Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sightseeing- Party of One

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." — Alan Alda

Bundled for the 20 degree weather!
       So I've slowly come to the realization that this will be the trip of selfsies. I'm not kidding.
      This past week I've done so much sightseeing and became a lot more comfortable with the area. I would say the biggest adjustment has been doing all the sightseeing on my own. While groups of friends are walking by the Capitol taking fun pictures of each other.... there's Nicole taking a selfy with the Capitol in the background. Then I get through security and up to the visitor's entrance and the women goes, "How many passes do you need? Two?" ..... nope...just 1. And everyone from the tour group files into the the big theater for the movie at the beginning of our tour, and I look around...yup...only party of 1, here!

The Falls

      The freedom has been really nice, though. I was bored one afternoon this week, so I decided to drive to Great Falls National Park in Virginia for a few hours. It was FREEZING outside, so I bundled up in all my layers and brought my camera along. I had a great talk with the old park ranger about all the best places to visit in DC and about the history of the falls.  Since it was so freezing I didn't get to explore too far, but I can't wait to go back once it gets nicer outside. The roads on the way there would be beautiful in the Spring. So many trees and hills! Here's a few pictures from the Falls:

Along one of the hiking trails in the park


     On Wednesday of this week I rode the metro downtown and did the basic sightseeing. I explored Union Station first, which is the metro stop that I will be riding into everyday. It's GORGEOUS. All the buildings in DC are so grand and beautiful. Inside Union Stations there's basically an entire mall- Express, Victoria's Secret, Jamba Juice, and so much more. 
Union Station
   Union Station is only a few blocks away from the Capitol building, so I made my way towards the heart of DC. At first I was so taken aback by the security guards. I of course knew there would be high security all around the Capitol, but these guards stood with their HUGE guns out in their hands on every corner of the building. After going through airport-like security I was able to go in a tour the Capitol. It was awesome to go inside and walk through the places Obama was just walking through for the inauguration. After the Capitol, I made my way over the one of the buildings in the Library of Congress to look around for a bit. The insides of all the buildings were so nice. 
US Capitol
     Then, I made a quick stop in the Botanic Gardens before ending the day in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, which was AWESOME. James would be in heaven if he went there!! I got to see the Wright Brother's first plane and learn more about their background. I definitely have plans to go back there because there was so much to see. 
     My internship starts on Monday, so I'm so ready to get started and have a set schedule. This has been the longest academic break of my life, and I'm ready to get back to being productive! I found out 3 other Mizzou students are interning at CNN this semester, so at least I'll recognize a few faces! So far I know I have orientation all day on Monday, then my boss signed me up for special training courses all day Tuesday. I'll definitely post about my first week on the job :) 
Rotunda of the Capitol
Ceiling in the Rotunda
Botanic Garden in DC- "The Jungle"

They have mini replicas of the major Washington buildings at the garden
Wright Brother's first plane

 And yes, I spared you all the many selfsies I took in front of all these places. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

First Impressions of D.C.

 "Be Strong, and let your heart take courage." Psalm 31:24

       These past few days have been so overwhelming. I can't even image how my friends feel who are studying abroad or are in countries that speak a different language! I'm still in the United States, and I already have to do so much adjusting. It's so crazy that the culture can be so different in places that are only hours away from each other. Needless to say, Bethesda and Washington D.C. are much, much different than Columbia, Missouri. I don't think I'll see ANY camouflage jackets and pajama pants when I walk into the grocery store here. In fact, we went to the nice area of town where Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Jimmy Choo are all right next to each other, and you need a ticket to even get into the parking lot. Also, we went into the nicest Target I've ever seen in my entire life last night. It had it's own parking garage and was two floors with escalators for your carts to go up like IKEA in Chicago! 

Trip to D.C.

     After a long 9 hours of driving on Friday (which I drove all of), my mom and I stopped in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the night to stay with our good friends from Georgia. Pittsburgh is so hilly and has the cutest houses! It was so nice to stop and catch up with our old friends. It had been 5 years since we last were at their house, but it was like nothing changed. We told stories from when we were kids and growing up with all our best friends living next door to each other on the same block in Georgia and all the crazy things we would do for fun. It's so nice to have kept in touch with all of them still, especially since we are all so spread out now. I think that really made me so comfortable with traveling alone since I started flying alone at such a young age to keep in touch with all my best friends. I'm beyond excited to have my best friend from Georgia, Jennifer, only an hour and a half away this semester at the University of Delaware! It makes me really appreciate all the friendships I've kept over the years, regardless of the distance between us now.
Tunnel through mountains


      I'm living in a cute house with some family friends in Bethesda, MD, which is about 25 minutes north of downtown D.C. It's a great set up at the house. It's split level, so I pretty much have the bottom floor area as my space which has a family room with a couch and TV along with my own bathroom and bedroom. The couple I'm staying with, Gaylen and Tom, have lived here for years, and grew up in D.C., so they pretty much know everything there is to know and are really helpful with random information. Tom was a college basketball referee for 35 years (And had the opportunity to ref the sweet sixteen before) and knows one of the best high school softball pitchers in the country who just committed to Mizzou for next year. His words of wisdom to me were to always trust yourself because you're the one that has to live with your choices in life. Gaylen is in real estate, so she knows the area really well and loves history so knows all the random facts. Dinner the first night while my mom was here completely reminded me of the family dinners in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei and Rory sit at the dining table lit with candles and listen to everything Richard and Emily have to talk about. (Teddy and Emily will appreciate this reference) They also have a 4lb chihuahua....whose name is poop. Over the past 2 days poop has warmed up to me, so I can't wait for it to get nice out so I can take him on walks around the block. They are really sweet for letting me stay with them, and her only request is that I "write a chapter in my future memoir about the nice, old couple that took me in." (The dentist also said this to me, so I guess I should start writing.....)

