Monday, July 11, 2011

Hellooooo Dalai!

Lama, that is. And I have to give my Paw-Paw credit for today's post title :) I promise faithful readers that DC has not addled my already awful spelling skills. But it has been an INCREDIBLY busy two weeks, hence no posts. :( But now, I have plenty to report!

Fourth of July was a weekend of FAMILY time! Yes, the McDonalds did indeed the District! The weekend was spent enjoying Old Town Alexandria, the Potomac River, the Archives, and Mount Vernon! We spent the actual day of the Fourth celebrating America in the most American way possible, at the Washington Nationals Game! I wish we could have done so much more, but time beat us this time!

As work has settled back into a routine, I have moved on to a new project, and I am now working with an author on her work on Mary Pickford. For those of you who don't know (and I included myself in the group until about Wednesday), Mary Pickford is considered the first American movie star. So, I have needless to say, I have been working incredibly hard the past few days...if you count watching a lot of her old silent movies for an entire day. But in all truthfulness, this has been the most exciting and most enjoyable project thus far. Just imagine that you are immersing yourself in a 1910s version of E!Online. If that makes any sense.

This past weekend, I got to finally partake in the coolest event in DC thus far. The Dalai Lama was in town for the past week, lecturing leaders of Congress, as well as holding a conference for Buddhist-American followers. He put on a World Peace Talk on the West Capitol Lawn.

Whoopi Goldberg was the emcc. And once again, I promise DC hasn't made me crazy, she really was there! She was on her best behavior, no crazy stuff. His Holiness did give a good speech on world peace, and how we as individuals can attain inner peace and project it to those around us.

But...I am not going to lie. It was incredibly difficult to concentrate on his message. I spent the majority of the time literally rolling around on the ground, trying to create shade for myself. Just keep in mind, if you EVER go see the Dalai speak, please for the love of humanity, don't wear a black shirt and jeans.

But, all things aside, lets get to the real meat of this post, the most important issue, more important than the silly debt ceiling or Casey Anthony. Lets talk HARRY POTTER.

So we have exactly 70 hours and 8 minutes until the midnight preimere rolls around. If this were any other HP preimere, I would bouncing off the walls at this point. But I walk towards this one with a heavy heart. I am actually wishing that these next 70 hours and 5 minutes are the slowest 70 hours and 5 minutes ever.

Lets view this from a psychological standpoint.

I was about 10 years old when I read the first Harry Potter movie.
I was 11 years old when I went to my first Harry Potter movie premiere.
Now, I stand here, 20 years and 7 months old, and this whole Harry Potter roller coaster, one that has consumed a fair portion of the past decade of my life, is coming to a close.

To be honest, I am not dealing with this very well. This is really the end of my childhood, ending in a two and half hour film. You would think going to college or moving to DC would be a more permanent marker of the end of my childhood, but I guess that just further proves my thesis that I am the weirdest person alive. 

I will be the blubbering girl in the movie theater early Friday morning. But I won't be crying for the end of Harry's World. I will be crying for the end of the most wonderful childhood spent in the pages of JK Rowling. When I meet JK Rowling (and noticed I said WHEN), I will repeatedly reiterate how thankful I am that she graced me, and the rest with world, with the most magical place to invest our childhood.

 "The stories we love best do stay with us forever. Whether you return by the big screen or by page, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home"- JK Rowling

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Home: Safe and Sound With No Arrest Warrents

Catchy title? No worries, I didn't cause too much trouble today at my FIRST PROTEST. Today was commpeltly exhilariting and inredibly eye opening.

This rally was in culmination of my week of working with the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition. For the past couple of weeks, I have been going to lectures and workshops, learning about that atrocities of torture. Then, on Thursday, I lobbied with other students and toruture surviors on Capitol Hill for torture awareness and abolition.

I have heard some of the saddest stories ever this week; I will not relate most of them here for they are alarmingly too many too relate. As I typed that last statement, a rock formed in my stomach. I should have had to write that, but it is unfortunaly true.

Going into these appointment, I knew in the back of my mind that I may not get responses that I felt were satisfactory, but I was not going to let that stop me. At the end of my lobbying day, I knew that I hadn't single handedly changed anyone's mind, but the most rewarding part was listening to the torture surviors' reaction to the meetings. They agreed that this is a long battle that perhaps needs hundreds of lobbying days and rallies, but these survivors were simply estatic that they were able to talk to someone in the government. They were so touched that someone cared enough to schedule 20 to 30 minute of their day to listen to their stories. Getachew, one of my lobbying partners, reminded us students that they could never voice their complaints in their country.

It was here in this moment that the saddness and disappointment of the week turned around into joy.I could see in Getachew's eyes that he was so elated to actually raise his voice, something that he has long been denied.

