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!

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