A major part of the new Foreign Service lifestyle we are embarking upon is going to be repeated changes in housing. Each time Thad gets moved to a new posting, we will have a new home to explore-ascertaining both the fabulous and the “unique” aspects of each new placement.
Our first leap into this semi-nomadic lifestyle was the move from Nampa, Idaho to Arlington, VA. Not only was this a move across the country, but it was a move from a large single-family home in a suburban area to a small apartment in a 17-floor building surrounded by concrete and cars.
Many have asked what our new home is like, so I thought it would be great to share our current digs with you all.
We live in a building called Oakwood Crystal City. It is an interesting mash-up of being an apartment building and a hotel. Most people living here are based here on a temporary basis, but temporary can mean anything from a handful of weeks to a year. There is a lobby, similar to what one would expect to find in a hotel, as well as a pool and an exercise room. Oakwood provides weekly housekeeping, which includes changing the linens and towels, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and running a vacuum over the carpets.
Our apartment is comfortable and works fine for what Thad and I need. It has one bedroom and one bathroom, as well as a small kitchen, a living area and a patio. The entire place is furnished, so we now have a king-sized bed that seems monstrous and a sofa set that is much better than I imagined it would be.
When Thad was offered a position in the 161st A-100 class, he was given a variety of housing options, all in different Oakwood properties. We chose the Crystal City location because we had heard it had a lot of great conveniences. One of these is its proximity to the Metro station. To reach our Metro stop, all we have to do is walk through the hotel that is attached to our building, through a corridor and into the station itself. Between our place and the station (a five minute indoor walk) is a labyrinth of shops and restaurants as well. Down in those hallways I can enjoy lunch at Potbelly Sandwiches, drop my mail off at the post office, pick up a new outfit at the Dress Barn and grab some household odds and ends at the Rite Aid. All of that is accomplished without ever seeing the light of day. (When it is June and beautiful out that may not be a selling point, but in my mind I am picturing February and freezing!)
Beyond our building at its maze of passageways, the local branch of the Arlington library is just a ten minute walk away. Pentagon City Mall is also just a short walk away. Potomac Yards, a shopping area that includes a Target, a grocery store, many clothing stores and a movie theater, while not really walkable (although I did give it a shot!) is just a few minutes on the bus, which makes it easily accessible as well.
Day to day life in Crystal City is a bit different than it was in Nampa, especially as we learn to navigate the various modes of public transportation, but it has been an exciting change and one that just makes us look forward to the next big move!