A Lot of Heat and Just A Bit Lost

A Lot of Heat and Just A Bit Lost

Readers, I can assure you that I was incredibly excited to get to D.C. Heck, I think anyone looking forward to spending a summer in D.C. would shake with anticipation. Even though Western Massachusetts is lovely and all, I think we can all just about agree that it's not Washington D.C. I won't leave that really open for debate, sorry! But, I digress. What I'm getting at here is that there is a lot of excitement for sure, but there is also a lot of expectation. It consists of, but is not limited to thoughts such as:

I'm going to see Barack Obama and all the politicians! -Insert blasting renditions of 'Hail to the Chief'-

I'm going to see all of D.C. in like a single day! -Insert Rocky theme-

I'm going to figure out the Metro here so quick! -Insert Miley Cyrus's "I Can't Be Tamed"-

I'm not going to feel gross or exhausted at any given point! -Insert Beautiful by XTina-

Well my friends, President Obama actually is a bit too busy to see you at the pizza parlor right now; Miley can be tamed and so can you; Rocky was a movie, folks; and by golly you will not feel so beautiful after day one. I'm not trying to rain on your parade here, but I think I need to explain to you some realities of this city. Now let's get one thing straight: I would not trade being here for the world. But in just two weeks, I've learned some pretty important stuff that I think may have been instrumental in surviving. So let's get this crash course running.

First off, you will not see the "Leader of the Free World" and all of Congress at the local Starbucks. In fact, I don't think you'll see them much anywhere you are. Now, you can go stand outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the hopes of seeing President Obama waving beautifully like he does or the First Lady picking vegetables in that quaint garden she's planted. But I can tell you from experience that the police start to stare, you start to sweat, and the whole thing just gets very awkward very quick. Your time is better used moving on to any one of the, oh yeah, OTHER things that there are actually to do. See those monuments! Visit those museums! At least at these places may provide you with marble renditions of your dreams. Hey, it's something!

Second, building on these museums and monuments, you will in no way possible see all of D.C. in a single day. If you think you will or even assert you did, then I'm not sure what D.C. we are discussing here. In my first full day here, my friend and I only got through the Smithsonian Museum of American History in a single day. We spent most of an entire other day just walking around D.C., seeing the landmarks and monuments. By day three, my friend and I were seeking something more. And my friends, there's more within just half an hour of the city center! You can go see Arlington. You can go shopping at Pentagon City. Or you can visit Great Falls Park just across the Virginia border. That's what we did! For just $10, we spent the whole day with nature and had a pretty lovely lunch.

A lovely picture of Great Falls Park located in McLean, VA.

Now Great Falls Park might require a car, unless you're a very brave soul and are just up for a hike. However, pretty much everything else I've done here has been done with public transit. BUT! Guess what? (This is my third point, if you're taking notes.) The Metro will tame you like you haven't been tamed! Sure, it's set up great and is one of the cleanest subway systems in the nation. Everyone has to learn the ropes, though. You're going to go looking for a station and go six miles in the wrong direction. You're going to ride the wrong train for three stops before a kind resident sees your stares of desperation. And guess what? It's going to be just what you need. I learned by getting so lost I thought I was in a different continent. But now, with just two weeks, I think I may or may not have tamed the beast. I haven't tried the buses though...well, let's move on!

Finally, my friends, it's important to note that D.C. is a city that involves incredible amounts of walking. Oh it's great and all to see everything, but it will beat the daylights right out of you. And then there's the lovely 95 degree weather! Now I wear a two-piece suit to work daily, but luckily you don't have to! Well, at least, not yet. But just get used to it! You will sweat. Your feet will wonder why they are still functioning. Your friend will probably question your sanity. It's all good! This is exactly what needs to be happening!

So the moral of the story is that just like getting to D.C., being in D.C. is just as much a challenge. Yet, it is a challenge that can be met and conquered! I would say that two weeks here have taught me these important lessons among many others. I hope you took notes. And I hope you still want to come to D.C.! If you don't, then I think I may be out of a blog. So come! We an adventure together. Until then, I will sweat and saunter around for us both!

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