The Perfect Final Weekend

The Perfect Final Weekend

I think most of my fellow student interns will agree with me when I say that one of the best things about Washington, D.C. is that there is never a dull moment. You can always find something to do, and in fact, it's even a little frustrating sometimes when two things that you really want to do are occurring at the same time in different places in the city. Luckily, my final weekend in D.C. was the perfect sendoff; a mix of the political and governmental side of D.C. (with some fun, of course) and a relaxing, yet active, Sunday of yoga on the Mall.

 

Passport D.C. 2013- Open Houses at Washington, D.C. Embassies

Saturday in D.C. was a day full of culture, international knowledge, great food, and lots of free stuff. On this day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., some of the embassies in D.C. opened their culturally authentic doors and allowed the public to step foot in their countries' territory and experience some Asian, Latin American, and African traditions. Early (for a Saturday, at least) in the morning, my friends and I took the metro to the DuPont Circle stop and starting walking toward the open embassies. Our first stop was Mozambique, then Argentina, Nicaragua, the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Turkey, Venezuela, and Zambia.

 

Argentina

I personally loved and had a lot of fun at the Argentinian embassy because I have always had friends growing up who are from Argentina, and I love their culture and their accent. This embassy was a very old, very large house with lots of stairs and even more rooms. There were paintings and portraits of previous ambassadors and Argentinian presidents, including their current, and first female president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. They offered us authentic Argentinian tea called yerba mate, and little pastries filled with dulce de leche, which is kind of like a caramel.

 

 

Nicaragua

Nicaragua's embassy was a lot of fun and very active! Loud music everywhere, a whole outside area with food and drinks, and best of all, free straw hats! Everyone from the embassy was happy to see us there, and we felt very welcomed. There were more dulce de leche treats and some bread with guava jelly, which I had before in Miami. They also had raffles, and my friend Meg even won a little wood-carved turtle! This embassy open house was like a big Hispanic party, and I felt so at home, even though I am from a different Latin American country.

 

 

 

Ivory Coast

The Cote d'Ivoire embassy was certainly one of the more eccentric places we visited. There was a group of men playing the drums outside, and another man doing a dance in traditional and authentic dress (and stilts), with his whole body costumed. It was quite a sight to see! Inside there was a delicious bright magenta-colored juice made from flowers and more food. We tried to take a picture with the man on stilts, but we got yelled at! Apparently that's a huge no-no.

 

 

Yoga on the Mall

By far one of the best experiences I had in D.C. was the Yoga on the Mall event the weekend before I left. It was basically a 1,000+ person yoga class outside in the grass in the middle of a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning/afternoon. I could not have asked for a better experience. My roommate Nicole and I got great seats to put our mats in front of the stage where all the instructors were practicing and stretching for the event. When we first got to the Mall, it was a little gray and cloudy and cold. As soon as all the participants of the event started to arrive, the sky cleared up and the sun came out to shine on all of us for our whole practice. We knew that we pushed the clouds away.

 

First, about 30 yoga instructors from studios all around D.C. demonstrated their own personal favorite asanas and sun salutation series. I was extremely impressed with their agility, flexibility, balance, and strength. One of the instructors was extremely pregnant, and she was doing all kinds of poses that I had never seen before! Watching these instructors reminded me that yoga is something you can always further yourself in, and you'll never be "done" with it. Once you achieve the pose you're trying to master, there is always another step further you can take.

 

Four instructors taught our practice once the demonstration was over. About halfway into the practice, all 1,000 of us were doing a back and forth movement with our arms and bodies repeatedly (extended side-angle pose and reverse warrior pose). The instructor that was teaching that part on the stage (because all four of the main instructors switched about every 20 minutes) told us that he wished we could all see ourselves from his perspective. He told us that we looked like the waves of the ocean. Tears rolled down my face as my arms and body rolled back and forth in a fluid motion between these two poses. The amount of positive energy that was being emitted by the scores and scores of people around me was too much for me to handle, and I cried several tears of joy and gratitude.

 

If there is one phrase that my friends know me for, one phrase that I always tell people whenever they express their problems to me, problems with friends or family, or aches and pains in their bodies, or anxiety or depression issues, it's the phrase: "You should do yoga." And so I say unto you: If you are ever in D.C. during this annual Yoga on the Mall event, do not hesitate for a single moment to attend it. You will not regret it.

 

 

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