Home Institution: University of New Hampshire
Internship Site: Trust for the National Mall
Program: Advocacy, Service and Arts Internship Program
Dearest family, friends, and teachers,
Finished with my morning routine, I dropped my mascara back into the drawer and paused to look at myself in the mirror. Hair still wild, skin even more pale than it had been when I’d arrived, there was something different about this girl. The blazer and blouse that I’d pulled at in discomfort 3 months earlier in the Macy’s dressing room, fit to me perfectly. An outfit that once felt so strange felt finally natural. No longer teetering in my mild-high heels, I stood strong and straight.
Eggnog, it’s not for everyone. For me, there is nothing more revealing of the holiday season’s arrival than lounging back with a tall glass of eggnog and a reindeer shaped cookie. But for others, eggnog is an unpleasantly thick mixture of milk, cream, and yes, egg yolk. That aside, I was determined to bring the joy of nog to my friends in D.C. I had half my body in the fridge before I effectively grasped the last carton of regular eggnog (that cinnamon flavored kind is just terrible) at Harris Teeter.
My train departed from Union Station at 2:30pm. I'd secured a seat back in October and now my train was sold-out, just as all of the other trains in the country were today. The day before Thanksgiving, and it seemed the whole world was en-route. The car was crowded and hot and I nestled close to the window with a book. D.C., Baltimore, Philly, the train passed through city after gray city. New York, New Haven, Hartford. 8 and a half long hours later, Springfield.
Have you ever had an experience where your eyebrows automatically raise in intrigue? Where your mouth drops open of its own accord? Where your heart flutters with excitement? And you think to yourself, this is what I want to do. I’ve had very few moments like this in my life, but I can point to those rare, certain moments as attributive to where I am today. I had that feeling when I first stepped onto the University of New Hampshire campus, and, while struggling to pick my major, first spoke with a Recreation Management and Policy student.
My eyes scan over the 200-plus white trash bags arranged neatly along the paths. Sunlight reflects off their knotted tops and the orange leaves glow bright from inside the bags. Men in women in their company t-shirts bend to retrieve dropped rakes and chat animatedly with each other. The air is cool but the sunshine warms my cheeks and the high spirits of my teammates makes me smile. Another intern comes my way, she too is smiling; her work jeans have a few splatters of black paint that weren’t there this morning at 8:15 a.m.
Walking into my apartment, it sounded like a small mariachi band was rehearsing in my bedroom. I couldn’t help but smile; my roommate is a riot sometimes. I sat down on the couch to do some homework. The Mexican folk music blared for another hour and then the door opened revealing Paola, my roommate, and Mariana, laughing. Mariana was wearing an enormous blue dress, Paola, gym shorts and a t-shirt. They immediately pulled the kitchen table aside and set up their stereo on the kitchen counter.
Between Halloween and an exciting visit from Hurricane Sandy, this past weekend was a little scarier than I’d bargained for. While Friday and Saturday were spent out with fellow ghouls and goblins, Monday and Tuesday were spent with zombies; sweat-pant wearing, movie watching, sleepy eyed zombies. Trapped in the Washington Center’s Residential Academic Facility (the RAF) during the worst of the storm, there was little to do aside from finish up homework assignments, play board games, watch the news, and wait.
Midterms rolled around last week to remind me that I am, in fact, still in school. I guess sometimes I forget between my 9-5 work days and well-balanced, home cooked meals (ha, yeah right), that I am still a student this semester. But there was no forgetting last week as I watched my peers crowd into the lounge and descend feverishly on their textbooks while I followed suit, studying for my own midterm exam.
I’m late to get to my friends room, and by the time I get there, everyone is already crowded around the TV. I grab a beer and find a spot on the floor to watch the second Presidential Debate. There are a few points where I am on the edge of my seat, wondering if I might actually see some punches thrown. But mostly I sit back and watch the two men vaguely present their master plans to rescue our economy and lower unemployment. Lies fly. These debates don’t inspire how we can build our country up, they fuel measures of tearing the other party down.