Today in Lafyette Park outside the White House, I heard even more stories of atrocities, not only from our own rally group, but from other groups that gathered in front of the White House. It broke my heart to hear their stories and to see pictures of loved ones back in Ethiopia, Syria, or Libya. I would get really angry thinking how many Americans turn a blind eye to their cries and how they are easily brushed aside by the government. But as everyone gathered in peaceful protest, I was also reminded that these people are finally exercising their voice, the beauty of being in America. But who is listening?

These individuals all have a voice. And if no one else will listen, I will.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Obligatory Carrie Bradshaw Post

This is for all you ladies out there...who I think is the only gender reading my blog anyway, but whatever.

As some of you may know, I had an interesting event happen this week. As I was exiting a Metro station, confused as normal as to which way to go, I was stopped by an anchorwoman and cameraman from ABC DC News. She was your typical anchorwoman: hair that was perfectly molded despite the ruthless humidity and rain, perfect gray suit that complimented her skin tone, and an overwhelming dose of perk. She approached me with a inquiry to interview. I began to explain that I'm not really from these parts (and yes, that's how I phrased it) so I really don't know any news. But before I could finish, she interjects with the question "What is the one thing that pissses you off the most?"

She might as well pelted me with a Nerf gun. Here I was, disorientated, hot, sweaty, and stressed out. And of all the questions in the world, she asked THAT one. Good lord. I think I stood there for a good twenty seconds, gaping like a fish in complete shock.

Truthfully, I was originally shocked to hear her say "pissed off". That is a phrase I personally use on a hourly basis, but I never use it in public nor in front of other professionals. But maybe that's just country bumpkin me coming out.
But then, as I tried to focus on the question, I honestly could not come up with an answer. It should be an automatic response for most women, but I just couldn't do it. I think I said something along the lines of "being late" which is truthfully an overall characteristic in people I don't like, not necessarily men. I quickly spat out an answer, asked her cameraman for directions and scurried off.

I have constantly been mulling over my pitiful response to the questions, yet I still cannot think of a decent answer. At first, I felt like I let down all the Carrie Bradshaws and Cosmo readers of the world. But in a strange sense, I now feel somewhat glad that I was not able to produce a good answer. Maybe somewhere down the line, someone will appreciate the fact, that I don't focus on the negative, and try to find the silver lining. Some may attack that statement as being too naive, but its working for me so far.

Monday, June 13, 2011

10 Important Life Lesson in One Day

Mondays blow. I need Conan to make me feel better. Or free tickets to Anderson Cooper's new show. Which ever works.

  1. iPhones suck.
  2. Google sucks even more. 
  3. Google Maps sucks the most.
  4. It's REALLY hot in DC, espcially when you are lost on your way to a required event.
  5. I never realized the importance of a compass until today. Props to Lewis and Clark.
  6. iTunes has a lovely compass app that is better than the one that is already built into the iPhone.
  7. But in reality, I shouldn't have to download a compass app, BECAUSE IT SHOULD ALREADY COME WITH A DECENT ONE. Apple Fail.
  8. It's really hot in DC.
  9. My Toms are quite literally the only material possesion that is keeping me and my feet alive.
  10. Jimmy Buffet and Makin Love to the Money should never come on shuffle back to back. I might have publicly wept on the subway.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

DC Summer Playlist

Essentially what I listen to everyday on my Metro commute! I'm sorry because this list will confuse you; I'm the equivalent of a ping pong ball when it comes to taste in music. If you offer any diagnosis on my official music type or have music suggestions, feel free to comment!

  1. Edge of Glory- Lady Gaga
  2. The Cave- Mumford and Sons
  3. I Wanna Go- Britney Spears
  4. True Lovers- Hooray for Earth
  5. Boogie Shoes- KC and the Sunshine Band
  6. Mean- Taylor Swift
  7. Howlin for You- Black Keys
  8. Super Bass- Nicki Minaj
  9. Second Chance- Peter Bjorn and John
  10. Save the World- Sweedish House Mafia (SUCH a great song and video!)
  11. Knee Deep- Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffet (Makes me smile every time it comes on. Fins up!)
  12. International Love- Pitbull and Chris Brown
  13. Marry the Night- Lady Gaga (begin and start with Mother Monster of course)


Hello all! I am very sorry that my blogging has not been as frequent as I wanted it to! Work and school has (as usual) taken over my life, DC style. But I am not lacking in blogging goodies.

As far as updates are concerned, work is going well. The Jon Stewart angle fell through, which was pretty depressing. But I still got some years left and hopefully the world won't end in 2012, so there are still chances!
Exploring DC is getting more and more fun! Last night, Mahssa and I explored Dupont Circle, which is so far my favorite part of the city. I love how the historical architecture and the commercialization of America come and meet in one place. I know how weird that sounds, but you'll just have to come visit me and experience it for yourself. :)

The biggest thing I have been doing lately is a lot of thinking; I know, I am too exciting. But this thinking is apart of this whole experience; this trip was meant to test my abilities and think hard about my future, while in the meantime trying to find a husband.
A friend of mine here brought up a very interesting point the other night; with the give and take of American politics, Washington DC never really stays the same. Administrations change, political parties fight for control, and interns come and go with every season. There is really no strong core of a community or city soul here. Most people come here to work at their job for four and five years and then move on. The only thing that is really concrete is the buildings, literally and figuratively.

