Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 10: From Tourist to Tour Guide

This Saturday I met my Aunt, and cousins from Virginia for dinner in Chinatown near where I work. The last time we had met up in DC was the very first day I had arrived. I was fresh off the plane- with a huge suitcase and no idea what to expect. That day my Aunt was in charge. She picked me up from the airport, explained the metro system, and helped me find my check-in location. We ate at TGI Friday's for lack of insider knowledge

10 weeks later and our experience couldn't have been more different. This time I picked the location- an area I know well. I explained to my family how to get there via metro. I walked around the city with confidence- pointing out now-familiar landmarks. I recommended the restaurant- a hole-in-the-wall with excellent Chinese food and reasonable prices. Afterwards I suggested we walk home- a stroll that takes us past the White House. It was a truly wonderful DC night.

I've changed a lot in the time I've been in DC. I'm not sure when exactly I stopped being a tourist and became a resident- but the transition has definitely happened. I take the metro and walk the streets with confidence- no small feat for someone who relies on her GPS to get to her local grocery store back home. I've seen museums and monuments. Had delicious meals, interesting conversations, lots of laughs. I've met incredible people who have done incredible things. And I've learned more in 10 weeks than I have in years at school.

Don't get me wrong- there is still lots to do and I plan to enjoy every bit of my last week in DC. I have lots of stuff to look forward to still. An AAPD reception at my placement on Tuesday, shadowing a senator on Wednesday, and a tour of the White House Thursday. Just a typical week here in the nation's capitol.

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