Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
Beth – “My family in Arizona doesn’t really know what to make of me. I have been liberal leaning all of my life even though I grew up in a conservative home. I have two older brothers. One was in the military and the other one is a defense contractor. My Dad’s biggest regret in life is that he didn’t go to Vietnam. Instead, he worked as a defense contractor.
“Back in Arizona, I felt like sometimes when I talked, people thought that I had these outrageous and fringe views about the world. There, most people assume you are conservative and Christian. Even in a business environment, someone will invite you to their church’s potluck. Here, things are different and people are less presumptuous.
“When I moved to D.C. four years ago, I realized that my views were actually pretty moderate. I find that here, even the conservatives are pretty open-minded, and people talk a lot about all sides of an issue. Certainly, I never really feel like my ideas are outrageous and fringe in this city. That helps me feel more at home here than I did in Arizona.“
Brock – ‘I, also, grew up in Arizona. My family is actually full of cowboys. When Beth and I were looking for a place to live, we made a list with our criteria. We wanted to be in an urban environment where we didn’t have to depend on a car. In Phoenix, you drive everywhere. That city is all sprawl and an urban dessert. When we ranked our cities, D.C. won. We decided to move here without jobs and planned to figure things out. I am a computer programmer, so it was easy for me to get a job. Beth eventually got a job with a non-profit.
“I really do like living here. I have found community through meet-up groups and going to the same coffee shop or bagel place all of the time. The thing that is still weird for me is that when I first moved here, I felt really claustrophobic. Here, I never feel alone. In Phoenix, I could walk around and feel more or less alone. Everyone drives in that city and it is rare to see people walking. Here, even if I try and walk in the middle of the night, there are people and cars and sounds. It started to feel like I was being crushed in this box of people and stuff all of the time. I even tried going to the parks, but there were people there, too. I guess one day I just got used to it. Now it isn’t so bad and doesn’t make me as panicky.”
Beth – “Let me just say that I don’t mean to say that Phoenix is a terrible place. It just wasn’t for us.”