Hello, July!

Hello, July!

Hello again! It's already July and we're in the midst of summer! The start of July also means that it's the week of the Fourth of July, so the city has been strangely quiet yet crowded with tourists coming in for the holiday.

 

Just because it’s a long weekend, doesn’t mean there’s no work to be done!

The holiday has brought a long weekend, which also means that there weren't many events to attend. It seems like my events calendar is becoming less crowded, but that doesn’t mean that I have little work at my internship! I’ve spent most of this week working on various projects in office.

 

On Monday, I was fortunate enough to attend an event hosted by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace about the special relationship between Germany and Israel at the prestigious Cosmos Club. I learned a lot about German-Israeli relations, including a lot on current affairs between the two. I found the results of a survey on the Israeli perceptions toward Germans particularly interesting. For example, when asked to say what comes to mind when someone said “Germany,” Israelis first responded with things relating to the Holocaust and World War II, but once those negative feelings were expressed they would describe a very positive view of Germany. Many other people at the event found these findings compelling as well, including a gentleman at my table who gave us investment advice over dinner.

 

I was especially excited to be at the Cosmos Club, the club of many of the most respected and esteemed politicians, scholars, and thinkers of Washington. It is absolutely gorgeous inside. When I walked in, I remarked how the history just seemed to seep out of the walls. The ballroom reminded me of the Palace of Versailles, one of my favorite places in the world, so I felt very happy.

 

Inside the Cosmos Club

 

On Wednesday I listened to a teleconference on the crisis in Greece. I had kept my eye on the crisis closely and was able to follow and thoroughly understand every second of the discussion, which I think is an accomplishment. A former Greek parliament member spoke at the discussion and mentioned how the Greek people don’t really know what they are voting on in the referendum, which gave me a fresh perspective on the issue. The referendum results were recently announced, so I will have to take a close look at them soon.

 

What’s the best thing about having a holiday on a weekend?

It gets observed on Friday! I didn’t have any classes on Friday so I had the entire day to explore more of Washington. I walked from my apartment in NoMa to Capitol Hill, where I was finally able to visit what is possibly my favorite place in all of Washington, D.C.: the Library of Congress. The Jefferson Building is a marvel of Beaux Arts architecture and décor; it’s all white columns, gold gilding, and a signature American grandeur that’s breathtaking. I spent nearly three hours inside, exploring the exhibits and taking it all in.

 

Inside the Library of Congress

 

I got to walk through the tunnel between the Library of Congress and the Capitol, twice! I was lucky enough to get a spot in a tour of the Capitol, which I wasn’t anticipating. It was really fascinating to learn the history of the Capitol. I was a bit in awe to be standing under The Apotheosis of George Washington, which I had studied in one of my study abroad courses; as I looked around at all the classical symbolism and imagery, I thought of what I learned in my Italy study abroad course, where I studied the parallels between the U.S. and Ancient Rome. It’s incredible to have walked down the same hallways and steps that leaders like Abraham Lincoln once did and will continue to do.

 

After a filling lunch (including some of the best dipping sauce for fries I’ve ever tried), I visited the United States Botanical Gardens and explored all three gardens. My favorite is the Conservatory. I enjoyed the jungle room for its canopy walk and the orchid room for the sheer beauty of the flowers. I’ve never been one to like plants, but I really like the Botanical Garden! I mean, who doesn't want to feel like they're in a Jurassic Park film (without the dinosaurs, of course)?

 

the Jungle room

 

Now, I’m going to stop here because I want to dedicate an entire post to how I spent the Fourth of July in the nation’s capital, so be on the lookout for my next post! Until next time!

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