I walk into my first day of work and feel the breath leave my body. I am in absolute awe of the building that I will be calling home for the next few work weeks. The United States Capitol is the seat of freedom. It is the place where the crazy experiment of democracy was conducted (and continues to be), much to the shock of the entire world. George Washington is noted as saying "I give it twenty years" when referring to the idea of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And yet, here I stand 229 years later, walking past statues and portraits of the great men and women who changed the course of history forever. I assumed that the shock of where I am would quickly wear off (unfortunately it always does) but not this time. This time I feel a surge of pride every time I walk down the halls. I feel humbled to stand where men and women fought tooth and nail to shatter glass ceilings and create a whole new way of life. I feel grateful for the sacrifices made that I could never imagine. I feel awe as I look upon the rotunda. I feel small as I listen to the deep intellectual conversations and debates that happen up and down the hallowed halls and behind the tightly shut wooden doors. I feel...blessed.
While DC has been an exciting experience I have also learned some pretty fun and important things the first week here...so here are my top 12:
1. The Washington Monument and the Capitol Building are incredibly large buildings. Because of their immense size they look very close together and like a nice Sunday walk....this is a lie. They are actually 1.8 miles apart.
2. Georgetown cupcakes is absolutely worth waiting in line and paying $6 for one delicious bite. Honestly, it taste like a piece of heaven fell to earth.
3. Taking one art appreciation class in college does not help you be an informed visitor to the national art gallery but it is still worth the visit. It makes you feel very sophisticated and you do not need a degree to appreciate beauty.
4. Until the Reagan administration inauguration always happened on the East terrace but Reagan insisted facing his home state of California. It has been on the west terrace ever since.
5. You can literally meet people on Sunday and feel like best friends by Monday if they are as amazing as my roommate/hallway mate. Kindred souls are all over the world if you are willing to open up and put yourself out there. You never know who you could meet and you will regret it your whole life if you do not try. There is literally nothing like connecting with someone you wouldn't have met if you didn't step way out of your comfort zone.
6. When you map quest the White House it will take you to the Department of Treasury...do not be deceived.
7. DC will make you want to read every autobiography you can get your hands on about the founding fathers, supreme court, and president.
8. No one likes obnoxiously loud people on the metro...shut up boo-boo it is not cute.
9. Chinese take out is literally an interns best friend.
10. Who needs sleep when you have strong coffee?
11. According to a very reliable source if you lick the Washington Monument it taste salty.
12. Just because you made yourself a shopping list does not mean you will remember everything the first time, expect multiple metro rides and funny looks.
13. Most people you meet are willing to help if you are respectful and just ask. When you as a D.C. native about their city they love to show it off.
14. You cannot watch one news station and honestly believe you know the truth in any situation.
15. Do not be afraid to challenge what you think you know; even if you do not change your mind you end up strengthening your beliefs.
16. When you get lost in the city just look up....all roads (and some sketchy allies) lead to the Capitol.
17. There is nothing in the world like forcing yourself to move to a new city where you know no one, get a new job you have never done, and be a strong person you've never truly had to be.
My D.C. adventure is just getting started but I literally would not trade this for anything in the entire world....stick with me and I promise to fill you in on fun stories, great eats, and fun adventures.
"To make living itself an art, that is the goal"