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!