Thursday, June 28, 2012

Witness to history.

I witnessed some history today. After getting poor sleep and waking up to feel like I was coming down with a cold, I got to work and opened the Supreme Court blog to realize that there was no way I could let this happen a mile away and not be part of it. So, without warning or planning, I grabbed my purse and ran to the bus stop. I got off at the wrong stop and had to book it across the Capitol lawn. Weaving through a HUGE throng of people, I finally managed to find K and her co-workers right in front of the Supreme Court just as the cheers started up from the crowd. It was total chaos after that – protestors on both sides were going back and forth. A Tea Party "advocate" had a sound system and was condemning the Court for not reading the Constitution. There were boos and cheers and hugs and people looking every emotion possible. My little group (two of which I had not met prior to today) hugged and took photos. It was truly an experience.

And I almost didn’t go. I am so glad that I can still be spontaneous and that I realize just how amazing this summer really is for me.

I am proud to be an American today.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time is flying by!

I realized that I have been here for THREE weeks already! Where does the time go? I wish I could slow it down because I am really enjoying it here. I could use an extra day of weekend time, though. ;)

Work is going well. I am working on some civil rights issues that are really important to me (policing practices), and I feel extraordinarily lucky to have the opportunity to do that. Our office is in a bit of transition with some attorneys leaving and some new ones coming. It's a small section of the division anyway, so it is quite the upheaval. Everyone I work with has been absolutely wonderful. A lot of interesting events are set up for us as well. So far we've attended a Pride celebration at which the AG himself spoke, and we had a breakfast in the office of the Asst AG in charge of Civil Rights. He is a dynamic, interesting man, and it was a good experience to hear him greet us. There are a couple of brown bag events happening, as well as some speaking events for us to attend. This is a well designed plan for interns, and I appreciate it. I feel truly appreciated by everyone there. So, yeah, I could gush on more about work, but we'll leave it at this.

School is a couple weeks in. I am taking a twice-weekly class in governmental litigation. It's a pretty interesting course so far. The professor is a DOJ attorney, and he has a lot of good stories. He also brings snacks, so you can't really beat that. Honestly, though, I am glad I am taking the class. It's a good opportunity and the material is right up my alley. It does suck to have to trek out to Howard Law twice a week after work, but I get to see some good peeps in the class, which makes up for it.

I have met some great people, too. Some of them I knew in Seattle, some I didn't. I am enjoying getting to know new friends, and I've also had the chance to see a few old friends, too. I had dinner just last night with some friends I met via pen palling *years* ago. One lives here now, and the other was in town from Australia! The opportunity to meet in person was pretty neat. I have also caught up with at least one old friend from high school (talk about years ago!), and I may see a few more before I leave. It's amazing how many people I know in the DC area.

This past weekend I took a little trip, too. Being on this coast means close proximity to neat places. I took the Megabus (inexpensive double decker bus) to Philadelphia. I met my friend Nikki there, and we  stayed over at her place in suburban DC Friday night. Then, we took the train back in Saturday and did touristy things in Philly. We took a bus tour around the city, ate a cheesesteak, walked along South Street, all of the Philly essentials. The only bummer was that we couldn't get tickets to get into Independence Hall. I did take some photos from the outside. I guess all this means is that I need to go back to Philly!

I will try to post some photos I've taken around DC, as well as Philly, when I get the chance. I hope also to post here a little more!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First week impressions

I've now got two days of work under my belt at the summer internship. Yesterday was all training, and we didn't even get to go to our sections, so today felt like the first day. Yesterday we got the background info, got our ID badges, did a computer training, and did a lot of socializing. I have met a lot of people from a lot of different places - New York, DC, Minnesota, North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, even a guy who is from Central Texas!

My section is quite small, and there are only three other interns there. One of them is supposed to be leaving within a week or two. The two main supervisors for us are out of town right now, so things are a little slow. They should pick up rapidly once they return. I am really excited to get to work because there are so many cool things on the horizon.

