New City, New Friends

by Shaina Dorow / January 11, 2017

13244856_10154112599460120_8742607338654810679_nToday marks the 9-month anniversary of me hitting the “Submit” button on my application for my job at Gather the Jews (soon to be GatherDC). This was one of the first jobs that I applied to, and man did I get a rush. It was that pit-in-your-stomach feeling, and this was from pure joy and also a tiny bit of anxiety. I’m not sure if it was because I was thinking of moving to a new place where I didn’t really know anyone, or if it was from the adrenaline of being up at 1:31 am thinking about being a “real adult”.

A few weeks later I got the job. And about 3 weeks after graduation, I moved to DC.

I’ll be the first one to admit that my job at Gather helped me with my transition to this new city more than I ever could have hoped. It dropped me right into a community: one th
at I was able to navigate and to meet people who were like me – the Jewish community. I was lucky to meet some of my best friends here through this work. Going to coffee 3-5 times a week basically sets you up to succeed that way.screen_shot_2017-01-11_at_3.48.52_pm

My suggestion for you fellow new-to-DC folks: ask people to hang out. The human condition is to look for connection. Everyone wants to be part of a great friendship. Making the effort is just the first step to something meaningful

But I’m not going to sugar coat it. Sometimes things are hard. Being in a new place will always have hard times – navigating the metro (what is it with only having 5 lines?), finding new doctors, and even sometimes having to move within the first three months of getting here. (That’s another story for another time…ask me, I’d happily tell you stories of my roommate saga.) There have been times where I get homesick or even school-sick (I miss the learning, not so much the homework).

img_7664_1024The moment I knew this was the right place for me was in the middle of the summer. I was talking to a group of my new friends. I don’t remember the conversation, but I remember feeling comfortable. The pit in my stomach that I described earlier melted away. I was at ease, aware that I was with people who I cared about, who also cared about me. Even if life isn’t always easy, small moments can be. These small moments can be thoughtless, simple, and beautiful. That’s what you should search for in new friends and in new places – those moments that tell you, too, that are in the right place. I’m so excited to see what’s coming