Monday, February 20, 2012

Halfway There Already!

Wow.  This weekend it really hit me.  I'm about halfway through my time in DC.  There are exactly two months left.  It has gone pretty fast, but I got hit with some homesickness this week because it has been so long.  It didn't help that I had a pretty stressful week and didn't get a chance to talk to my mom for about 5 days, which is probably the longest we've ever gone without talking.  This week was pretty crazy with ups and downs, and I think the stress of this whole situation is finally getting to me a bit.  I cannot wait until the two weekends in March when I will have visitors.  I think that will definitely lift my spirits again.  I'm just trying to stay positive and enjoy every moment.

On a weird side note, I really miss driving my car and singing along to my music, too.  I just realized I really haven't been listening to any music here since I usually do that when in the car or working out.  It is so weird!  I need my music to relax.

A highlight of my work week was that I actually met Clyburn for the first time.  I've seen him around before but never had the chance to officially introduce myself so that was good.  I've been working in the Capitol office more lately so hopefully I will get more interaction with him and the communications director.  I hope to get some PR work soon and make the most of the rest of my time here at work getting some good experience.

A peek inside of our Capitol office
On Wednesday, I got to judge the "We The People" competition at Chavez Prep Middle School here in DC.  The students had to prepare little speeches on different aspects of government like "why is voting important?" and "what would happen if there was no civic participation in government?"  The speech and debate nerd inside of me was so excited to help these kids.  It was a neat little excursion from work.

I also (sort of) went to a committee hearing this week that ended up being big news.  It was the Oversight and Government Reform committee's hearing on "Religious Freedom" or "Obama and Separation of Church and State," but it ended up being more of a hearing on the whole contraception issue that has been going on lately.  It was on the news a lot because there were no women on the panel, which was pretty crazy since it was a discussion about contraception.  It was pretty fiery in the beginning with the Democrats and Republicans going at it about who is credible to be a witness at a hearing and why some people didn't qualify that the Dems submitted.  I didn't get there in time to actually sit in the committee room and a lot of the seats were reserved anyway, so I watched it on a TV in an overflow room.  I wish I had gotten there earlier and I maybe could have gotten a seat and been on national news!  I had no idea the hearing was going to be such a big deal.

On Saturday, I went shopping with my roommate in Friendship Heights.  It is a really nice, ritzy area.  It was the first time I was in a Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, or Anthropologie.  I got some cute shirts at Nordstrom Rack and got some good exercise in with all the walking.  It was a really nice day out, and it was fun just to do some looking and window shopping.

Sunday was another museum day!  I went to the National Museum of the American Indian.  I had heard the Mitsitam Cafe there was a great place to eat from a few people so I made sure to go at lunchtime.  I had an "Indian Taco" which was chili, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce on fry bread.  It was very good, but a bit pricey.  Then I toured the museum.  This wasn't a museum that was top on my list of things to do, but I must say all of the smithsonians are just so well done.  The design of the building and all of the displays is really neat to admire, even if you're not that interested in the content.  The building itself is kind of wavy on the outside, and the displays are shaped similarly.  Afterwards, I decided to go through the United States Botanic Garden and Conservatory since it was right next door.  Obviously since it is winter, the garden wasn't too much to see, but I will definitely have to go back in the spring.  The conservatory was really neat.  They had a big display of different kinds of orchids.  I got some cool pictures there.
National Museum of the American Indian
Indian dress
U.S. Conservatory
Beautiful white orchid!
Purple orchid
Since all federal buildings are closed on President's Day, this was a three day weekend for me, and I had an extra day to explore.  It was nice, and I didn't feel bad that I just stayed in all today working on some schoolwork, playing my uke, and catching up on my TV shows.

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