It's Me, From D.C.

It's Me, From D.C.

After months of prep work, research, shopping, packing, organizing, stressing...I was at the corner of Constitution Ave, the Capitol Building ahead of me, the metro station behind me, and 300 years of history all around me.  I had turned my dreams into plans and can'ts into cans.

 

My name is Rachel and I am studying Political Science, History, and Public Affairs at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  You've probably never heard of Gainesville (aka G-ville, The ville, or Gainesvegas) if you haven't heard of UF, since not much is happening there other than being a vibrant college town smack dab in the middle of north-central Florida.  My school is huge and can sometimes be overwhelming, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  Go Gators!

 

While college isn't something to be rushed, I can't help but think about my post-grad future and where I want to be.  As cheesy as it sounds, my heart has always been in D.C.  History, and culture, and worldliness, and Americana all at the same time?  Sign me up.  Even coming here for the fifth time, this city never ceases to amaze me.

 

I was one month into my freshman year when TWC reps visited my campus, and though I was young, I knew I just couldn't postpone the opportunity to a future summer. And I didn't.

 

Checking in

For the next few months, I'll be living at the RAF, TWC's Residential and Academic Facility.  From someone who just braved dorm life for a year, this place is luxurious.  There is actually space to walk around in, couches to lounge on, a flat screen TV, and a killer view of D.C.'s swanky new district.

 

 

My room is made even better by my roommates.  One from Switzerland, one from Minnesota, and one from my home state, our unique microcosm captures exactly what real-world D.C. is.  Just walking the halls of the RAF, I've met people from Peru, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico.  I've even discovered a few fellow Gators!

 

We did the necessary unpacking and stocking up on groceries (grocery stores here have an elevator?!), then after 2 days of orientation, spent the weekend doing anything and everything we could.

 

Weekend Highlights

Chinatown

Chipotle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dunkin Donuts, CVS...you name it, they've got it.  Signs were written in both English and Chinese, but we found it harder than expected to get the authentic Chinatown experience.  After searching UrbanSpoon to no avail, we just walked into a random hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ended up with a pretty decent meal, but not unlike anything I couldn't order from my local takeout at home.  I'm kind of a Chinese food snob though :)

 

 

Jazz in the Garden

Every Friday of the summer, D.C.'s young professionals kick off their weekend with a relaxing post-work evening outdoors at the National Gallery of Arts's Jazz in the Garden.  A few friends from the RAF and I headed over to check it out.  Picnic blankets, live music, sangria (for 21+, of course), and lots of laughs.  Definitely don't miss this.

 

 

Good friends, good fun

 

 

Georgetown

This historic neighborhood has a small town charm that makes it easy to forget a bustling city is just a short walk away.  Between the quaint little shops, Potomac waterfront, and mass of college students, it's a refreshing change of pace.  Be sure to stop by Georgetown Cupcake.  You'll thank me later.

 

 

 

Eastern Market

Sunday morning, my roommate and I walked down flowery, tree-lined streets to Eastern Market, an outdoor food and artisan showcase.  I'm a huge fan of farmer's markets and love that everything is either handmade, locally grown, and organic.  From vegetables the size of my head, to herbs and fruits, to hummus, jams, and baked goods, it was heavenly.  Even better?  Free samples.  We ran into some other TWCers there, crazy how excited that made me!  Everyone really feels like new family.

 

What's up, doc?

 

And of course...

 

 

Bucket list: 1/100th checked off.

 

Lesson learned? Getting yourself to D.C. is possible.  Getting the full D.C. experience in a single weekend is impossible.  Luckily I have 9 more weeks.

Talk soon, friends!

 

 

 

 

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