Not that kind of tea party

When I made the move to DC in 2008, I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole. I was Alice and the 42 bus was the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Wonderland was a bar down the street, not a hidden land. I was confused for the better part of the first year, and I called my mom crying approximately 20 times a week wondering aloud if I had made a mistake. Then I would walk down a street where the brick townhouses still had gas lanterns on their front porches and I’d call her right back to say, “you know, I think I’m going to be just fine.”

And I was. I was fine. In fact, I was amazing!

I attended press conferences (well, one… and I was asked to leave) and saw political celebrities. I drank champagne on rooftops and danced at rock shows. My first friends were a group of couriers who met for coffee every morning half a block from my office. In the 2 ½ years I spent there I learned about bikes, leg-kicks, and how strong old friendships truly are. I learned how to host a Christmas party (don’t use your Grandmother’s crystal), and I learned that (luckily for me) the eyes of Texas are upon you. Most importantly: I learned about myself.

I learned that my instincts are usually right and to believe where they lead me. Alice had the Cheshire Cat and I had... Sprouts. I learned a lot of things from the flowers but my friends actually taught me more. It was a surreal point in my life.

I moved back to Texas to be closer to my family- I wanted to see my little cousins grow up at family reunions, not on Facebook. Tomorrow I’m giving one of them Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I want her to explore her imagination the way Alice did- let it grow and push her in new directions. I want her to find value in herself and not what people tell her she should value. I can’t wait to see what rabbit hole she tumbles into or how she emerges.

What was your Wonderland? What experience taught you the most about yourself?