Taken in front of the Washington Monument on my second day in D.C.
Time is a weird thing. Waiting to come to D.C. felt like an eternity, ever since I first submitted my application to The Washington Center (TWC) program back in January. But the moment I landed at the Baltimore airport on a rainy Wednesday, everything’s been a whirlwind. Two weeks and a half into this trip, and I think I’m finally settled in.
The verdict so far?
D.C. is really, really great. All my worries about feeling alone in a big American city have proven fruitless. One of the main things I love about D.C. is what a friendly city it is, despite its imposing architecture and frenzied pace. Part of that might be due to the low-rise buildings. High-rises are a no-no in this city, so you don’t get the sense that you’re some ant scurrying around a metropolis, like in New York City.
In any case, I promised that I would chronicle my summer in D.C., but that proved to be a challenge the first couple of weeks. Now that I’ve gotten into the groove of things, my hope is that I can blog a few times a week, if not daily. This entry will obviously be longer, since I’ve got a bunch of stuff to recap, but bear with me!
I might have been most nervous about this prior to getting here. First, I’m not in TWC’s main residence, which is called the Residential and Academic Facility (RAF). They just built that complex a few years ago, and it’s where they host most of the classes (you have to take one academic course on top of your internship). Around 70% of TWC students are situated at the RAF. I, on the other end, have ended up in a luxury apartment complex just outside of D.C. in Rockville, Maryland.
When I first walked in, I was blown away. This is definitely not your average student dorm. Instead, it’s a full-fledged apartment, with a spacious living room, a large kitchen stocked with new dishes and utensils, two bedrooms (one of them a master suite with a jacuzzi in the bathroom), and two bathrooms. It’s also air-conditioned (!) and quiet (!!). Oh, and there’s a washer/dryer IN the apartment. Yup, it doesn’t get better than this.
My roommates are also great, and by some freak coincidence, one of them interns with me at the same place — Double R Productions (more on that in a second). Oh, and another stroke of luck — I ended up with a room to myself, since our fourth roommate was a no-show. Although I could certainly survive sharing a room with somebody else, I really do love having my own privacy and being able to Skype obnoxiously with my friends and parents.
The downside to living in the MD residence as opposed to the RAF is that you don’t get to socialize as much with your peers. A lot of the friends I made the first couple days of orientation are situated at the RAF, and it’s hard to justify a 40-minute metro ride between those two places if you want to hang out. Plus, the cost of commuting from the MD residence to work is exorbitant — nearly $10 every day. But there’s definitely a great crew of people at the MD residence, and we’ve hung out a couple of times in the building’s pub, playing pool (failing at it, of course), and just chatting about our time here.
I started my internship at Double R Productions last week, following a lovely Memorial Day weekend that included a lot of rest, touring D.C. monuments and museums, and attending a concert at the Capitol. The commute to work isn’t too bad — around 45 minutes, give or take. It’s also great that the metro station is a five-minute walk from my apartment.
On that note, I’m always amused when I hear people freak out about the Metro here. By no means is Edmonton’s LRT as elaborate as D.C.’s metro system, but I’ve definitely learned to stand on the right and walk on the left on escalators — something that many of peers had to learn for themselves the hard way.
So far, I’m pretty happy with my internship. Mind you, it’s not exactly what I had in mind when I first applied to TWC (I was more so heading in the direction of print journalism), but I realize it’s incredibly valuable having solid video production skills under your belt in the evolving journalism industry.
Plus, everybody at Double R is so friendly, and my boss is fantastic (and hilarious). She took me out to the Canadian embassy last week for a swanky art reception, and I had a wonderful time. A lot of my fellow TWC interns seem displeased with their internships in terms of the work they’re doing, so I feel pretty grateful for having ended up at Double R.
Aaand, on that note, I’m gonna wrap things up. I’ve got a whole bunch of other things I want to blog about, but rather than force you to read some mammoth blog entry, I’ll break things up in to manageable chunks. Sayonara (for now)!