baton, and sally forth. But alas–and unlike our lovely Congressmen and Senators on the Hill–our grand lady would not blather on about nothing, limping towards digital obscurity.

And I’m okay with that.

This will be my 647th and final post here at We Love DC. (And, for giggles, that’s about half-a-million words.) I never thought I’d be saying good bye, both to our readers and to the site.

It’s a bittersweet milestone for me, particularly.

2015 marks ten years -half my married life!- since I moved to the Metro DC area. My wife and I escaped a wretched employment outlook in Pittsburgh when the International Spy Museum took a chance and hired me to help run their retail shop. Brenda Young, my manager at the time (and she’s still there, I believe), was a true District resident from Capitol Heights and during our downtime in the office, would tell me all about this city and its secrets. Actually, considering where I worked and who I rubbed shoulders with on a frequent basis, I learned about a lot of secrets in the District…

Anyway, it was during my time there that I stumbled over Tom and his merry band of Metrobloggers. I applied to write, figuring I could bring a ‘fresh-behind-the-ears’ view to the team (only having been here two years at that point). I showed my bona fides and I was in.

And plunged straight into the depths of rebellion. Continue reading

The Features, Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Don

I confess: I looked at the other pieces my cohorts wrote so far before starting this, hoping they’ve give me something to rip off inspire my direction. For what it’s worth, they helped me not at all.

This feels like writing about why I like air. For me the DC area just is, at this point. It’s where I settled, somewhat accidentally, thirteen years ago. It’s where I met so many good friends. It’s where I met the woman who is now my spouse. It’s where I became a dad. Turned forty. Died.

Just kidding about the last one. Would make a nice creepy short story though, wouldn’t it?

But maybe I will die here, just hopefully not soon. It’s hard to imagine going anywhere else. Before all those things above, this is just plain where I felt at home, and that hasn’t diminished in the slightest. When new, cool things come along I think well of course; in the city I came here from I would think well of course when hearing about something crappy. DC is the place where I expect good things to happen, and they so often do.

Maybe that’s the best indication of being in love. You look at the whole thing, warts and all, and can’t help but smile. The minor flaws feel like quirks and the bigger things you think are worth living with or trying to improve.

I love DC for what it has been for me, is, and promises to be.

The Features, Why I Still Love DC

Why I (Still) Love DC: Patrick

White House Bowling

Bowling at the White House. Photo by author.

So, I have a hashtag. It’s called #RageLikePho.

People have come to associate me with the hashtag to the point it’s often mentioned in introductions to other people.

“This is Patrick, he has his own hashtag.”

People ask to take “#RageLikePho photos” with me thinking the hashtag refers to the goofy yet on-trend face I tend to make when people take photos of me.

They are not entirely correct. The roots of #RageLikePho stem from a We Love DC writers meeting back in January of 2013, when we discussed content ideas and approach of writing stories that reflected each writer’s own personality. A lot of regular features at We Love DC used a well-established pronoun-verb-object nomenclature: She/He Loves DC, We Love Music, We Love Drinks.

In a pizza-induced coma-like state, I started joking around about writing articles on the one good thing I can do: go out all night. I messed up the naming however and jokingly suggested a series of stories that recap my weekend benders and call it “Rage Like Pho.”

Everyone laughed none the less.

A few days later I used it as a hashtag for the first time:

The first mention of #RageLikePho on Twitter

The rest is history.

When people ask me what #RageLikePho is I say it’s more like a lifestyle than a face. You might think it means rampant drinking, dance parties, or streaking through the quad. While it does have some debaucherous overtures, I personally think #RageLikePho is about having a good time, but not in a Clarendon Bro kind of way.

All I really need are friends and a chill place to hang out in a neighborhood that gives us options to mix it up after awhile. I’m not a one-bar kind of guy. Luckily DC has always given me those options in the form of many diverse neighborhoods and experiences.

Bar hopping in Dupont? Jazz in the Garden? Bowling in the White House? For the past nine years now I’ve lived in the DMV and have been drawn to the combination of history, power, and urban life that is truly unique. Sure, Los Angeles or New York may be bigger and Portland or Austin maybe hipper but there isn’t a place that has the right combination that DC has.

The District is my Goldilocks match in a world full of many great cities.

It’s why I fell in love with DC nine years ago and I continue to love it today, whether I’m Raging Like Pho or not.

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