Arriving in the Capital | The Washington Center

Arriving in the Capital

Ethan was born in Manchester, England in 1996. He moved to Michigan in 2001 and still lives there today. He's a passionate reader, writer, movie-goer and pizza eater. This summer, he's putting his writing skills to work for 121 Corp, a Mexican-American branding agency, and for The Washington Center (TWC) as a student blogger. He has a younger brother, an older sister, and two very British parents, all of whom he loves very much. He hopes you'll forgive him for writing this bit in the third person.


Blazing the Trail

Way back in October 2015, when I was considering an application to The Washington Center's summer program, I came to these blogs looking for specific details, y'know, true stories; other peoples' accounts, so I could get some facts and figure out how it'd go for me, if I actually went through with it. Fear of the unknown is a big part of my life, I'll be honest about that. I'm an anxious guy. So, now that I'm here, now that I've made the leap, and now that I'm blogging, I want to assuage those worries in other prospective interns. I want to lay a trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak, to help others through the dark, scary forest. So, consider this post as Breadcrumb Number One: Ethan's arrival in the Capital.


From Memphis to Ronald Reagan

At 6:50 a.m. on May 25th, 2016, I was 20,000 feet in the air, sitting beside a pasty, middle-aged businessman who refused to talk to me at all and only acknowledged my uncomfortable presence when our thighs brushed or our elbows bumped.


Across the aisle was a tall, African-American priest who read softly from his King James Bible on takeoff and then again on landing. It was his first time in D.C., just like me, and as we descended into Reagan National Airport, he called out to whoever cared: "There's the White House! There on the left!" I tried to get a glimpse but couldn't quite manage it. The lady next to him didn't bother to look. "You don't care about the White House?" he asked, playfully. She replied with her eyes closed, "Seen it before."


After we landed, the southern face of the Washington Monument came into view. The priest and I seemed to be the only ones taken by it. We exchanged a look of childish glee. The whole scene made me feel like I was really at the beginning of something cool.




The Super Shuttle

Before I left Tennessee, I reserved a spot on a Super Shuttle for 9:20 a.m., but I didn't arrive at the counter until 10:45 because another plane stole our gate and left us waiting on the tarmac for over an hour. However, it proved a blessing in disguise because I wound up sharing a shuttle with some awesome people. On the curb, I met my first friend in D.C., a Cuban-American guy from Miami named Mario Miralles. He was headed to the same place as me: The Washington Center.




Also in the shuttle was Mr. Kim, a bubbly South Korean businessman who spoke almost no English but said a lot with his easy smile; a Southern woman (her name escapes me) who shared her flight with Carly Fiorina (that was interesting to hear about). Apparently Ms. Fiorina was alone: no security, no assistants and no interaction with anyone. Keep in mind, this was only a couple weeks after the Cruz/Fiorina dream team dropped out. And lastly, there was the Liberian driver. Now he was a character.


As we drove through the city, he gave us an impromptu audio tour, told us about the history of D.C. and the Civil War, discussed the founding of Liberia and argued over gun rights with the Southern lady. Eventually, she slapped the seat by her legs and said she hated Senator Barbara Boxer (I don't remember how the conversation got there; I do remember at one point Mario was telling us about the socialist shoe shiner he met at the airport). She said Senator Boxer was a villainous person. Villainous! The Liberian driver, a Democrat, was surprisingly receptive to her opinion. He looked back at me through the rearview and said "See, this is why I like talking to people. You learn things. Senator Boxer is horrible." He looked out the window. "I did not know this."


The Arrival

When we got to the Washington Center's Residential and Academic Facility (RAF for short), Mario tipped the driver a ten and said it was for the both of us. We went through the check-in process and met some of TWC's incredibly welcoming staff before going our separate ways.


I pushed open the door to my apartment, pulled my luggage in and took a look around. I was the first to arrive. It was a great looking place, and I had a great feeling that this summer would be a wild ride. The day's adventure didn't end there, but unfortunately this post will.


Next week, I'll take you with me on a quick tour of the sights, tell you a couple funny stories from my morning commute and maybe recount the origin story of the #DollarStoreCrew (hint: it was a quest for coat hangers that went horrible wrong).


See you next week!



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

Learn More