A Farewell Letter to Chocolate City (till next time DC)

Over the past few weeks I have received emails (well mostly DMs) and personal questions asking “Are you scared about moving and leaving everything here?” or “How do you know this is the right thing to do?”

The simple answer is “Yes and I don’t.”

“... I never dreamed of living in Washington, DC but the opportunity was in a way my golden ticket to fulfilling my desire for a mission-driven career. “

I think about it everyday. Back in 2013, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. I had just accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA assignment, making $16,000 USD in one of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in. Honestly, I never dreamed of living in Washington, DC but the opportunity was in a way my golden ticket to fulfilling my desire for a mission-driven career. I sold my 1991 Toyota Corolla (RIP Hercules), packed up the few belongings I had into two suitcases (plus a carry-on and a backup — of course), and moved into a room in a house in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood in northwest DC. Once settled in, I immediately went to work creating a life in the city and searching out adventure wherever I could find it.

My journey in DC has been a wild one. I’ve been fortunate enough to know some of the most incredible people in the world and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I won’t go naming names but you know who you are. We’ve had amazing adventures, ridiculous laughs and danced to the music in our hearts that spoke truth to who we are and hope to become.

“But here in DC, this is where I became a grown up. “

When I think of my time before DC, when I was in Texas, I think about the fact that I grew up there. But here in DC, this is where I became a grown up. This is where I learned to not only take care of myself but to take care of others. To live in the moment and to relish every second. It has been one amazing ride. From some of the lowest lows of my life to the highest highs. I wish I could thank everyone I’ve known here, from my closest friends to the front desk attendants who logged my packages and teased me about my too frequent UberEats deliveries and eventually became a face that made me feel at home. Whether you know it or not, you’ve changed me. You’ve left me a better person. You’ve helped me to learn and grow, and I will never be able to thank you enough.

“In many ways, this city was where I found myself.”

So farewell DC.  I’m sure we’ll meet again. This is not goodbye forever, it’s more of a “See you next time.”  You’ve been incredible and even when I hated you so much I just wanted to escape, I respected you and looking back, I am so grateful for you.  This city has inspired me enough for a lifetime. And as I look to my next adventure in sunny Los Angeles County, I know that I will never forget this amazing city, nor the incredible experiences I had here, and most importantly, the people who will forever be a part of my life.

I can’t forget you.  I won’t forget you. You are a part of who I am now, and I am better for it. In many ways, this city was where I found myself. And now, it’s time to turn the page and say goodbye to a place I’ve called home. Till next time chocolate city.

Yours truly,


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About the Author
Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of TheArtOfPersptive.co and lead storyteller with a focus on people, place and purpose. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo, groomed in Dallas, Texas, and cultivated in Washington, DC where he now resides. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. When Mariel is not in the office, he spends his free time in athletic pursuits from weightlifting to yoga, swimming, and martial arts.  He loves good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person. Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin .

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