Home, Sweet Home, Home, Home

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Yes, Washington DC is starting to feel like home.  The thought of leaving in just a month overwhelms me, and I wonder when I will be back.  Where will I call my home?  I realize that I’ve been blessed to call three incredibly wonderful places my home – West Linn (Portland), OR; Santa Barbara, CA; and Washington, DC.  The question, “Where are you from?” has grown increasingly difficult to answer.

A few weeks ago, at the National Cathedral, I walked into the Hall of States, which includes state flags and a guestbook for each state.  I couldn’t help but wonder, Which book should I sign – Oregon or California? I know Californians everywhere are griping about the fact that a girl from Oregon wants to call herself a Californian.  However, I submit to you this: Anything below sixty-five degrees is cold, I feel most comfortable in flip flops, and I’m pretty sure the ocean is calling my name right now.  Meanwhile, my Oregon side recites its case: Powell’s Books, dependable rain accompanied by actual seasons (which do not exist in California), and luscious green beauty.  One day I tell my friends I’m a Californian because I’m FREEZING and the next day I’m clearly an Oregonian because they sell the most Christmas trees.  And now, Washington DC is entering the picture and becoming an undeniable part of me.  I’m sure I’ll soon be fighting for the cherry blossoms, WMATA, and Library of Congress.

Well, to finish my story, I ended up signing the Oregon book.  After all, I’d like to think I’m a loyal person, true to my roots.  However, in the midst of this predicament I found something special. On the front cover of the book was a prayer for Oregon. Naturally, I had to read the prayers for California and DC, too.  So, perhaps you will join me in praying for my homes:

A Prayer for Oregon

Author of all majesty, how bright is Thy glory upon the land of Oregon!

Blessed by the trees upon their hills, the valleys in their verdure,

and the dry places waiting their turn of fertility.

Praise be to Thee for the precious gift of rain:

drawn into heaven from the sea, caught again upon the snowy peaks,

returning fruitfully down the strong rivers

giving life to Thy people in their orchards and city places.

May their lives be likewise lifted to Thee, and blessed and sent again

to do Thy service upon the earth.

So may the land be renewed, and the souls of Thy servants;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

A Prayer for California

Golden state, golden state who posts the watch on Farrallon’s isles?

Who lifts up Shasta’s snowy crown and keeps the high passes of Sierra Nevada?

Tis Thee, O Lord, who hast ringed a royal valley with such ramparts.

That within, blessing may lie among the palms and poppies,

the orchards and vineyards and manmade waterways.

Praise the good monks in their missions;

Drake in his ship; pioneers and settlers;

who all sought life in Thy Name

from Tahoe’s emerald blue to the surf dancing upon the breathless coast.

Hallow, O Lord, our questing too:

that we may behold the beauty of Thy truth;

far off among the stars and close in the charters

we devise that peace and friendship may endure upon the lovely face of earth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

 

A Prayer for the District of Columbia

Sanctify anew, Thou Ruler of Destiny,

this bit of federal soil which our forefathers set apart from any State

to nourish the high mission of our common government.

Bless, O Lord, the precious branches planted here:

The deep-rooted responsibility of Law, the even measure of Justice,

and the leadership aptly chosen and held aloft before our people.

Grant to all who serve in this District

the same vision that drew Columbus to a new world, and a kindred steadiness of purpose

to that of the first President whose name and flag we bear.

So by Thy grace may we be worthy of that special place given to a capital city

in Thy holy name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

Filling in the Facts with Photos

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A view from the Mt. Vernon Bike Trail along the Potomac River

I rode 18 miles along the trail… this was an accomplishment for me!

Touring the diplomatic reception rooms at the State Department with my parents

My family and I went to Boston for the weekend

Enjoying the Boston Public Gardens

My sister and I did a photo shoot… she’s mastered the art of looking snarky and beautiful!

For fall break, I got the opportunity to go to New York City for the weekend.

