Miami Goes to Washington

Miami Goes to Washington

Being able to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. obviously has countless benefits for my own present and future, such as work experience, networking opportunities, and the ability to expand my horizons in several other ways, but I'm not the only one taking advantage of my trip to the nation's capital!

 

Two of my roommates and one other friend from my university (coincidentally, three of my best friends in the whole wide world) also took advantage of me being up here and decided to spend their spring break road-tripping up to D.C. to spend some time with me and to explore this part of the U.S.

 

Meet Jazzy (below), one of my oldest friends. I went to middle school with her, and we were on the dance team together. We've been living together in Gainesville since sophomore year of college, and I love her to death!

 

 

This is Lizzy (below), one of my newest friends! I met her through Jazzy and have also lived with her since sophomore year. We clicked instantly, and have become the best of friends in the last two-and-a-half years. Our favorite hobby is giving Jazzy a hard time!

 

 

And finally, Ronny! Jazzy and Lizzy met him in high school in Miami, and he's an essential part of our group. He's one of the best friends a person could ask for, and I was so excited to see him out of his element here in D.C.

 

 

If you can even believe it, this is what their trip looked like. They drove Jazzy's car all the way up from Gainesville, FL to Washington, D.C. in about 12 hours. It was more than a 700 mile trip!

 

 

After spending 12 hours on the road, crossing state borders like nobody's business, and probably eating at every gas station along the way, when they finally got to the RAF, Jazzy, Lizzy, and Ronny almost matched Annemarie and I in excitement. We were extremely anxious to show them everything we had picked up from this city, and teach them things about living in D.C. that only we could show them.

 

For one thing, when they got here, they were frozen stiff! They're definitely not used to the cold weather; Ronny was like me before and had never even seen snow prior to his trip here. The warmest sweater he brought looked like a regular Old Navy jacket! I had to lend him one of my many scarves so that he wouldn't freeze while we were walking around the monuments. We also had to advise (yell at) Jazzy a couple of times before leaving the apartment to put on more than just one sweatshirt because we knew it was going to snow that day. The single most terrifying thing for me before I arrived in D.C. was that I knew it was going to be cold. I thought I would never want to be outside or that I would cry in bed every time the temperature dropped below 50 degrees. But walking around outside with my friends made me realize how much I had gotten used to this kind of weather, and that my biggest fear had disintegrated without me even knowing it.

 

Annemarie and I had decided before our friends arrived that using the metro would be the easiest way to get around the city to show them all we wanted them to see. We all walked together to the nearest metro station and helped them get their SmarTrip cards, because we knew that the metro charges more for the temporary paper cards. We guided them along all the metro stations we stopped at and told them about the unspoken rule of the escalators (stand on the right if you want to just stand on the escalators so that people who are in a hurry can run up or down them on the left side....you learn this rule rather quickly after getting hit in the head with a briefcase or getting knocked over by an enormous purse.)

 

It was during times like these when Annemarie and I realized how much we had already picked up from living in this city for only six weeks. Jazzy, Lizzy, and Ronny looked like tourists; they stopped to read the signs on the metro, they kept forgetting to stand on the right side of the escalators, they walked around outside taking in how different the architecture is here from Florida -- and it was obvious that they weren't used to the cold. I didn't realize how much I had learned from this city until my friends from Miami had arrived and shown me. I had learned how to speak like the natives, how to dress for the weather, and how to explore from my friends here.

 

Just as my three friends made me aware of all the information I had subconsciously picked up, they also showed me that I still have a lot to learn. Sure, Annemarie, Meg, AJ, and I acted like tour guides when we went to see the monuments and explored the National Mall to go to the Air and Space Museum, but I also found that my friends asked me a lot of questions I didn't know the answers to. "Where are we in relation to the Capitol Building?" "Can we walk home from here?" "How do we get to the White House?" I realized that I should probably spend some more time reading maps or doing other things to help myself get oriented in this city. Other questions like "What's this building?", "Who is that a statue of?", and "What is this park called?" also made me aware that I should be looking up the history of the buildings I look at and have the opportunities to learn about while I'm still here. Those are the types of things I need to actively try to learn, instead of being able to pick it up subconsciously like the other things I've already learned during my time here.

 

Having my friends from Florida up here in D.C. was an unforgettable and eye-opening experience in more ways than one, and for all parties involved.

 

Go Gators!

 

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