'A Window Into Who We Are'
by Tina Fitzgerald Parks
Last summer I got married, and my husband and I honeymooned in Bora Bora. Surrounded by honeymooners from all over the globe, the first question we were always asked was, "Where are you from?" to which I would readily answer: "Washington, D.C." My husband would sometimes get irritated and say later, "We live on the Eastern Shore now; it's misleading to say D.C., and besides, you grew up in Potomac."
By the end of our trip, I finally did my best to explain to him my need to say "I'm from D.C.," and furthermore, what that means to me. "Look, I'm not just spewing out the closest metropolitan city to our Zip code; I am attempting to provide a window into who we are."
The proximity to the capital breeds a certain kind of people. We are sophisticated, politically conscious, culturally diverse, socially tolerant, environmentally conscientious and intellectually curious. We attend political rallies, walks for charity and fundraisers for anything; we believe in diplomacy and know how to "reach across the aisle." We join book clubs, rescue animals and attempt vegetarianism and Ethiopian food; we believe in the Redskins and hold a certain level of contempt for Ravens fans; we listen to WPGC and NPR in equal measure; we believe in education without being elitist and have an appreciation for classical music while also having a healthy understanding of go-go.
So, whether we are natives, transplants or living outside the Beltway, a certain Washington-ness bleeds from the four quadrants into the surrounding metropolitan area. Many of us Washingtonians have moved to other parts of the country since high school or college graduation, but we always seem to move back; we crave the companionship of like-minded people, of other Washingtonians, and that intangible that makes us so.
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