Arrived, Alive, and Swell

Hello Family and Friends,

Today is my third evening (but second day) in this fine city of Washington, D.C. I am officially unpacked in my apartment. I still have a few drawers to organize and tidy, but the important things — shoes and clothes — are lined up like the marine barracks down the street (oh yes, I’ve noticed those shoulders, I mean, soldiers).

I’VE EVEN GONE GROCERY SHOPPING. Yes folks, you heard that right. I bought honey, frozen chicken, salt and pepper, apples, and even butter. Whipped butter.

Today I strolled the broad city streets on a “scavenger hunt,” which is much less of a hunt and more of a street-familiarizing process. I have strolled past Capitol Hill on multiple occasions. It really is as big and grand as it looks on TV. I took several pictures of it lit up at night.

I also got my library card to the Library of Congress! My photo looks like a manic killer. Even my group was afraid of my chain-saw-massacre grin. I may post a picture when I’m less scared of myself. Regardless, I’m very excited to peruse the foreign policy section.

The weather here is hot and humid and sticky. I only wear clothes because I signed a community covenant. Just kidding. It’s actually quite lovely once you adjust to the I’m-not-sweating-but-it-feels-like-I-am feeling.

One aspect of the program so far is this emphasis on Washington and D.C. “Washington” is the business-suit, federal, governmental, political, bureaucratic, I-can-do-it-best image of this area. It’s the side that I’ll be interning at. “DC”, however, is all about the “Washin’tonians” who have been born and raised here in the city. DC has one of the largest minority populations in America. The immigrant population in DC is the best educated in America; 51% hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. Additionally, it has the largest African-American population in America.

The city buzzes with politics. In Vancouver, one might walk by and overhear a commuter complaining about the rain, the sky train, the rain, the Canucks, the rain, their boss, the rain, their hair, the rain, or their wet shoes. Today, I walked by and overheard two strangers in line for a bus debating policy over Iran. It was awesome. It was also one of those moments when I said, “I will write about this on my blog and nobody else will care, but they will smile and pretend because they love me.” And then I said, “If I loved them, I wouldn’t write about this.” Then I laughed manically and put away my library card.

Well, it’s 12:15 here and I have to get up in 8 hours. We have the next part of our scavenger hunt coming. I will post some pictures soon. I actually haven’t taken any one my nice camera yet!! We’re supposed to try “blending in” and “become one with the neighborhood” this week. …as if the maps, sandals, wide-eyed stare, and “ooh, look at that balcony! Is that an embassy or an apartment?” didn’t mark me as a tourist.

Until I get some REAL photos, here’s one I snapped on my phone (it’s edited, of course).

Two and a Half Dorms walking to Capitol Hill on our first evening.

Much love,

Emily

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