There's nothing like a few out-of-towners to help you see your city in a new light. Fresh, friendly faces hungry to explore their surroundings can give you the push you need to step out of your bubble and mix it up a bit. A few months in DC had given me plenty of time to fall into a steady routine of same old, same old, which is why when three friends from back home flew in for a long weekend I prepared for a possible shakeup. They've since left, and my suspicions have been confirmed: four nights and five days later I feel like I've been given a new perspective on life in the Washington area.
It all started with a day of sightseeing. As we explored the newly minted Capitol Visitor Center and the nearby Library of Congress I wondered why on Earth I hadn't checked out these DC landmarks before. Then there was the neighborhood hot spot I've been meaning, but failing, to see for myself. I had read the good reviews and had listened with envy as fellow commuters waxed poetic about their weekend escapades, but it took a group of vacationers to get me to go. My guests even helped me discover two new coffee shops: one that is only three blocks from chez moi, and another that served the best vanilla latte I have ever had. Add in the new people we met and the places I already knew but had ignored for too long and I barely even remember my life pre-hostessing.
It's not that I'm unable to investigate my surroundings without being prompted by guests. On the contrary, traveling overseas and moving across the United States have instilled me with some pretty decent exploratory skills. Nevertheless, the added push from energized newcomers is always welcome. In Paris, friends who came to visit introduced me to Versailles, Père Lachaise Cemetery, and a French baking class. Not to mention all the little cafés, restaurants, and shops we frequented together. Without their ideas, plans, and guidebooks there are whole sections of the city I might never have seen. After a whirlwind long weekend, I finally had to say goodbye to my Minnesota friends. And although I quickly assumed my regular routine, it feels good to know that they left me with a couple of new tricks up my sleeve. If you're ever in DC and in need of the perfect vanilla latte, you know who to ask.