My mind wandered as I looked out the window on the way to DC today. Trees and highway were all I saw for six hours. Nervous? Not yet...it all seemed so surreal in the car. I am an adult (according to the law I have been for 4 years) there is no denying it now. But snuggled down in the backseat of the car and listening to my parents talk about summer plans I feel like a teenager again. As we pull up to the hotel my parents will be staying at for the evening I feel like someone hit me in the stomach...I am suddenly terrified. We get on the metro and head towards downtown looking for my new apartment, and home, for the next two months. Finally finding the building, we lug all three suitcases upstairs (since the elevator is out of course) and begin unpacking. When we finish it does look like I actually live here, kind of. My bowl made by my precious friend holds my make up, my pillows and blankets are on the bed, and that is the laptop I have written countless papers on but something feels off...different...foreign. This is completely different from any experience I have ever had. I am legitimately on my own for the first time in my entire life and I am so unprepared. Sure, I have spent the last four summers working at various places but I was accountable to someone, someone had my itinerary spelt out, but here I am literally on my own. I can already tell my mom is starting to get antsy about leaving me here. When she looks my way she sees the bouncing little girl with pig tails and skinned up knees; not the sassy adult who lives on her own and is entering the real world. Tears form in her eyes and I see them in the mirror of mine. Where did my childhood go? When did all of this (apartments, metros, and adult jobs) become my reality? Part of me wants to be little again but the bigger (and louder) part of me is so excited for this next adventure I cannot stand it!
I have longed for this adventure for years. I am always scheming, pinning, reading, researching, hoping, saving, and longing to travel. I long to see the world, to taste new coffees in far off shops, to meet new people, learn new languages, eat exotic foods, walk down streets completely new to my senses and this is my chance! I throw some things into a drawer and see the look of confusion on my dads face (that would have been neatly folded if it were him) and then announce I am starving...honestly I just need to get out of this little box....and away from that refrigerator because it is making the worst sound I have ever heard (I did not break that it was already making weird sounds when I got here!).
As soon as I walk out the door I can see the Supreme Court building which is an absolute dream come true. I walk out of the anxiety that surrounded me in my apartment and into a surreal realm where the modern world collides with precious history. DC is like a world all of its own. As I walk towards the Capital the countless men and women who have walked this path before me, who have paved the way, shattered the glass ceilings and laid the stones of the history that I cherish all comes to life before my very eyes. We take a few pictures and then find a place to settle down and eat.
SIDE NOTE: If you are ever in the DC area and need a good place to eat head down Pennsylvania avenue and stop by a restaurant called Bull Feathers... BEST GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH EVER! Decent prices for a great location right down the road (less than a block) from the capital. Delicious food, fun atmosphere and you never know who might walk in. A nice family sit down that I would give two thumbs up. Our waiter was incredibly friendly and offered awesome suggestions on running trails and places to get groceries for the weekend.
The dinner is coming to a close and I look at the two people who have given me more than anyone else ever could. Love and support, of course, but I look at my mom and see my cheeks and eyes looking back. I hear my laughter coming out of her mouth. I look over at my dad and see the embodiment of my fierce determination, stubborn will, and quick wit. These two people make up the best parts of who I am and I am so blessed. Suddenly I feel myself relaxing because I know everything will be alright...I am their daughter, after all.
Now I am back at my apartment. My parents are gone and my roommates have not moved in yet. It is eerily quite and I have the TV on for sheer noise. I am an adult, this is an amazing opportunity, I can do this! But, I will definitely be pulling my baby blankie a little closer tonight. But, there is no turning back now, the adventure has begun and I am along for the ride no matter what so: big girl pants on, head down and plunge ahead.