The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins

Hi everyone!  My name is Kara Angelini and I am a 19 year-old student at Tulane University. I am majoring in Political Science and Social Policy, with a minor in French. I originally hail from just outside of Chicago (home of the 1908 World Series Champions!) and have lived in New Orleans for two years. My interests include the Chicago Blackhawks and deep dish pizza, and you can catch me DJ-ing a weekly progressive radio show on WTUL New Orleans. Going to school in the Big Easy means there is never a dull moment. From taking a class taught by James Carville (the Ragin' Cajun himself) to experiencing Mardi Gras first hand, the Crescent City has been very good to me.


Although both Chicago and New Orleans have a special place in my heart, I was craving a change of pace for this summer. I applied for the Washington Center (TWC) with the hopes of ending up somewhere where I could develop my professional skill-set, but being somewhere where people are as passionate about politics and policy as I am. Washington, D.C. has always been somewhat of a mythical city to me; I am sure due in part to my countless Netflix marathons of The West Wing and House of Cards. It was surreal when I found out I would be actually living in D.C., and I realized I was not exactly sure what to expect.  Nonetheless, I said goodbye to sweet home Chicago and ventured off into the unknown.


Between program orientation and running various errands, my first Thursday in D.C. was jam-packed. My roommate and I took the Metro out to Chinatown to pick up some apartment essentials (forgetting my pillow at home was maybe not my finest moment). As we headed back to the station, we stumbled upon the National Portrait Gallery and decided to take a look around. The Gallery is free, although they do recommend a donation, and ended up being the perfect spontaneous afternoon adventure. I must have looked slightly ridiculous carrying around a large shopping bag with dish soap and a queen-sized pillow, but I was too enthralled with the wonderful art collection to notice. My personal favorite was an abstract expressionist portrait of John F. Kennedy by Elaine De Kooning, an unexpected change of pace in an exhibit of mostly traditional presidential portraits.


John F. Kennedy by Elaine de Kooning (1963, Oil on Canvas)


Some may have been exhausted by our museum trip, but a short few hours later we decided we wanted to walk the National Mall (The Mall) at night. First we walked a block from our apartment to grab spinach and cheese empanadas from a food truck, parked at a local free music event hosted by NOMA Business Improvement District (NOMA BID).


We headed out, and it soon became apparent that we had underestimated the distance of our trip. After walking five (five!) miles, we finally trudged up the Lincoln Memorial. I may have been a little sore the next morning, but sitting on the steps and watching the light from the Washington Monument glimmer in the Reflecting Pool made it all worth it.


The next afternoon we enjoyed (more) free music and good company in the Smithsonian Sculpture Garden, which has a free Jazz concert every Friday. Somehow still tired from Thursday, we also took it easy on Saturday, packing a picnic and trekking out to the Mall. The food was great and the weather gorgeous. Just as we finished our lunch the presidential motorcade drove by, a reminder that this city is unlike any other.


The view from our picnic.


My first five days in Washington have been unbelievable, and this city obviously has so much to offer (added bonus-I rarely had to open my wallet). My initial nervousness about moving to a new city has faded to excitement, and I cannot wait to start my internship at the political consulting firm Democracy Partners. If this first week is any indication, this is destined to be a great summer. As they say in New Orleans, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

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