26 February 2010

A Bullfeathers Birthday and Midterms

This past week brought my 21st birthday...and midterms unfortunately. I started off my week by counting every page that was in the collection I have been cataloging at work. Apparently, the company that does the digitizing needs to know a rough estimate -- within a thousand pages! A thousand pages! So I ended up spending my entire day counting to 11,000! Have you ever tried counting to 11,000? Don't. Ever.

Tuesday was another day of work, but I didn't have to count anything! Instead, I got to integrate documents from another collection into the collection that I've been cataloging! Sounds thrilling, huh? It was pretty interesting though since most of the documents dealt with trips overseas. I was definitely living vicariously through them! Tuesday also began the birthday celebrations as I went out to lunch with my internship supervisor. We went to Bertucci's for some pretty awesome Italian food! Then just when I was feeling a little down and lonely, my friends surpised me with some valentine's birthday brownies! And then I opened my birthday presents at midnight. I got a Nintendo DS with a Brain Age game. I apparently have the brain of a 62 year old.

Wednesday was the 21st anniversary of my birth. I suffered through my seminar all day in anticipation of my birthday dinner. We all went out to Bullfeathers on Capitol Hill. It has a Teddy Roosevelt theme and there were a lot of government workers there -- it was a pretty cool scene. And then I successfully ordered my first drink: a gin and tonic. We had some dessert (apple pie ala mode) and then proceeded to wait for an hour for our checks! What a great waiter! But it gave us plenty of time to talk and laugh about our crazy semester in Washington, DC.

The next day was midterm day in my Holocaust class. I debated whether or not I even wanted to go to my seminar so I could stay home and study. In the end, I went down to Georgetown for my seminar and made it back to my midterm in time. I feel pretty confident about it, but we'll see!

One more week till spring break! =)

18 February 2010

In My Mind I'm Going to Dollywood...

On our Metro ride to Foggy Bottom today, we somehow got on the topic of Dolly Parton. And so then of course Dollywood naturally came up. Now, whenever we're feeling a little down, we go to Dollywood in our minds. It seemed like a good idea at the time -- until I started feeling a little (more like a lot) annoyed during our long day of site visits today. Now I'm trapped in Dollywood. I've been there just about all day with Dolly singing "I Will Always Love You" to me over and over again.

But it did give me some time to expand on my Bucket List that I started at dinner yesterday before I went to the longest community meeting ever in Dupont Circle. Here are some things I've come up with so far...

1. Go to grad school
2. Swim in the sea off the coast of Greece
3. Ride a camel
4. Write a book
5. Travel to all 50 states
6. Be in two places at once
7. Learn to fly a plane
8. Go to Australia
9. Meet the President
10. Learn to cook
11. Adopt a child from another country
12. Learn a foreign language
13. Go bobsledding in Jamaica
14. Travel with nothing but the clothes on my back and a little bit of cash
15. Retire to the Lake District to raise some sheep.

That's all for now...

14 February 2010

"Button Your Sweater..."

Friday brought us back to class for the first time all week. And then it was the weekend...

I spent my Saturday volunteering at the Washington Home and Hospice. It's a nursing home just a few blocks from my building. So I spent my morning chatting with the residents while they got their nails done. Then I ate lunch and hung out with them at "Happy Hour," which was essentially a jazz pianist playing for a couple of hours. During this time, a lady with Alzheimers started singing and dancing. And then she told me to button my sweater (which was a cardigan by the way). It was too funny! Then this lady just handed me a rabbit and told me to take it around to the residents. This was the biggest furriest rabbit I have ever seen! It looked more like a small sheep than a rabbit.

Today I went to the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Southeast DC with a few of my classmates. It was definitely an experience! I'm used to a very reserved service -- but here, there was clapping and shouting and moving around. It was awesome to see how other people worship. The highlight of the service was when one of the trustees came to the front and proposed -- on Valentines Day! The church went crazy! I really enjoyed the music too! And the people -- so beautiful and accepting. I'm not going to lie, I didn't know how they would feel about us being there. They were so welcoming though...more welcoming than any church I have ever been to in my entire life!

