At home in this strange and humid land

One month ago, I boarded a plane and flew to a strange and humid land called Washington D.C. Within 48 hours of my arrival, I ran to the Capitol Building, ate cupcakes, and lived through my first hurricane. The next four weeks got even more exciting…and, let’s face it, a hurricane is pretty hard to top.

I panicked when I discovered that I didn’t have an internship – would I be the first WJCer in the history of the program to go without an internship? And then by God’s grace I landed at internship at the Washington Post. I never imagined I would ever intern there – not even years down the road after my career developed; needless to say, I feel like I skipped a few steps somewhere between my bylines in The Falcon and my first byline in the Post.

This is my Washington Post identification card - I'm like a real reporter. I scan it to get into the building and the security guards don't accost me.

I finally found a church I love attending. I haven’t missed a Sunday yet. Too bad it’s across the country from my permanent residence.

I made new friends. With them, I have eaten a lot more cupcakes than I’d like to admit.
I biked downtown, to the White House, and to the Lincoln Memorial on a perfect, clear night. I picnicked on the National Mall in the sunset. I developed an on-again-off-again southern accent that emerges in the presence of friends from the South. I have also analyzed accents with midwesterners, northerners, and Californians; the word is pronounced “bag,” not “bayg,” my friends.

”]And, speaking of friends, I tried to build a pyramid with some of them…attempt 1 did not go as planned. But we caught it on camera!

The ladies of the Penthouse (Apartments 8 and 9) - we were obviously not meant to be architects.

I went to a journalist’s heaven at the Newseum on Sept. 11. I saw the original front page of the New York Times on the day the Supreme Court delivered the Pentagon Papers ruling. For one brief second, I considered starting work on my honors project research. I promptly put the thought out of my mind, in case you were wondering.

Front page. New York Times. Pentagon Papers ruling. Notice the manic, slightly crazed look that says, "I am already plotting how to steal this..."

I discovered my affinity for 7-11 coffee…the really big size.

Starbucks isn't close, so I get my "legal stimulants" from the next best place nowadays.

I ran the entire length of the National Mall, from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. This was my goal for the semester, the run I wanted to accomplish by December. I did it on Saturday morning. What other goals will I accomplish before I leave? What other things will I do that I can’t even begin to imagine right now?

On the one hand, it feels like I have been here forever, and I get homesick at the oddest times of day, when I least expect the feeling to bubble up inside me. But then I realize that this is home to me now, too. I have my “regular” spots. I have my routines. I can give directions to tourists. That makes me a resident here in this strange and humid land. And then I realize how much I still don’t know about what makes this city great. I worry about how fast my time is going, and I feel as if I will never have enough time to experience everything before December. I’m learning that balance is hard to find and even harder to maintain.

Naturally (naively), when I arrived, I thought I had everything planned out; I realize now that I had no idea what to expect that plane landed. I thought I was coming to the nation’s capitol to learn about journalism; I’m learning more about myself instead.

Here’s to two more months that are better than the first.


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