Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Perks of Living in DC

One of the many perks of living in DC is that, if you look hard enough, you can find pretty much anything from any corner of the globe. (We're no New York, of course, but it's darn close.) It helps that most countries have embassies here, which means dinners, national holiday celebrations and more than a few summer festivals.

In preparation for my pending trip to Azerbaijan - the HMF and I found this exhibit to go to last night, at the US -Azeri Chamber of Commerce based in Washington, DC. It just so happens, randomly enough, that my company belongs to the USACC. I had heard about the exhibit through a work colleague of mine, who was on some listserv and passed it along. The paintings looked interesting, there was free food (which in DC, usually means free wine, too) and the confluence of my impending trip/USACC membership made me feel comfortable enough to try it out. I mean, why not take advantage of what DC has to offer?

So after work on Friday, we headed down to a little side street on Georgetown and into a tiny house claiming to the be surfiet home of expatriate Azeri business people in the US. The exhibit was small, but the paintings were beautiful in their application of paint, even if they were a bit too pink... The HMF and I milled around for a bit, nibbling on the free cheese and wine, but soon we felt a bit conspicuous- we were obviously not Azeri and there weren't a lot of people for us to hide behind.

Just as it was getting uncomfortably awkward, this young woman came over to us. First she found out I was heading to Azerbaijan (which made her very excited), then we discovered we were both formerly of Minnesota and after a bit more conversation, it was revealed my HMF knew her sister through an old colleague..! I tell ya, I can't bring that guy anywhere. He's the social equivalent of a lego - he's connected to everyone!

After chatting with Laila, who then introduced us around, things went a bit easier. I made some good contacts for my trip, learned a bit more about Azeri culture, a few good restaurants to try out while I'm there and - I'm not sure, but I think I got asked out on a date - for September. (When we are both in Baku, we get to know each other a bit better, yes?)

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and made me even more excited for my trip. Put to my HMF later, it was my 'bonus round' of work, but infinitely more fun. Here's to using the DC schmooze pool to my advantage!

M is for Manat,

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