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Moving from Ohio to Annandale, Virginia

Share Your Story: Moving to the Washington DC Area

By kconnair

Where did you move from?

Dayton, Ohio

How long ago did you move here?

In 1986

Where do you live and what do you like about the area?

I have lived in Annandale, VA for 15 years. When my husband and I first moved here, we lived in Arlington, first in an apartment, and then we moved to a townhouse. We now live in a single family home. We enjoy the area because there are so many things to do--history, arts, culture, etc.

Why I moved to the DC Area

We moved to the DC area because my husband (we were then engaged) got a job at the Pentagon. He moved here first and I stayed in Ohio until I could get a job here because the cost of living was too high to have just one of us working. My first position was at the Smithsonian, a great place to work! I have since moved on to other government positions, but my husband is still at the Pentagon. Our stable government jobs are why we stay here.

What my biggest challenges have been

My biggest challenge has been getting used to "big city" life. I came from a medium sized town in the Midwest. There was little cultural or ethnic diversity where I grew up. I was used to little traffic, friendly people and wide open spaces. When I moved here I became more exposed to many more cultures and interests--that has been a good thing! There were so many different people from all over the world! The amount of traffic continues to be a real problem and it is getting worse and everyday costs, especially housing, are extremely high. We have been unable to move closer in (or stay in Arlington where we enjoyed living) because of the high cost of housing. It was difficult at first to get used to being around so many people and people of different backgrounds but I have found that has enriched my life. So many things are crowded (cultural events, plays, concerts) and things are very expensive here. I miss the wide open spaces and good home-cooking restaurants like back home. This is a very transient area and it is often difficult to make friends. Once you do make friends, they often move within a few years. It is a faster pace of life and sometimes, the people are not as friendly as they are back home. I miss seeing my family more and we miss our local sports teams. But everything is a trade-off. We both love history and there are many historical sites to see within a few hours drive. There is always something going on every weekend and I take advantage of bus tours that are offered by the Smithsonian and the local counties. The library system is great; I live close to three different library systems which I take full advantage of. There are many places to hear some great music or see a play or dance performance. One can never be bored in this area! Living on the East Coast puts one in close proximity to Philadelphia and New York and all points in between. Plenty to see and do in those locations as well. This is a great area to live in if you have a little money and you want to lead a busy, active life.

Advice

When I moved here over 20 years ago, one did not have the Internet to research housing costs and neighborhoods. I would do a thorough search of housing costs, see what you can afford and come and visit and see what areas you would like to live in. Although a lot of cultural things are free, there are still costs involved if you wish to have an active social life. Take full advantage of everything going on in the greater DC area--historical sites, museums, concerts, plays, etc. Join organizations to meet people, get involved! Take bus tours of local sites. There is much to see and do here, you won't be bored!

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