Monday was, of course, a holiday, and I attended a parade along Constitution Avenue. It was extremely hot and humid that day, and I surprised myself by attending the parade. I originally intended to visit the National Museum of American History, but I ended up finding a shady spot and waiting for the parade. It was the National Memorial Day Parade, so it celebrated veterans and the military. There were a few celebrities, some more interesting than others. (Buzz Aldrin, Chuck Yeager, and Gary Sinise on the interesting side and some guy from American Idol, a girl from The Voice, and Miss America on the less interesting side.) It was also interesting to see some veterans, especially the old timers from WWII.

When they marched by with a little banner to remember the Spanish-American War, I thought of my great-grandfather, Daniel. He was stationed in Cuba during the "War with Spain," as it is labeled in the National Archives, and he contracted malaria, which led to a variety of other health ailments. He got extremely, tragically sick and his last days were pretty awful. It was grim to read the letters and other things in his pension file at the Archives.

Last night we had a thunderstorm, which was very exciting for me. I expected it to be more severe, as they had watches and such out, but it was only an average thunderstorm. Still, it was great to hear thunder and see lightning after all of this time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Photo Post #1

A few shots from my last night in Seattle. A pretty awesome view and some amazing king salmon with tart cherries:

And doesn't this photo break your heart to pieces? It was SO hard to leave my little man behind! It's as if he is saying, "Don't go, Mommy!"

A couple of shots of the Cascade Mountain Range from the air:

And, finally, sunset from the airplane:

The Adventure Begins!

I made it! The epic adventure has started. It has been an interesting journey so far.

Before I even left, we went out for one last night in Seattle. I chose a very Seattle restaurant, Ivar's Salmon House on Lake Union. We got a lakeside seat outside (it seems hilarious that I remember being cold because since I've been in DC, I feel like I will never be cool again), and we took in each other's company and the scenery. I enjoyed some amazing king salmon from Copper River (you can't get salmon anywhere like you can in the Pac NW!). It was a good send off.

I arrived at the airport bright and early Saturday morning for my flights to DC. It was a tearful goodbye, but then it was off and running through security. To my surprise, I ran into a colleague from school that is also working in DC this summer. She was on both of my flights, and on the first leg, she was in the row across from me. We talked the teenage boy scheduled to sit next to me to change with her, and we had a nice conversation most of the way to Denver. It was a terribly bumpy ride into Denver because the area was under a High Wind Warning with gusts as high as 60 or 70 mph. We were both feeling a little nauseous by the time we touched down in the Mile High. The first thing I saw when I got off the plane was a sign indicating a tornado shelter. They were all over the airport. I was impressed.

After the Denver connection, we arrived in DC around 9:50pm EST. I had a window seat, but I was on the right side of the plane, so I only had a view of the WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial as we almost flew into it.. I mean flew into DCA. (Reagan/National is like Midway in the sense that you're like, "There's an airport here? Or are we crashing into civilization?") After getting our bags and going to grab a cab (and being smacked with a wave of solid hot humidity even in the late hour), I parted ways with my colleague and headed to my house.

My landlords are out of town for the long weekend, so it was just the other tenant when I arrived. He was very helpful and friendly. He even walked me to a nearby pizza place to grab a slice since I hadn't been able to eat dinner in my travels. I got settled into my room, learned the basics of the house (which is amazingly gorgeous, but being quite old has its quirks), and then I watched some Hulu before going to bed. I was not prepared for how quiet it was. I haven't lived somewhere that is silent in years. In Chicago, we had the city sounds. In Seattle, we've lived in busy roads in both locations, and both were near fire stations, so sirens are common. Here the silence was piercing. My ears felt strange. It was also warmer inside than my body was accustomed to, so I got a fan for the room. Provides some sound and some wind. :)

I haven't done much else yet other than visit Target, which did involve a train there and bus back. It's like Chicago all over again, except that our summer in Chicago was record cool and rainy, so there was little trekking through the city in 85 degrees with 70% humidity. This Florida-Texan needs to get her Southern mojo back!

Picture post to come next!