One of the biggest concerns with new FSOs reporting to A-100 is where to live. As long as you’re coming from more than 50 miles from DC, the State Department offers a generous (at first) sliding scale per diem to let you find your own apartment. The other option is to move into one of the Oakwood corporate apartments. I’ve seen a lot of debate on message boards about which one is best, which one is most convenient and which one is most suitable for different families.
Well, I can’t help with all of that.
But, I can give an honest review of Oakwood – Rosslyn.
- It feels like a hotel, complete with generic artwork and fake plants.
- The kitchen equipment they give you is adequate, but not great.
- Our floors have carpet and we have a dog – enough said.
- Rosslyn is not the most exciting neighborhood – you could certainly find something hipper in Foggy Bottom, Georgetown or a number of other neighborhoods in DC proper.
- The building is one of the older corporate apartments in the area and in no way feels modern.
- It’s not as nice as some other buildings. Nothing major is wrong, but we’ve had a lot of minor difficulties since we moved in – some plugs don’t work, lack of lighting in the living room, cigarette butts all over the balcony when we arrived.
- It’s easy – no apartment hunting, no per diem reimbursements, no leases to worry about.
- There is a pool and there are grills.
- The housekeeper comes once a week to keep the place looking its best.
- While Rosslyn may not be hip, there is a grocery store and some restaurants – it could really be much worse. When I lived in Michigan I would have loved a neighborhood so walkable.
- The staff has been very helpful.
- Washer and dryer and dishwasher in every unit.
- We have a balcony, complete with plastic furniture.
- No utility bills to think about.
- Super-convenient to get to FSI – there are shuttles leaving very often in the morning and the stop is about three blocks away. Other Oakwoods have shuttles, but I think this is the only one within walking distance of a shuttle that leaves every 5-10 minutes.
- Occasionally there will be free dinner, like pizza, tacos, nachos and s’mores (yep, nachos and s’mores are dinner).
- Free, but kind of crummy, breakfast every morning.
- There is a common room with a huge TV and pool table.
- The biggest selling point, though, is that at least a dozen of Alex’s classmates live here in the building too. It gives you an instant social circle. One night, even though Alex wasn’t able to join me, I had dinner with three other people who live here – I wouldn’t have been able to do that if we lived in an awesome loft in Georgetown.
All in all, we’re happy here. Sure, sometimes we look longingly at the amazing lofts across the street and realize we could have afforded something like that in DC. And yes, sometimes we get a little tired of the dreary tan carpet which has clearly seen better days. Oh and I’ll admit that living in Rosslyn makes me feel a little bit like I’d imagine someone in New Jersey must feel when they look out at Manhattan every morning. But the convenience more than makes up for it. Although you can bet that the next time we live in Washington we’ll be strongly considering the Residence Inn down the street. I heard they have free breakfast and lunch.