People keep asking me where I’m working, what I’m doing, and how the hell I wound up in Virginia (which I’ve been wondering myself). I don’t feel like writing much, so this is the abridged version.

I’m living in Arlington, VA, in a spacious one-bedroom apartment that is starting to feel like home. I moved down with a Saturn worth of stuff - I stuffed the car with as much as I could, and the rest is in a heap in my parents’ family room. The first few days were sort of depressing, as my apartment was full of holes, I didn’t have any furniture or Internet access, and I spent most of the first two days at work looking over code.

But things have quickly improved. The cable guy came yesterday and blessed me with Internets and TV. My parents surprised me with a wide-screen HDTV for graduation (I had totally forgotten about the part where you get stuff), which came yesterday. Last night and early today, I started looking for some furniture on Craigslist (at Sarah’s suggestion), and by five this afternoon I had a couch and a desk (before pics, and the rest of the place). My uncle lives near here, and knows a guy with some furniture he’s looking to get rid of, so I might get another couch and a table. I’m still sleeping on an air mattress, but they fixed the heat in my bedroom so it’s not freezing cold any more (I had to use an electric blanket all week). I’m sort of living out of boxes, since I don’t have a dresser, but that’s OK for now. I’m hoping to find a cheap one on Craigslist soon.

I’m working for a tiny company called AetherQuest Solutions. I had debated whether or not I wanted to discuss work at all here, but enough people have asked about it that I’ll say a bit about it. There are only about 10 of us working there, it’s really laid back, the other developers are around my age, and I’m doing web programming - I couldn’t have found anything more perfect. It’s also only five minutes from my apartment, which is almost unheard of around here; I know people who live in Maryland and go two hours each way. I couldn’t deal with that.

Now, the important bit - how did I wind up here? Honestly, I’m not even sure. Some of the CSH-DC crew had mentioned to me before that I should move down here, but I never really took them seriously. I had every intention of finding something in Rochester and staying there. I talked about looking in Boston, Toronto, NYC, San Francisco, and Alaska, but at the back of my mind, I figured I would settle down somewhere in western New York. I didn’t even really start looking elsewhere until a few weeks before graduation, when I realized how soon I needed a job and how little I’d found in the area. I stumbled on a job listing on Craigslist (seriously, it’s been pivotal to this whole experience), and before I knew it, I was planning a trip down here. It worked out wonderfully with the weekend in Pennsylvania - I just kept going south on Sunday afternoon. I had an interview on Monday, accepted the job on Tuesday, and was back in town the following Monday to start working on Tuesday.

I never really had time to sit down and think about my decision and the implications. I had no intentions of winding up in Virginia; it just kind of happened. I’m having a hard time shaking the feeling that I’m only here temporarily, much like my co-op in Pittsburgh, but I know I won’t be back at RIT in three months, or going home for break week. It’s a weird feeling that slowly disperses as I make this a home - having some furniture helps a lot. Until this afternoon, this was just the place I kept my clothes, but now it’s starting to feel like it’s my place.

It’s exciting. I just picked up and moved to a city I didn’t know and had only seen for a couple days. I moved away from parents who never lived more than 20 miles from where they grew up (this experience has been harder for my mom than I thought it would be), and it’s unlikely that I’ll return - the economy here is doing just as good as Buffalo is bad. I found myself a place to call my own, and I’ve starting filling it with stuff. I’ve started over fresh in a new place.

I’ve started my own life, and it’s as scary as it is exciting.