I mulled over this constantly for several days before I finally asked a girl at the office. I asked her how the city really responds to political change. Her response confirmed my friend's observations. My co-worker considers herself a native DC-er, which is apparently a rarity. She noted that with each presidential election, the social landscape of DC changed drastically. She noticed her school friends moved out into the suburbs, and new ones moved in. It had nothing to do with bitterness over the particular president-elect (it was no "I hate Bush, so I'm gonna leave"), but it had everything to do with new people being brought in with the new administration. It was a mutual decision reached between the new people and the old people; the old people had done their time, and now they were making way for the new people. This constant change is aided by the fact that nearly 20,000 new interns invade the city every year.

At first, I was slightly upset over learning this. Washington DC was THE place I was planning on spending graduate school and at least a great majority of my working career. Everywhere I went, I noticed signs of this shuffling metropolis. At this particular moment, I am not upset anymore by this fact; instead I have found that its causing me to alter my dreams, perhaps making them even bigger than I thought. Maybe DC is supposed to be a stepping stone for something else I didn't realize.

I feel like this was a slightly dour post, so I'll cook something else up to cheer up this page! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blogging Spree?

I am just in the mood for some writing tonight! For my program, I have to write bi-weekly reflections; this week's topic is about your adjustment period. I figured it would make a nice post (sorry if its formal and cheesey) since it summarize everything that has been going on!

"Reared on the Gulf Coast, I am accustomed to the natural phenomenon of hurricanes. Enduring several throughout my short lifetime, I have learned one important lesson; I understand that no matter how much wind and rain take things away from individuals and communities, a blank slate is left to create a new and better world. In essence, my move to Washington D.C. was a personal version of a hurricane, turning my world upside down, but leaving me with a blank slate to mold myself into a sophisticated young woman. Two weeks ago, I took my very first plane ride with my mother to move to this great city. I attend college close to my hometown, so this is my first substantial move away from my familiar corner of the country. Luckily, my travels were smooth and held no problems. However, I did encounter my first difficulties when my mother left me, finally alone in a big city. The first large hurdle was the transportation system in Washington. Although I was not raised in a rural area, I was not acclimated to an urban transportation system, such as the Metro. Navigating my way through snaking routes while trying to not slow any other travelers down caused for some touchy encounters with commuters; my Southern drawl of “excuse me” was lost in a virtual sea of diversity. It has been discouraging to be plainly identifiable as a “tourist”.
Yet, this is an experience that I have been yearning for since I was a freshman in high school. Despite the challenge of transportation, I have embraced my new city. Scanning through articles of up and coming events in Washington this summer has left me in a euphoric state. Personally, I cannot wait to attend such events as Movies on the Potomac and the Fourth of July concerts. Above all, I have enjoyed networking with my fellow residents in the Residential and Academic Facility, especially my lovely roommates. Upon arrival, we instantly had a connection over the most minute of things: groceries. This is the first time that each of us have had to buy our own groceries and provide dinner for ourselves, as opposed to a dining hall on our campuses. We have swapped coupons, taken grocery trips together, and have done extensive research in Rachel Ray recipes. This simple ritual of buying groceries and cooking has broken barriers and developed friendships. It has been an enthralling and entertaining time with them, and made my transition to D.C. more enjoyable and smoother.
My internship site is at the Publishing Office of the Library of Congress. When I was first placed here, I was admittedly doubtful of how this internship would help me gain experience in the field of international relations and public policy. However, within the first few days on the job, I have realized that the Publishing Office can help me gain experience in research and writing skills. Already, I am helping in compiling a book on presidential campaign posters, writing short summaries and photo captions. Within this project, I have had to brush up on my American history very quickly. It has been several college semesters since I have dealt with this area of research, but it has been beneficial to remind myself of our great history.  Additionally, I hastily learned the number one rule in publishing, the fewer the words, the better. I am familiar with writing lengthy research papers, not with creating short essays under 400 words. It has been difficult streamlining my words to fit, but I believe that this is a necessary skill I need to learn. With this skill in my repertoire, perhaps my writing skills in the classroom will improve. I am very inspired and assured that this internship will aid me in the future.
One area that I wish to personally improve on is my innate shyness. While I am not afraid to introduce myself to people, I lack the professional appearance and self esteem to engage individuals past the introduction stage. This is a crucial aspect of networking that I need to improve almost immediately; if I do not attain this skill, then the professional relationships I will develop in Washington will not grow to fruition. I must overcome this obstacle in order to further myself in the professional world. This is my main area of concern as I begin my internship.  
I can already tell that my summer in Washington will be one that I will never forget. Full of friends, fun, and thought-provoking work, I am well on my way to becoming the young woman I have always wanted to be."