The Brooklyn Bridge on a chilly but gorgeous day

I feel obligated to include a photo of the State of Liberty! (from the Staten Island Ferry)

Central Park from the Belvedere Castle

The Metropolitan Museum of Art gives the Louvre some serious competition!

A Week in the Life of a non-Intern

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I apologize for not updating my blog in awhile – this last week has been jam-packed.  Unfortunately, this will be more of an informative rather than a reflective blog post.  I hope to write something more substantial later.

While everyone else in the program started their internships this week, I was unable to start because of a pending security clearance investigation.  To make up for this, I had to put together a proposal of how I would spend at least 20 hours in the city in ways related to my internship.  Here’s what this week had in store:

– Reading the Nuclear Posture Review and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, and also catching up on Russian news on RIA Novosti

– Exploring the Library of Congress, including the European Reading Room and the Performing Arts Room as well as an exhibit on flutes (YES!) and Thomas Jefferson’s rather magnificent library (“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson)

– Listening to a lecture by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the National Archives (Yes, I bought his new book, and yes, I got it signed!)

– Getting a private tour of President Woodrow Wilson’s home and learning more about his ideals (League of Nations), successes, and failures (“The presidency has made every man who occupied it, no matter how small, bigger than he was; and no matter how big, not big enough for its demands.” – Lyndon B. Johnson)

– Strolling through Embassy Row and not taking a photo of the Croatian Embassy because of the guard’s piercing glare

– Buying a Washington D.C. mug at Starbucks (I couldn’t resist…)

– Hearing a lecture about the current state of affairs in Russia at Georgetown (which happened to include a delicious complimentary lunch – I wasn’t complaining!)

– Pretending to be a Georgetown student as I explored the university (I’m checking out their master’s programs in Security Studies and Conflict Resolution, as well as their PhD in Government)

– Tasting cupcakes at the three best cupcakeries in Washington DC (see ranking below)

1. Georgetown Cupcakes (I tried their chocolate banana cupcake and it was simply superb, perfectly rich and moist with a satisfying cupcake-frosting ratio!)

2. Hello Cupcake (I tried their chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting)

3. Red Velvet Cupcakery (I tried their “Wake Up Call” chocolate cupcake with expresso infused frosting)

* Note: My favorite cupcakery, Whodidily Cupcakes in Santa Barbara, would certainly beat out Hello Cupcake and Red Velvet Cupcakery, but Georgetown Cupcakes would give them a run for their money!

– And tomorrow (Friday), I get to tour the prestigious residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House (cue “West Wing” music!)

I guess it turns out that not interning isn’t as bad as it sounds… However, I got an e-mail today that my security clearance was granted (an answer to prayer) and so I suppose I’ll return to the working life. Wish me luck!

I’ve officially made it…

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I’ve  braved the humidity and heat to make the one mile trek to the nearest metro stop, filled my Metro SmarTrip card with fare money, and got a library card for the Library of Congress manuscript reading room. I’m officially here!

Actually getting here was a much less pleasant experience… On the bright side, I can cross leaving an item behind at the airport, having my bag searched, not sleeping through a red-eye flight, and taking a taxi-cab off my life-experience check list.  It has been fun settling into my new apartment.  My roommates are really friendly and the location is phenomenal. I’ve got to post a picture of the fabulous view from our roof top – the Capitol is RIGHT THERE!

Today we had orientation and we were given a weekend scavenger hunt to orient us to the city. While my group has only checked two items off our list (getting the Library of Congress reading room card and finding the Titanic Memorial), I do feel like I’m understanding the city layout better. Well, I hope to write more soon, but this post is just to let you all know that I’ve arrived safely!

Yes, I meant to keep the stop symbol in the photo.  I liked the symbolism of the powerful presence of the Capitol and the powerless position of the pedestrian. I guess there’s just this part of me that really wants to be an artistic photographer! I’m hoping to really improve my photo skills this semester.