Lately I’ve been trying to approach my re-integration into US society like I approached integrating in Nicaragua. The advice I was given when I spent a couple days with a volunteer during training was to accept every invitation to dinner, birthday parties, whatever and go, regardless of how tired or freaked out I was. The past couple weeks I’ve made myself do something I’ve never enjoyed: go to gatherings where I pretty much only know the host. A lot of my friends in DC are random acquaintances so when they invite me places I used to either drag someone with me or not go. But I figured it was a good opportunity to expand my friend circle and put my small talk skills to work.
First I went to my college friend Emily’s End of Summer Barbecue. There was a possibility of other folks from our school showing up but no one did. I spent a surprising amount of time brainstorming ideas for one girl’s food truck vision (food trucks are the new lunch fad in DC, I haven’t tried one yet) for her amazing canned preservatives and other random food ideas. Later another girl and I tried to explain to a guy why asking girls out on the Metro isn’t such a good idea.
Next my old roommate Melanie organized a karaoke night so I met up with her and some of her mostly work friends early at a bar that was having trivia, but we didn’t play and instead got a lot of dirty looks and a couple comments because we were talking during the game. Beware of trivia geeks, they take that stuff seriously! I didn’t last long at karaoke itself mostly because my usual karaoke partner is in South Korea.
Lastly, I went to an iftar, which is the breaking of the fast at sundown during Ramadan. The group was almost entirely women, mostly lawyers actually, and they were fun to talk to and I didn’t feel weird being the only non-Muslim there. It also made me realize that Peace Corps has made me very practiced at being in new situations so I no longer really feel that awkward when I’m kind of the odd one.
I’ve also been packing in lots of social time because a) summer in DC is beautiful and come winter I may not want to leave my apartment and b) my knee surgery was just scheduled for this coming Thursday so I won’t be able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather much for a little while. I’m having arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus (cartilage) in my left knee. I’ll have the long Labor Day weekend to recover so I should be fine to return to work the following Tuesday, hopefully without having to crutch the four blocks to my office. I’m not too nervous but any happy thoughts you feel like sending to my knee on Thursday at 7:30am EDT would be appreciated.