Originally Posted on November 25, 2006
On December 1, 1996, I arrived 3,000 miles away from the place I was born to start a new life. A cloudy sky emitted a limited amount of light in the dawn of this particular Sunday.
Overnight I flew out of Los Angeles International Airport with all of my remaining personal belongings. Just a few bags were checked through on an American Airlines 757 heading eastbound. Just before six in the morning, the plane landed at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. After being shuttled from the plane to the terminal to gather all of my bags, a new adventure began.
Ten years ago, I left my home state of California and never looked back. I became disappointed and disillusioned by the lack of opportunities that never materialized personally. There were also other points of contention with the people I grew up with, but I can honestly take the blame for that situation.
What made me think that the Nation’s Capitol was any better than California? Perhaps there was some promise of success on various levels. If you walked the streets of the District, you can certainly experience the power this city emanates in and around the Mall. DC is a land of opportunity for those who can do the work and make a notch into the region’s economy. There was no such feeling back in California that spoke to my concerns.
When I began my journey in the DC Area, the first several months were tough. I went from temporary assignment to another. It seemed like I worked in almost every part of the metropolitan area. I also had trouble trying to establish a permanent residence in the process. Eventually, I had to step away from almost everything to essentially save myself from total insanity.
Then, I landed a temporary position with government contractor at a Department of Defense agency in Arlington. Apparently, I did a great job, so the contracting company hired me on permanently. In a matter of days, I moved into a lovely home in Falls Church. This became my life for the next few years.
Consequentially, I began to withdraw socially. To compensate for this loss, I began to become absorbed with my job and my home. To relieve some stress, I began to travel extensively throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.
The year 2000 was full of excitement and fireworks. As soon as I felt established in the area, several shocks came through on both the job front and the social arena. In the end, I saw a division inside the movement I founded that became an opportunity for the people in the DC Area to return back to the ideals that helped build it years before. Sadly, my employer was being threatened with a termination of their contract by the Defense agency due to performance issues. The result came as a new company took over the contractor with a stipulation that all of the personnel are to be retained. I elected to leave the contract and find opportunities elsewhere. This led to my departure in October, 2000 to Madison, Wis.
Looking back, my time in the DC Area was pivotal in my own personal development. I had been given the opportunity to grow as a professional and as a human being. I look back at this time with fondness. If I do return back to the DC Area, I’ll make sure to explore the places I once found joy in 3,000 miles away from the place I was born.