The family room area right outside my bedroom 


       I've never really considered myself a city girl, but looks like I'm definitely going to have to adjust to it. The metro system here is really nice and easy to figure out. The trains leave around every 3 minutes compared to the trains that leave every hour going into Chicago so if you miss it you're screwed. 
One of the Metro stations
       I practiced driving to the metro station and taking the 25-minute ride into Union Station downtown. The only downside is there's no cell service since it's underground, so each time the train stops you have to try to hurry and resend all your message and your phone buzzes quickly with all the messages you missed. The walk to CNN is only a few minutes from Union station, and there was a police officer on almost every corner, so I felt safe. We got to walk by the Capitol building and take some pictures. Everything was all set up for inauguration, so it was really cool to see everything on TV today all filled up, since we saw it when it was completely empty. I have a week before my internship starts, so I'm going to use it to get all my sightseeing done and to check out the area. I have a tour booked of the Capitol for Wednesday, and I also want to see the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, too. It's so weird to be completely on my own. In one way it's good, because I literally have the freedom to decide what I want to do everyday and don't need to worry about any other plans, but it's also weird to see and do everything by myself. So I'm definitely excited for this week to go exploring and see all the major landmarks and hopefully become a little more accustomed to using the metro everyday. I'm glad everything is now organized and in place, I just need to adjust and embrace everything DC has to offer! 

Here's some photos I took these past few days: 
High security everywhere
Outside the Capitol

New workplace!

Everything set up for inauguration!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bags are packed!- New Beginnings

       The past few days have been full of goodbyes, shopping, packing and more packing. I honestly never want to step foot in another store again after the amount of shopping I've done this week! I think I'm finally prepared with everything I'll need this semester, and I somehow managed to fit it all into 3 suitcases- which is a miracle.
My room went from being a complete disaster to looking like I never even lived in it for the past month. (Photo evidence)
      I finally organized all my broadcast notes into one little notebook, so I can use it as a reference during my internship, and all my paper work is officially signed. (Mizzou B2ers- I have an awesome KOMU checklist sheet that will save your life!)
      I downloaded the "Embark DC" app, which is apparently really helpful for finding out times for all the public transportation.
     My mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning and driving all the way to Pittsburgh to stay with some family friends for the night, then finishing the last 4 hours to Bethesda on Saturday morning. The weather in DC looks great- definitely beats the freezing Lake Zurich weather. My mom is staying until Monday to explore and help me get settled in.
      Monday is the Inauguration, so the city will be packed. I'm excited to be in DC during such an important time, and hopefully I can do some exploring that day to get a feel for what it's like. Once I get to DC, I'll have a week before my orientation starts, so I plan on mastering the public transportation and my route to work and doing some sightseeing since I've never been to DC before! I definitely want to blog a lot about my experiences at CNN, because I know I'll be learning a lot of valuable lessons.
     I'm really excited to give this opportunity my all. It's the perfect time to explore and soak up knowledge and experiences that will help define who I am as a person. I'm so lucky to have such great friends and family and a boyfriend who always takes care of me and looks out for me, so I think this experience on my own will really be eye-opening. I've set a lot of goals for myself, and I plan to stick to them and experience everything DC has to offer. Time for a road trip!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Unexpected Adventures

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."

                                                                                       — Jawaharial Nehru

2012 was the year I completely opened my eyes to adventure. Now that we've brought in the new year, I've been able to think back and reflect on what this past year meant to me and everything I've learned. I've definitely grown up a lot, and that's started me on my journey to the person I want to become. Whether it's been flying to new places to explore them or the lessons I've learned in my journalism classes at school, I can feel myself going down the path that I want to be on.

One of my highlights of 2012 was traveling to Denver, Colorado for a weekend with my boyfriend, James. James has just as much passion for adventure as myself, and we feed off each other's creative energy when it comes to photography and filming. I viewed it much more as an adventure with my best friend rather than a vacation with my boyfriend. Before we left, we both agreed to document our trip using only our new iPhone 5s. Once we realized we both had very different visions of the final project, we decided to both make our own. It's great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other for cool shots and share your ideas with someone who has a great visual eye. The weekend was completely spontaneous. We booked the plane tickets a month or so in advanced, but that was the extent of the planning. We made a brief outline of public transportation and some things we wanted to see before we got there, but it truly was an adventure. We decided at the last minute to rent a car and head to the mountains for our last day there, and I'm so happy we did. I've said it a million times, but if you never take the time to go out and explore and experience, you'll never know what you're missing. Driving through the mountains was beyond beautiful and something I would have never seen if we hadn't made that last minute decision. There's so many different adventures to go on in life, and my biggest fear is I won't have time to see them all!

Denver, Colorado from Nicole Krasavage on Vimeo.

2013 is going to be another huge growing year for me of new experiences. In a little over two weeks, I'm moving to Washington D.C. to be the Investigative Intern for CNN for the entire semester. This internship is truly a dream come true, and I'm ready to give it my all to soak up all the knowledge I can while I'm there. It's hard to believe that after this semester, I'll just have senior year before I'm out on my first job. I'm running out of credits to take the classes I want and time to experience the adventures I want to have before I graduate Mizzou. My goal for 2013 are the make the most of every situation I am put in. I'm so excited to get out to D.C. and give this internship 110%! I'll definitely be blogging more and sharing my experiences, so make sure you check back! Happy New Year, everyone :)