Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Coming from a suburb of a large American city, I figured I knew all about how to navigate cities and how to find what exactly are the best things to see. What I learned from my semester in D.C. has proved to be quite the opposite- self-exploration is a lot more exciting than Google.com guided exploration. The very idea of looking into websites or other resources about what’s great in a city is rather counter-intuitive to the idea of exploration. Not to get too pseudo-philosophic on you readers that are still following these blogs, but I cannot emphasize exploring D.C. on your own enough. Much of what I feel that I missed out on in D.C. was not the Jefferson monument that I never saw up close, but rather those authentic (or at least I hope) Chinese restaurants located in the outskirts of the Chinatown that has since transformed into everything but a Chinatown. I missed out on walking around random large Metro stops thinking that I’d wait until the weather got better. I think that as college students on the brink of actual adulthood, we have but few chances for genuine city exploration. Structured vacations (mainly due to time restrictions) limit us to touristy sites and restaurants ranked in stars. So yes, I am calling a Carpe Diem of your time spent in Washington. There’s really no point in going places because a website has placed them on a list of places to see or things to do. If anything, that’s discouragement to go really anywhere. In honesty, I had my fill of monuments the first couple times around. What really excited me about D.C. was experiencing things I’ve never experienced before, such as the Buddhist temple I went to or the burrito cart I went to that had a pay-as-much-as-you-want structure. I figured out that D.C. cupcakes were nothing special, and I enjoyed the cupcake truck that stops outside Merrill Lynch every Wednesday much better. I learned to not miss my car and enjoy the simplicities of a city: people’s clothes, style of talking, gestures, and mainly just the city atmosphere. Although I did get my fair share of exploration done, I spent far too many hours shopping and too little time walking around places that I have yet to discover next time I’m in Washington, D.C.

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