Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/24/09 - 5/31/09: Week Before Work

Monday, 5/23/09 (Memorial Day)

I still haven't gotten used to sleeping in the new place and woke up at 8:30 am to the sun filling only my half of the room. Being Memorial Day and in our nation's capital, I decided to be a good tourist and go to Arlington Cemetery for the wreath laying ceremony on the Unknown Soldier's Tomb. Unfortunately, about 10,000 other people had the same idea. Nevertheless I made it on to crowded Metro and walked through the cemetery, stopping by all the "must-see" graves. The ceremony was already filled by the time I even got into the cemetery, but I was able to stand right outside it and hear the cannons fired and then listen to Obama speak and lay down a wreath, and finally got a glimpse of him as he got into his limo surrounded by 8 different black town cars and SUVs and several secret service agents...pretty cool. The cemetery was also filled with people from every different veteran's organization and everyone was in uniform, which definitely made it a unique and worthwhile experience.

After a long morning there, I went to the Memorial Day Parade with some Michigan students who are working here this summer. Overall, it was a pretty crappy parade. A few floats, a lot of high school bands, and about 3 hours long. But we did get to see the Groves marching band and Ms. District of Columbia was on my train back, so I can't say it was all that bad.

I then made my way back to GWU to hang out with people I met at the parade. They are living at SigEp fraternity for the summer and I have to say, I was a little taken back at how different fraternities are at GWU than UofM. Nice townhouse with a beautiful common area and a kitchen that is clean enough to see the floor. After hanging out there for a little bit I went to Chinatown for dinner with some more Michigan kids. I hope we went to an uncharacteristic place, because the food was no better than Lucky Kitchen on South U. and twice as expensive. I hope my next dining experience is a little better...and a little cheaper.

I'm calling it an early night tonight because everyone starts work tomorrow and already headed back home.

Tuesday, 5/24/09

The weather was pretty crappy, so I lounged around until my roommate Scott arrived. After doing a little more shopping and running errands with them, there was a pizza party for the LCWS program. I'm not in the program, but instead just using them for their incredible housing amenities. Later I just watched the Orlando-Cleveland basketball game in one of the rooms of some people I met at the pizza party. These kids are from all over the country and are working in just about every field in this city. One kid from Gettysburg is working at CBS News. Turns out that when you watch the news and in the backdrop are the rooms/offices filled with computers...only about 2 of the people sitting in the room are actually working, the rest of the people are just placed there to look like the news station is busy. Another girl is working at the Dept. of Defense in the Missile Defense unit. She works half the time at the Pentagon, so she already had some cool stories after just one week of work.

Wednesday, 5/25/09

This morning I got up to go to the Hill and visit my Congress-persons' offices. Unfortunately Congress isn't in session this week so it wasn't too busy down there and in the gov't buildings, but it was still really fun to walk around and explore. I might have a chance to meet Rep. Gary Peters next Friday if I am not working.

Scott and I later just made it in time to watch the Champions League final soccer match at a bar in Arlington called Summer's. It was an incredible atmosphere to watch the game. Everyone was a die-hard soccer fan and were all really drunk. We had to stand the entire game because there were no seats available, but we met some interesting characters while there, which made for a great time. Barcelona won 2-0, and fights almost broke out between some of the Man. U fans and one crazy Barcelona fan.

After a long nap, we went to a bar in Foggy Bottom/GWU to watch the Red Wings win game 5 against Chicago and advance to the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately the last Metro train leaves at midnight, so we had to call it a night after the game.

Thursday, 5/26/09

Scott and I went to the American History Museum in the afternoon. Great exhibits and so much to see, but it was filled with school groups and kids running around who have no idea how to control the volume of their voices. We managed to see just abut every exhibit, probably spending close to 3 hours there. Highlights included the Abraham Lincoln exhibit and the innovation of transportation, as well as a mother at the Jewish immigrant exhibit explaining to her son that she wasn't surprised to not see her small Tennessee town highlighted as a place where too many Jews settled.

From there we walked to the Capitol to get a tour from our friend Max who is working at Senator Durbin's (R - Ill.) office. Definitely a good time, and it was all worth it because I got a private ride on the subway that travels underground from building to building on the Hill.

We later went out to Dupont Circle to hang out for a little bit, but again had to be back before midnight.

Friday, 5/29/09

The weather was pretty bad all day, so I lounged around most of the day. We ended up later going just playing a lot of frisbee later in the afternoon at Iwo Jima Memorial Park right across the street from our apartment. We did a little exploring around Rosslyn and found Ray's Hell Burger, which is where Obama and Biden went a few weeks ago for lunch, so we'll definitely have to eat there some time soon...if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

Later that night we went out to some bars around Foggy Bottom and hung out with a few kids in that area.

Saturday, 5/30/09

It was the first day of great weather all week. We went down and hung out by the pool for a little bit and finally got a little sun. Later I went with a few friends out to Baltimore to watch the Orioles-Tigers game. What seemed like a pretty straightforward trip turned out to be a very long adventure. We had to take the Metro to the end of the Green Line (30 minutes), transfer to a bus to take us to the Baltimore Airport (40 minutes, plus a 30 minute wait for the bus), and then transfer to a LightRail train (25 minutes). Overall it took about 3 hours to get to the stadium.

It turned out later to all be worth it, though. Right outside the stadium is a ton of stuff going on. A whole street of bars is blocked off and there are hundreds of people outside drinking cheap beer and tents selling grilled food and crab cakes. It's definitely something you don't see around Comerica Park. The stadium itself is great too. There turned out to be a ton of Detroit fans there and we ended up sitting in a section filled with them. It made for a great time as we all sat by our phones, refreshing the page to see the score of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup. The Tigers won 6-3, Justin Verlander getting the win and Clete Thomas hitting 2 home runs. I got plenty of comments as I wore my lucky Red Wings jersey around all night.

I later met up with Scott and Max to go to Georgetown after another long trip back filled with more bus and train transfers and meeting a lot of very interesting people. Gtown a great place at night. It was filled with college kids and bars down every street. Exhausted, we finally made it back to our place around 3:00 am.

Sunday, 5/31/09

I got my first real good sleep in of the week. Scott and I made it out to the National Zoo in Adams Morgan though around 2:00 pm. It was a beautiful day out, perfect zoo weather. We spent a good 3 hours there...the place just never ends, it has everything...and of course we saw it all. Highlights included seeing the pandas, watching the 5,000 lb. hippo dive into the pool, and a few entertaining antics from the monkeys. Incredible zoo, but for the most part didn't see much out of the animals. Our tax dollars really need to go to training these animals to move and entertain us when we come see them.

We got home to watch the Red Wings win game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and got ready for the first day of work in the morning. Gotta get up bright and early, 9:00 am I'll be at the Hoover Building at 14th and Constitution.