As a part of GatherDC’s Jewish Person of the Week feature, we will be highlighting one Jewish “newbie” each month. (Are you new? Do you know someone who is? Nominate them today by emailing Shaina!)
This week’s first-ever Jewish Newbie of the Week is Blair!
Blair was one of my first friends in DC. She signed up for coffee, and we immediately hit it off. She’s affable, funny, and definitely one of those friends you want to introduce to your parents (proven by the fact that she has met mine…). Read more about Blair, her pupusa adventures, and her favorite lesser-known DC coffee shop, below…
Shaina: What brought you to DC?
Blair: Akin to many other 23 year old Jews in DC, I moved here for a job after graduating college. I work in healthcare consulting (with a larger passion for the public health and health policy space), so this city definitely lured me in. I have known since I was younger that Washington, DC. was a city I could not only live but thrive in. I have distant family living in Arlington, VA, and on frequent trips to visit them throughout my childhood and adolescence I constantly marveled at Washington, DC, as a blend of both my childhood in the South mixed with the Northeast. Washington, DC struck me as a city where people come and go for work, but the constant intellectual stimulation is ever present.
Shaina: How long have you been in DC?
Blair: I’ve lived in DC since May of last year, so by most people’s standards I’m still new. Nine months in and I am still on the hunt for the best food in each neighborhood.
Shaina: What is your favorite thing about this city?
Blair: Washington, DC may not have the best food, art, community building, or bars, but I absolutely love the people I meet here. Most individuals I meet are doing such interesting work and have an incredible passion for what they do. That passion has become contagious and has pushed me to be more present in my own involvement in and outside of work, as well as in and outside my social circles. Despite the masses of people that come in and out for work, they city still feels small. After growing up in Durham, North Carolina, I feel like this city is a logical jump for me that allows me to explore the constant flurry of activity that metropolitan areas have to offer, without being too overwhelming.
Shaina: What piece of advice would you give to someone who just moved here?
Blair: I am an incredibly extroverted person, so this advice may not resonate with everyone, but: instead of getting bogged down in the happy hour culture and networking, find a weird niche event that you want to go to, go alone, and just talk to people. There is honestly something always going on in DC, and there really is something for everyone. I am obsessed with Latin American food, so when I first moved here, I knew I had to go to the Columbia Heights pupusa festival. I made one of my first great friends there after standing in line for three hours waiting for pupusas. We bonded over recently moving to the area and knowing no one. It’s simple, but it worked.
Shaina: Best place to grab coffee in DC is…
Blair: ThreeFifty Bakery & Coffee Bar is tiny and they make a great cappuccino. They have limited inside seating, but a great outside patio to just relax, chat with friends, admire the surrounding row houses, and people watch.
Shaina: Finish the sentence – When the Jews of DC Gather…
Blair: The company and conversation is good, but the food is better.