10 February 2010

Cabin Fever? Snow Gracias!

As I look out my third floor window (that is partially covered with snow), Snowpocalypse 2.0 is still wreaking havoc on Tenleytown. Today marks the sixth day in a row that American University has been closed. The undeniable cabin fever is setting in with a vengeance. My days have been spent reading for the most part. And calling people from home. Calling people I would never normally call. And texting...and Facebook stalking (yes, that's right, I just confessed to an ungodly amount of Facebook creeping. Remember, I'm living vicariously through all of you who can actually venture outside without facing imminent death). And watching an embarrassing amount of Gilmore Girls on DVD. I stay up late and sleep in. It sounds like a pretty good life, eh? It was pretty cool for the first few days, but the novelty is beginning to wear off. I'm ready to be able to walk down the street without wearing three pairs of socks and two pairs of pants. I'm contemplating going for a run around my building.
With our deteriorating weather situation, it appears as if the university will be closed again tomorrow. Snow day number seven. But no official word yet. Please keep me connected with the outside world, even if I do live on an island of snow.

07 February 2010

All Quiet on the Northwestern Front...

I survived Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse 2010!! The snow started Friday afternoon and continued steadily through Sunday evening. All in all, we received between 25-30 inches of snow. It's hard to tell! I do know that I have never seen so much snow in my entire life!

Friday night Facebook was abuzz with the word of a citywide snowball fight in Dupont Circle. So, me and the gang braved the snow (which was still coming down) and trekked it to the Metro. We had to walk on the road to get there...and there were people skiing right down Wisconsin Avenue! Alas, we made it there safely. And at 2:00 p.m. EST we joined the Southside in the Dupont Circle snowball fight. There were hundreds of people there! I threw my fair share of snowballs and took a few in the face as well. People were talking like it was war. They were using all the military jargon -- ranks, flanks, charges, fronts, etc.

I found the amount of community that developed to be incredible. People were actually talking to one another on the Metro. Hundreds of people were milling about as close to three feet of snow fell. And what makes it even more interesting is that these people -- this community of snow lovers, if you will -- was brought together via social media. This is a concept we have being debating in my seminar class. Does social media promote or detract from community? I think the Dupont Circle snowball fight is proof that sites like Facebook and Twitter truly can bring people together.

Today, the snow has subsided (for now). All is quiet in Northwest DC, or should I say on the Northwestern Front, as we call it now. No offense Erich Maria Remarque.

03 February 2010

Mortgage Meltdowns and Snow Storms

Some days I feel that my seminar class doesn't really relate to the rest of my college career. Ok, most days I feel that it doesn't relate. I spend the majority of time here in DC talking about community, civic engagement, gentrification, poverty, and housing. These topics aren't usually on the docket of your typical history major. Being the liberal arts student that I am, I try to make connections. Today for example, we were discussing the mortgage meltdown and housing policy. I was able to use my background in history to relate the current situation to that of the 1930s and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies. Up until then, there was no housing policy. The Roosevelt administration encouraged home ownership as well as affordable housing. It was at this time that Public Housing Authorities were created. The federal government gave money to local governments to build housing for those who couldn't afford it. However, it was only meant to be temporary and was intended for widows and the elderly. FDR's encouragement of home ownership ended up contributing to the mortgage meltdown of the early 2000's. All Americans wanted to own their own home. This led to the expansion of the mortgage market -- an expansion that went much too far.

Essentially, my seminar class is more a lesson in life than it is a lesson in academia. While I might sometimes think that it isn't relevant to my life, I know that deep down it truly is. Even if it's only relevance is that I will one day have a home of my own, and that home of my own will be in a community. All of the topics that we discuss will never go away. They will continue to be pressing issues for the rest of our lives.

So the amazing weather I was bragging about has disappeared -- gone AWOL. It's snowed twice in the past week, and --prepare yourselves for this one -- it is supposed to snow 20+ inches this weekend! Goodbye 60 degree days filled with sunshine, hello Antarctica!