Why I Love DC: Marissa Bialecki

Photo courtesy of
‘National Sunrise’
courtesy of ‘dyoshida’

It doesn’t take people very long to figure out that I am a proud New Jerseyan, hailing from the great Garden State. And no, it does not smell. Being from New Jersey, which is often regarded as the red-headed stepchild to New York City, I went through life with that smug attitude that New York was “the city.” It was the place I was supposed to return to immediately after college and become a hip little New Yorker, emulating Carrie Bradshaw, but minus the sex with strangers. And then I came to DC. I was 18 and studying at The George Washington University, and before long I was frolicking through the monuments at night, breathing in warm October air and marveling at all this new city had to offer me.Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘LaTur’

I first fell in love with the city’s beauty. I admit that when I first moved here I was impressed by the gleaming limestone buildings downtown, the wide avenues, the Mall, the circles and parks. Yes, my world was largely confined to Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle as a GWU undergrad. But as I’ve lived here for almost five years and particularly since I’ve begun driving around the city, I have found quiet, little pockets of this city that I know can really only exist here. Sometimes it’s the quiet residential street that reminds me I love DC because it’s not a city that will swallow you whole.

While I often groan about how spread out the city is (especially when metro/metrobus isn’t functioning properly), I love that DC has neighborhoods, each with their own unique identity. There was a poster I bought once that outlined all of them, and to this day I marvel at it, trying to picture the different places in my mind. DC’s neighborhoods give the city character.

Photo courtesy of
‘262/365 – dupont circle farmers market’
courtesy of ‘dracisk 365/365’

I love the people I’ve met here, the eclectic bunch of friends and contacts who have taught me so much about life and this city. When I was at GWU, I wrote for our student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, for a while. That was back when I thought I wanted to be a journalist. And although I decided that endless deadlines and hard news were not for me, I love that writing has always allowed me to cross paths with some very interesting people. I love that one day I can listen to Bob Schieffer talk about what it was like covering some of the biggest news stories in America, and another day, I can interview someone who completely turned their life around after being homeless. I enjoy hearing people’s stories and what brought them to where they are today.

There are too many people that come to mind as I write this: my college friends,  my former bosses who have since become wonderful mentors, the good (and bad) GWU professors who taught me, my sisters from my community service sorority, the chefs who invite me into their kitchens and tell me about their lives without any pretenses, and now all the kind folks I’ve met here at We Love DC. I would not have met any of these people had I not come to the District.

Photo courtesy of
‘Eastern Market at Night’
courtesy of ‘starbuck77’

There are also the snapshots of different moments and memories that make me love DC–the view of the city when you touch down at Reagan National Airport, running through heavy branches of cherry blossom trees in full bloom, the first time a date took me to the monuments at night, the first chili dog I ever ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl, building a snowman during last year’s snopocalypse, graduating from GWU on the National Mall…I could go on and on about the wonderful memories I have made here.

Looking back on the last five years (and I can’t believe it’s already been that long), I’m very happy with my decision to come here. I’m so thankful for the experiences I’ve had in DC and the people I’ve met here. I’m a blessed gal.

Marissa was born and bred in New Jersey, but moved to DC for undergrad at GWU (Go Colonials, go!), fell in love with the District and learned that there was life and civilization beyond New York City. She loves eating at white-tablecloth-three-forks-at-your-place-setting restaurants, but she’ll also be the first to suggest we scarf down some chili dogs at 2 am. Simply put, she loves all things food. You can also read about why she loves DC. Follow her on Twitter and email her at mbialecki (at) welovedc.com.

5 thoughts on “Why I Love DC: Marissa Bialecki

  1. I have been noticing an increasing number of NJ, NY, & PA liscense plates flooding the streets around the dc area the past year or 2. A very disturbing trend that I am sure will only increase this year.

  2. Mike: Sorry you find this trend “disturbing,” but it’s a blessing for those who have the opportunity to relocate. I’m from Reading, Pennsylvania, an area generally lacking in economic opportunity (except maybe cooking meth) and populated with mostly rude a-holes (of which I am not). I am incredibly happy here and have no desire to return “home” permanently.

  3. Don’t get me wrong I love the South Eastern Pennsylvania area and I love North & South Jersey especially the shore area. But when I constantly hear how much better Penn State is then UMD and I constantly hear Eagles & Jets chants at bars and get grilled in my own home town area for liking the skins then I think it’s a problem. This coming from someone raised in Montgomery County and now lives in the district. Newcomers and transplants from NJ & PA are more then welcome to the DC area just don’t tell how much better the area you left is then mine.

  4. I think it’s hilarious when people say DC is so spread out. No, it’s really really not. But the DC Metro really makes you think it is.