Hit the ground running with baby steps and platform shoes.

Hit the ground running with baby steps and platform shoes.

Origin stories seem to be all the rage in Hollywood these days. Thor, Captain America, the X-Men, Green Lantern, you name it! Suddenly people are interested in just how and why larger-than-life characters reached the point that they are in their lives. If you ask me, a superhero truly deserving of an origin story would be Snowbird, who has the power to transform into any animal native to northern Canada:


But I digress. While I may not be imbued with the powers of a mystical ring, mutated genetics, or ability to transform into a moose (which would surely come in handy in these humid conditions), I think now would be a good time to tell you all the background story of how I got here. And as I sit at this table at 12:35 a.m. accompanied by an impromptu bowl of chili pasta, I know that 1) I have a horrible sleep schedule and 2) nearly three weeks into my time here I haven't given myself enough time to appreciate...well, exactly how much time has passed! There will be plenty of time to talk about the accumulated experiences I have had so far in D.C. (in fact expect a post by Friday or Saturday) so buckle up,we're traveling to the long-forgotten time of May 2011...

Pie in the Sky. Oh and Parents too.

Before you all can hear my epic tale of eventual self-discovery I suppose I should start with -you guessed it- some more background information. I  never had any siblings, and because of this not only has that made me rely more to imaginary friends during my childhood, this fact has also made my parents....um, let's just say a little more concerned than usual about me being away from home for the first time.

some more This is not just a clever Internet picture symbolizing helicopter parenting. This really happened. Well, kind of. Shortly after it was announced that I was accepted into this fine program, my parents reached out to my grandparents and they in turn allowed us to stay with them starting May 27, ten full days before I was supposed to check in. I thought to myslef "Ten days? Really? Like I needed that much mental and emotional preparation to prepare for my newfound independence and super happy fun fest ahead?"  But in time I accepted the situation as my parents' effort to maximize as much time as possible they would have left with their one and only son. So where does the picture of the flying car come in? Well, they packed a lot more things than I could ever have imagined needing. In all honestly it looked like they were preparing for a long extended road trip! They might as well have packed a car with reasonable trunk space and placed it on the plane.

Totally Trippin'

My time at my grandma's place was a mixture of peaceful lounging, unforgettable trips, and last-minute lessons on how to live own your own without starving/looking like a slob/becoming a social pariah, etc. The quiet, wooded homes in Crownsville, MD provided a nice backdrop that would allow me to squeeze in a few days of rest. My favourite (with a "u", I prefer it that way) local site has to be the Amish market. I have to admit when I first heard that we were going to the Amish market, I was expecting something like this:

Boy was I wrong. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised, though.

The facility was a plethora of sights, smells, sounds, and sugar. Oh my the sweetness of it all. I bet my dentist could feel it from three thousand miles away.

One would be hard pressed to find an establishment that sells more delicious cornbread than the stuff found here (no, seriously; I think about it in my sleep):

These guys have it made in the shade, methinks.

While staying with my grandparents, I also got the opportunity to visit Baltimore (well, the touristy party) and New York City. We spent a majority of our time there at the National Aquarium, but it was a worthwhile trip that you have to experience for yourself. It has a nice mix of fishies, scale things, and even the occasional furry wonder to keep you interested.

Big Lights Will Inspire You

When I first laid eyes on Manhattan on June 2, I have to say I was pretty captivated.It may be the whole sheltered child thing talking, but lately I have grown fond of busy metropolises where people walk fast and think faster. And, being so far from home, I could go out on my own volition and have Pokemon adventures! Erm, I mean a strong foray into adulthood.

Seriously, I thought D.C. was big and all but now...wow. Everything is on such a bigger scale than the Beltway.No wonder aliens/monsters/evil robots are always messing with this city in films.

It was there I met my older cousin who practices law in the city. She talked to me for hours about how it is to practice there, the law schools, the wonders of the Subway, and then suggested areas with cheap apartments if I was to go to law school there (a goal that I am now dreaming of endlessly). Oh, what a dream.

Oh, did I mention the giant LEGO store in Rockefeller Center? This totally seals the deal for me.

Boot Camp aka Tumble Dry for Dummies

So what else was I doing in the ten days leading up to check in? Why, practcing important life skills that have taken me an embarassingly long time to learn/master. These include:

  • cooking
  • doing laundry
  • ironing
  • sharing a room
  • delegating chores

You would think that as a college student with reasonably good grades and competence could easily figure this out. Sadly, my college education at this point has not been able to help me learn the complexities of removing wrinkles from sleeves. Or how to tell if water is boiling, for that matter.

Don't worry; I got better.

Rest assured, these magical skills would be acquired...eventually. I was a master of riding the Metro from the start, though (more on that later).

This wasn't just a time of transition for me, however. I haven't thought about it until just a couple days ago, but now I realize that throughout those last couple of days before returning to not-humid San Diego, my parents were trying to cope with the idea that I would not be a daily presence in their lives for quite some time. I tried my best to ease them through this process, promising to call and skype occasionally and allowing them to accompany me all the way up to my new apartment.

Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? No, really. That's creepy. Please tell her to stop. (Reflections Now)

After we said our goodbyes, I reflected on how just how big a change this program would be for my family and me. This lasted about two minutes until I realized the great degree of independence I had just garnered, spending that first night not dutifully preparing for orientation the next day but rather staying up to watch a movie and socialize with my roommates and their friends. But now, with two and a half weeks transpired and excitement over the big new city waning, I feel it would be a good time to think about what has changed since late last May. I am proud to say that I am not going hungry or wearing dirty, wrinkled clothes (still can't quite get those sleeves right,though). The euphoric feeling of freedom has been tempered quite a bit by the mountain of assignments I have been tasked with completing, giving way to the highly important task of saving money (considering Starbucks drinks and Metro rides to work are about $2:50 each, this is easier said than done). However, I am happily relieved by the fact that my parents seem to be adjusting well to my abscence, satisfied with the daily phone call and weekly Skype session. Perhaps, and this is just a thought, perhaps by the end of all this I'll be sick of the humidity and the high food prices and won't be able to wait to come back to my parents and sunny, fair San Diego. But for now, my folks and I are managing just fine. A spontaenous trip to get pizza and feek free from the office now and then doesn't hurt, though.

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

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