And... Scene!

And... Scene!

August 19, 2010

Hello there friends, family, countrymen,

Lend me your .... eyes? My term here in DC is coming to a close. Today, my group had our Departure Orientation for London. We leave this coming Sunday to hop over the pond.

My first week was definitely an exciting one. I met my group the first day in by going around to the other dorms and introducing myself. As we all trickled into the RAF, the group picked up the new members one by one until we had finally collected all eleven of us. Most of us are from different parts of the country, with the exception of one Canadian from Alberta, (affectionately dubbed "The Canadian"). We quickly discovered that our personalities are very dynamic. But our first full family outing to Target was all we needed to click. In a big city, just going out to buy groceries and learn the Metro system is an adventure. Not that there was anything to fear, as a veteran metro user I was naturally dubbed a leader early on, ::insert smirk here::.We spent the rest of the evening getting to know each other and finally called it quits after a long day of travel.

My group on the Metro Rollercoaster

The next morning we made our way over to class for the first time. The Washington Center is in a terrific old building near Dupont Circle, a favorite spot of mine. We usually have an hour and  half lunch so we explore the area, try new restaurants and get to know each other. Dupont Circle has great places to go in the day and night. In the first couple days I ate Thai and fresh deli, discovered a late night bookstore/cafe/bar/restaurant called Kramerbooks, and poured over the sale rack at the local record shop. There is always something going on in the park at the circle - chess players, picnics, dog walkers, and one guy with a boombox (he's always there).

I've really enjoyed class already, there are a lot of different activities we do and things to learn. TWC takes the time to brush up their students on American politics and current events so that we can better make comparisons between the home land and the UK. This week we've heard speakers on the Arizona immigration law, a deputy Parliamentarian for the House of Representatives, and the author for a book on American affairs and the British government system. We had a group tour of the National Mall one morning, learning about some of the major monuments on the mall and the history of their establishment.

The homework for the weekend was a "City Exploration Activity" which got us out as a group exploring major areas of the city. I am now well versed in areas I'd never thought to visit the first two times I'd been here such as Columbia Heights, U-Street, and Chinatown. They all have totally different personalities as neighborhoods but none is boring. Though there is some outside work from class, we usually have a couple hours to take a walk at night and visit a monument. I've been to exponentially more monuments since I got here a week and a half ago, some of which I didn't even know existed. My favorite night was this past Monday night. The weather cooled off and we headed out to review the Lincoln by moonlight and it was incredible! All the monuments at night are lit up, the skies were clear, and there is something very fulfilling about viewing the Washington Monument by the side of the reflecting pool in the quiet.

Well, it's time for me to go pack, we leave in just a few days and I know I'll want to spend Saturday exploring the city once more.

See you across the pond!


PS. - I found out that I'll be working at the London Government Association when I get there. More to report when I hear from my supervisor!

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