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