Finding Yourself in Unexpected Ways

Finding Yourself in Unexpected Ways

Well, things haven’t changed TOO much since we last caught up. Congress still can’t come to any consensus to end this government shutdown and the affects are starting to be felt beyond those who are officially furloughed. Practically every federal intern here, with only a few exceptions, is out of an internship until the shutdown ends. I think what used to be a joking matter, or a mini-vacation most of us envied, is turning into a disheartening situation for the many interns here without sites. Considering the ending doesn’t look very near, I have heard The Washington Center is having some serious conversations about how to offer alternative experiences to those who can’t report to work—that’s a relief.

Although the shutdown hasn’t affected my internship, I was pretty disappointed last week when our Public Policy Dialogues were canceled. The Washington Center organizes a unique opportunity called the “Public Policy Dialogues” where each of us interns gets to meet and speak with a member of Congress, usually from our home state or district. I was supposed to meet with Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina on Wednesday morning… but it was pretty obvious on Monday night that she probably wouldn’t be available for a chat with me. This was a major bummer for two reasons; the first reason was that I really wanted to ask her about her strategies to cooperate and overcome the gridlock experienced by Congress (oh the irony); my second source of disappointment being that her meetings are catered by Krispy Kreme, a North Carolina-born gem. I couldn’t imagine a better way to discuss congressional policy, complete with unlimited coffee and donuts—perfection. I guess all I can do is drop by the Krispy Kreme in Dupont Circle until the government opens and we can reschedule our donut date!

At our Law and Criminal Justice programming this week, we all took a personality test to find our “true color”. It was pretty interesting, and somewhat surprising…I definitely learned something new about myself and how I like to work, and the kind of situations my personality flourishes in. For example, I am a “blue”, which seems to confirm my long lived role of the “drama-queen.” Some of my attributes as a “blue” include caretaker, true romantic, and the need to feel special (not going to deny that last one).  I see myself as compassionate, creative, and empathetic… while others can see me as overemotional, manipulative, or someone who talks too much (again, that last one may be spot-on…). Apparently, I’m honest and genuine in my conversations and I pay special attention to non-verbal communication. To maintain my self-esteem, I want to be reassured of my self-worth, I want my accomplishments recognized, and I constantly look for meaning and significance in my life. As a “blue”, I value integrity and trust in my relationships, while disorder and injustice frustrates me. Some famous “blues” include Mozart, Emily Dickenson, Bill Clinton, Mohammad Ali, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cinderella (this confirms I am also a princess).

Great Food, Great View, Great Friends

Late in the week, I heard from a friend from school back in Charlotte, North Carolina who was home in Virginia on her fall break. Veronica was born and raised in Arlington, but she still claims D.C. as home. We agreed to meet in Alexandria on Friday night and grab some dinner at her favorite restaurant. We ate overlooking the National Harbor in Maryland at Rosa Mexicano—the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. By no means is this place cheap, but I would pay just for the view of the water we had while we ate. If your budget can’t support Rosa Mexicano, I would still encourage traveling to this area. Not only is it beautiful, but there are tons of shops, free concerts on the sand, and you can see the “Awakening Sculpture”—which looks like this ginormous man crawling out from under the sand… a piece of art unique to this area. I was really appreciative of Veronica for taking me out to dinner and to this beautiful area I wouldn’t have ventured to otherwise. Seeing her was like having a small piece of home, and it was great to pick her brain for some suggestions only a local could make.

 

National Harbor

 

 

Doing Something for Me

Did I start by saying that not much has changed since I last posted? I’m sorry, but that was actually a complete lie. You see, in a few short weeks, my birthday is coming. I am really young for my grade, so this October I will be turning 20. I really started to think, and I came to the conclusion that this was actually a pretty big year for me! I was starting a new decade for goodness sake--I was never going to be a teen again! So then I thought to myself, “What am I doing with my life? I’m about to end all of my teenage years and I haven't done anything really insane yet!” So, like no-normal person, I picked up the phone and made a special reservation; and not a dinner reservation—but a skydiving reservation. Yesterday was the big day, so my roommate and I road-tripped it to Baltimore, and I changed my life forever. I didn’t post my plans on Facebook, and I didn’t tell my Mom and my Dad. I made this decision one hundred percent for myself, and I didn’t want to give a part of that away. Brianna and I arrived in Baltimore at 10 a.m. and found the airport with no trouble at all. For a while there, it looked like all of the jumps were going to be cancelled due to an extreme blanket of fog that had covered the sky. It isn’t legal for the pilots to take the airplanes up in such conditions, and it isn’t safe for the instructors to jump with such poor visibility. We waited for two hours… I just knew this couldn’t happen; not to me, not when it all felt so right. Sure enough, the sun persevered through the fog, and the blue sky appeared—it was the perfect day. Immediately I was suited up and on deck for the second flight up. When it was my time, I was ready… I was ready to be absolutely crazy and impulsive. We took off and started our 10,000 foot climb. After the longest twenty minutes of my life, climbing altitude, I had experienced every emotion possible. I was ready, nervous, I was terrified of dying, excited, content with dying, thrilled—and then it was time to stop thinking. It was time to focus, to hook up harnesses, open the door, cross my arms, and stick out my right leg. Then, as if in slow motion, we just fell out of the door, and I was freefalling. I was higher than the birds, I was falling faster than I could imagine, and I was absolutely at peace. While I was falling, the world was silent and it was all so far beneath me. The world looked so beautiful and I felt bigger than it all. The fall was incredible and it was empowering. I can’t really explain it in any other way—it was the best decision I ever made. Seeing the world in that way changed my perspective, and my jump really changed me. With all that said, I will absolutely jump again… as soon as I can afford it. It was definitely expensive, but it was my best investment yet. I would encourage anyone to jump… especially those who are afraid—it would change your life forever! For any interns here who are buying into what I'm preaching, Skydive Baltimore is having an October special where a jump is only $169, compared to a going rate of $250-290 elsewhere. It may sound like a lot of money, but I really couldn’t put a price on the feeling I left there with yesterday. Sometimes it pays to take a risk and do something out of your comfort zone… you never know what you might learn about yourself.

 

 

 

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”
-Helen Keller

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More