Somehow, and I don’t know how entirely, it’s been two and a half weeks since I arrived in the US. In a bizarre turn of events, I’ve rarely been at my computer, except when at the office, and thus have been entirely woeful about sharing news of our adventures.
And adventurous they are. Today, I was supposed to my friend Jonathan after work finished. It’s the first day of the session of Congress, and there was a vote on, so we were forbidden from using the magical tunnels that connect all the buildings (they keep us from needing a coat). When votes are on, the tunnels are only for the members. So instead, I walked outside, across the courtyard, and into the Capitol. I was to meet Jonathan in Statuary Hall, which is where Congress met for a good number of years a long, long time. It’s amazing, because the room has certain echo spots, so if you’re there alone, you get to try it out. You can whisper on one side of the room, and people positioned in a certain spot on the other side of the room can hear. There are plaques on the floor where former presidents’ desks were. I was running a bit late, though, and Jonathan walked into the next room to meet me. There we were, under the dome of the Capitol building. It was amazing. I’ve been there a few times now, but being there at night, when it was almost totally deserted and closed to the public was surreal.
We then went down a set of tiny abandoned stairs, and through the crypt (yes, it’s really called that), and down hallways, and through security, and up an escalator, and through more security (or, at least, that’s how it seemed), and then through a door, and into the gallery of the house. There below us were our respective congressmen, and Nancy Pelosi, and Dennis Kuchinich and all sorts of other people well recognised and kind-of-recognised. Sadly, Aaron Schock was a no-show.
So yes, it’s been exciting. The office itself isn’t always thrilling- I’m doing lots of data entry- but I’m learning lots, and occasionally something happens that is just wonderful- I’ve been able to write a few things, which has been great.
Non-internship things are going well too. After one day of DC site-seeing, we went to New York City for a couple of days ahead of NYE, and were staying in Times Square, so we got the whole experience, and didn’t even have to wait outside for 6 hours. When I was in Central Park, I found a wallet, opened it up, and discovered it belonged to a fellow Australian, so we had quite an adventure tracking him down (He didn’t have a Facebook page, which made it challenging, but his parents were listed in the White Pages, so Mum helped out, and we got in touch). We wandered up 5th Avenue, had yoghurt on the Met steps, went on an NBC tour (and bought LOTS of Chuck stuff). I spent a wonderful, snowy morning with family friends in New Jersey, taking the train out and back. I also went to the Central Park Zoo, and saw the Penguins, which feature in many a dodgy chic lit novel, but in real life, they smelled really, really bad.
We took the bus back to DC on New Year’s Day, and the internship started the following Monday.
Some other things that may or may not be great:
1. I live next door to a mall. Seriously. A BIG mall. With a Norstrom and a Gap and a Benetton and a Macys. You may think this is good, but really, considering my bank balance, it is very, very bad.
2. American food is GIANT. Seriously, the servings are enormous and very, very cheap. And American Sprite, in its corn-syrup-laden goodness, is just so yummy. This is all Not Very Good for my waistline.
3. It is COLD. Like, really cold. We’re lucky when it gets above freezing. We’ve had a few little bits of snow, but no good downfalls yet. We’re getting acclimatized (I don’t even wear a scarf anymore!!), but seriously, to borrow my friend Naomi’s phrase, it’s so cold it hurts to wear pants. I do love the cold, but it gets a little tiresome, wearing quite that much clothing.
So that’s what’s going on… more news soon ( I hope…)