Get Me in DC Lets Party on the White House Lawn
by Caroline Schwaner -- June 11th, 2015
I’d equate the feeling you get exiting the Metro to how Montague felt after he successfully apparated out of the vanishing cabinet in the fifth Harry Potter book. After extricating myself from a crowd of suits, man satchels, and Kate Spade bags, I began to breathe a sigh of relief. Crowds are not my cup of tea. But on this morning, the usual rush of relief was tainted by an email with the subject line “Death in Ecuador BC project.” Our supervisor threatened to pull the plug on the project. When I was in Madagascar, the US embassy shut down and someone was murdered in one of our villages. I was getting really nervous. Our Conservation International Ecuador contact assured us of our safety and recommended that we proceed. I have to go; I started learning Blue Caron related Spanish! “Dónde están los manglares” (Where are the mangroves!?)
Before I leave for Ecuador, I plan on exploring DC with my undergrad best friend. One of my first assignments while studying abroad in Oxford, England was to explore Oxford and report back to the class. My professor emphasized the importance of truly experiencing “place.” I have taken this lesson to heart, everywhere I go. As much as I’d love to curl up in my bedroom (formally known as the corner of the living room and a futon) and watch the newest Pretty Little Liars, I have decided to devote every second of my free time to exploring DC. I have listed the highlights below.
The Potomac River– In honor of George Washington fearlessly forging the Potomac, my two Emory University friends and I canoed across the river. At first we were a little wary…It looked liked the type of water that would either give you superpowers or a nasty bacterial infection. We imagined we were Disney’s John Smith, Pocahontas, and Meeko the racoon. A group waved us over to their large boats after they saw us struggling for a solid 20 minutes in the same exact spot. Out of the corner of our eyes we saw a man with an abnormally fancy camera (like he was shooting a Nat Geo special on safari animals) in a little Jon Boat. We surmised he was a spy casing the joint. Sadly, there were much larger boats than the ones we were on that seemed to be the focus of his attention.
Food: They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The way to my heart is through a plate of Georgia Brown’s sweet buttered biscuits and cornbread. After we were seated, we devoured the biscuits and cornbread before the waiter had filled our water glasses. We requested more and he couldn’t conceal the look of absolute disgust on his face. Three refills later, we finally got our gumbo. It was worth every calorie. What could be better than a nice Southern dinner? Brunch! I might get banned from Durham for saying this, but Founding Farmer’s Chicken and Waffles surpasses Dame’s. Founding Farmers is owned by American Farmers and has the freshest, fluffiest waffles I’ve ever eaten. Now for dessert: Georgetown cupcakes is delicious, but another Georgetown gem holds an even greater treasure: the ice cream sandwich (salty caramel ice cream swirled with dulce de leche nestled between two vegan fudgy cookies).
The Brass Monkey, Madhatter and Codmother: Confetti, jumbo slices of pizzas, rooftops, 90’s throwbacks…nuff said.
Monuments/Museums: In honor of my grandfather, a true war hero and former FBI, I visited the WWII memorial. We passed baby ducklings in the reflecting pond, reenacted some National Treasure scenes at the Lincoln memorial, tried to get into the Washington Monument, trepaised around the National Archives, sculpture garden, and National History Museum (you get to see the star spangled banner!). The highlight was the Natural History museum. We all found out how we would look as early humans.
Serial: I spent ten hours of my life devoted to SERIAL. Sarah Koenig and Julia Snyder, the creators of the podcast, held a special event at the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts. They explained the whole Mail Chimp introduction, shared accidents i.e. @serial posting that Adnan did it on facebook, and we heard a recording of Adnan flirting with Sarah.
Old Town Alexandria: My Ecuador partner (Tatiana Gutierrez) CEM’16 has an apartment in Old Town. We discussed the project, worked on our agenda, and practiced a little Spanish. We also explored the waterfront, Torpedo Factory, art galleries, and ate guac on the roof.
Quick Shoutout before I end the blog post (bringing it full circle to last time).
The real MVP: US Rep Walter Jones of North Carolina came out against Atlantic and seismic drilling. Jones did not agree with all the issues brought up to him while visiting the outer banks but he made the following comment “at least they were out there, getting their voices heard…and letting their legislators know how they felt.” I like to think that our North Carolina lobbying may have helped him reach his decision.