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As all who know me are well aware, my time in DC (4+ years in total) was completely life-altering. It was a grand, terrifying, fun, miserable, gut-wrenching and soul-searching period of my life. But it was also a period that I knew would end.

And that it has. I write to you from my cozy corner of the big red couch in my mother’s house in western Washington State, fire blazing in the hearth and a light dusting of snow outside.

It’s after midnight here and I just finished reading about 100 pages of Game of Thrones book 5, bookworm that I am. I’m thinking about my friends back on the east coast – some tucked in their beds with their lovers and some eating Jumbo Slice after a rowdy night at the bars. I miss them. A lot.

And yet I feel this sense of ease and calm that I barely remembered existed until I moved back here a few weeks ago. I feel fear too – fear that this is all too good to be true; fear that the rug is going to be pulled out from under me and that this peace will disappear.

It’s not as if you can’t find that same peace in the District. It just wasn’t there for me.

It wasn’t just the constant sound of ambulances careening by my apartment, or the everlasting bruises on my shoulders from carrying far too heavy and far too many bags of groceries home for miles. It wasn’t just the way people don’t look at you or smile when you pass on the street.

It was everything, and it was nothing. I had ceased to feel the way I wanted to feel. I’d stopped seeing the upside of things, or the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t get me wrong – DC is amazing in so many ways. I love the city’s energy and the constant rush of so many things to do and people to meet. I love the educated, fascinating, varied individuals that inhabit it. And the friends I made there…they’ll never be replaced.

I suppose I’m just not the type of person who thrives in the District long-term. Many extraordinarily smart and fantastic people do – and I applaud them. But not this girl.

This girl feels comforted sitting outside the bar in the freezing winter air while her friends drink Rainier and chain smoke. This girl lives to see the mountain on a clear day, breathtaking in all its ethereal glory. This girl likes to run on paths surrounded by evergreens with the light northwest rain messing up her way too long hair. This girl missed her family.

I guess it’s simple. I’m home.