thing this place has to offer: the extraordinary selection in our grocery stores (does fruit here have no seasons? are so many choices in salad dressing honestly possible?), the outdoor cafes, and the ability to walk around freely without worrying about where the nearest hardened cover is. After two years trapped on compounds and small bases, being able to walk around is an indescribable luxury. It's good to be home.
I spend a lot of time outside. I celebrated my grand return from Afghanistan by biking from Denver to DC, a trip that left me with an irreparable fingerless glove tan and a deep and abiding hatred for Kansas. I'm a slow runner and a slower cyclist, but I sign up for races all the time; I have a thing for free t-shirts. I came in dead last in the swim in my first triathlon and nearly came in last in my first marathon but was beaten to it by a 76 year old -- losing isn't easy, but somebody's gotta do it.
I hate the gym but spend a lot of time there, a habit reinforced by two years in Afghanistan where there was nothing else to do. I also spend a lot of time sitting in the park drinking cheap sangria made from boxed wine, so I guess it all balances out in the end.
One of the things I missed most while in the desert -- aside from salads and Thai food, both of which I missed desperately -- was last minute, off-the-cuff dates with strangers. This city is filling up with happy hours. Let's go get a beer.