By Kody Murphy

I’m a small-town guy. Where I grew up in Michigan you had to drive close to 45 minutes to the nearest Walmart for your monthly grocery shopping trip. I grew up in a place where you are surrounded by trees in every direction. My graduating class was just under a hundred people. I know just about everyone in my town, and where they live.

Yeah. It is that small.

The moment I stepped out of the car in front of my new living space in DC, I was mesmerized. I have never seen such a big and busy place in my whole life. You would think it would take me time to adjust to being tossed into a new and very different , but it took me almost no time at all to become acclimated. Still, the three biggest things that surprised me were the insane traffic, the diverse culture, and the sheer amount of amazing food within walking distance.

The Traffic

Never have I seen so much traffic in my life, and the aggressiveness of it at that. Horns blaring all the time, it’s quite intimidating for someone like me. I’m used to hopping in my car and just going. No traffic jams, no “stop ‘n go”. It was all open roads. At a certain point, my job was 60 miles away and I could get there in just under 50 minutes. Now it takes me 40 minutes to walk to my interview that is two miles away.

The Diversity

Another huge difference is the cultural diversity here. There are so many people of different backgrounds, different religions, different ethnicities. It is super fascinating to someone like me who was raised and surrounded by white Christians for twenty years. It is a huge eye opener. I pass this Hispanic family and their market stand in Adams Morgan every day and they always have something new and interesting to sell. Since coming to DC, I have gained a huge appreciation for the diversity of this world, and how massive it is.

The Food

The food. Oh my god, the food. I had one diner in my town. Now, I can take one step outside and see at least four restaurants. My wallet has been angry since day one in Washington. Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Brunch spots, Ramen shops, Pizzerias… everything you can imagine, you can find it here. I’m one who always loves trying new food, and I am in heaven in this city.

DC is the exact opposite of what I am used to, but I am loving it. I do miss my small town sometimes, and I can’t wait for the day I get to go back and see all my family and friends. I can’t wait to play fetch with my dog in my big yard. I can’t wait to be able to drive my car again, just for the hell of it. I may not be a city boy forever, but for the moment, I am soaking it all in.