GREETINGS ONCE AGAIN FROM THE NATION’S CAPITAL!
This has been a crazy week… A lot going on around the city, and a lot going on around globe, and being in DC in such times calls for a lot of exploring of the city. But first up a couple of key notes of living in the city:
Commute My commute is about a half hour, which is great, especially considering the fact that I’m not driving–I’m reading or aimlessly people watching on the metro (which is fun in the morning but exponentially more so if you stay up late enough to enter the twilight zone during the weekends). Sightseeing or even just seeing your friends is made easy by effective public transportation so you can look forward to that as well.
Programming My main gripe with the programming is there are too many options. It was much easier when your third grade teacher would just walk you through the zoo exhibits but those days are over. My advisor sends me emails with tour, job, or volunteer opportunities at least twice a week. With each email my head swims a little more, wondering when time will slow down so I can see and do everything that appeals to me… It really is an exercise planning which is something we are all supposed to have perfected by time we have graduated college…ha.
Social Life Socially, Washington D.C. is my small college gone Barry Bonds (the defense lawyer in me would like to add the stipulation that Barry is only “accused” of using steroids and having a head size that expanded like a hot air balloon). There are an incredible amount of young people and places to get together. It also doesn’t hurt that you live in a giant apartment building with other “Washington Center Interns,” and have several scheduled social events. I personally have capitalized on playing Wii and it has transformed myself from an embarrassingly bad player to one that can say things like “I really suck at this game”
Observations of the week:
Here is an incredibly random list of things that I have learned/observed since moving here:
1) One actually can get used to walking past the White House and/or Capitol daily. I never would have thought about it, but it is true. Although I always marvel at their beauty and am often reminded of their importance, the awe has worn off.
2) A LOT of people in DC, mostly of the homeless persuasion (but definitely not all), talk to themselves. Out loud. Walking down the street on a daily basis I pass someone having an in-depth conversation–with themselves. Conversations that make you think, “oh, they must be on a blue-tooth,” but once you look closely, It is most obvious that there is no blue-tooth in their ear or phone in their hand. Singing out-loud, is also a common practice on the streets of the District.
3) When someone says that it “is just a short walk” they do not mean it. DC has re-defined the term “short walk” for me. The term now means any walk under three miles, but most definitely nothing under one mile. Under a mile is called, “a couple blocks.” Needless to say, we don’t go on any long-walks.
4) Where I come from, the “thugs” wear baggy jeans, oversized t-shirts, flat bill hats, and maybe and earring. In Washington, the “thugs” wear skinny jeans, women’s tops, and lip-gloss. No joke. I actually saw a dude walking recently dressed completely like a man, but wearing lip-gloss and hoop earrings.
5) Over half of the people here have no clue what RU is. Or what other vitally important acronyms like BCS or ESPN means
6) The buildings in DC cannot be any taller than the street upon which they are located is wide. Therefore, no skyscrapers.
7) Don’t say “y’all” on a business call. Unless you want your whole office to have entertainment for a solid hour.
8) Washington DC is just like any other city. Big statement, I know. But it’s true. The people aren’t any meaner, the food tastes just the same, relationships are built the same ways. This came as a huge relief to me. I have found great community and making life-long friendships here.
The Washington Center
By this point, we have been exposed to some of The Washington Center’s programming activities, assignments, and Presidential Lecture Series. Every other week or so, TWC interns must submit professional reflections to their program supervisor. The purpose of the professional reflections is implied in the name, but they are a surprisingly useful opportunity for interns to meditate on their progress thus far in DC and their goals and aspirations while working here. We had to submit a rough draft of our Individual Development Plan, which is a personal reflection on our strengths and weaknesses in five areas: academic development, professional development, civic engagement, leadership, and personal growth. I approached the assignment with a certain disdain and hesitancy towards completing it, but soon found myself actually thinking about what I wanted professionally out of the internship and how I wanted to better myself personally while in Washington.
The Presidential Lecture Series is put on by the Washington Center for all interns, and features discussions on various topics with panels of politicians, corporations, business leaders, community activists and varying other individuals discussing a various topics.
Last Week’s Schedule starting from the weekend:
This past weekend, I was very fortunate to have my brother and friends come down for the day. Andrew Andrawis, Chrissy Soliman, Moniqua Dee, and Sarah Nashed joined my brother and I at St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Fairfax, VA, to attend Fr. Anthony Messeh’s Light and Life meeting. After the meeting, they all came to my place for a bit before heading out exploring the city. We first went to the White House, then on a mission. THE MISSION WAS TO FIND ONE, ONLY ONE OPEN STARBUCKS OR COSI IN WASHINGTON DC. AFTER A GOOD 1.5 OF WALKING WE FINALLY FOUND A STARBUCKS that was right about to close. Mind you this was around 5:00PM! After eating, and Queen Moniqua getting her dose of caffeine, they headed home, and I returned to my apartment.
I spent my Saturday doing busy work for my program, online class, and work. But around 1:30, I headed out to the Egyptian Embassy to take part in history. I attended the protests supporting the movement that my fellow Egyptians has been taking on the streets of Egypt. Must admit, things did get a bit out of hand, but it was a beautiful seeing the unity among a country that has not seen unity in 30 years. Later on that evening, I met up with my friend George Phillips for dinner, and met another nice person from Baltimore, who was with George at the time.
Nothing too exciting happens during the work week, so stay tuned for next week!