Well week 3 has officially come to an end and, unlike week 2, it was much more calm (thank you, Lord). It was also nice because I got to meet up with my Aunt Ann while she was in town for work and Josh and I got to spend some time with his dad while he was also in town for work (thank you for all the meals! It was very appreciated, especially the steak). I mostly spent this week trying to catch up on some of the work that I did not get to complete because of last week’s craziness for my internship at the Endangered Species Coalition. I am LOVING my experience at the ESC so far. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be working for them this summer. Already only 3 weeks in and I feel like I have learned so much about the organization and the nonprofit sector. I love that I get to work pretty independently, but also have the option to participate in group work, like conference calls about upcoming projects and updates with the field team.
On Tuesday, the LTAP program hosted the first event in a series called Across the Aisle at the Capitol Building. This series gives us the amazing opportunity to listen to senators from (you guessed it) both sides of the aisle (and even the middle of the aisle) speak. This week, we heard Senator Angus King from Maine speak about his career journey and his views on various political topics. I personally think Angus King was the best person to kick off this series with because he perfectly addressed the importance of bipartisanship in politics.
Wednesday night was a VERY fun night because I attended the annual congressional baseball game at Nationals Park and, after finishing my hotdog and only 2 innings into the game, I realized congressmen are not that great at baseball. But it was pretty entertaining to watch their attempts. Unfortunately, the game was going just a little too slow to hold my attention plus my friends and I wanted to get back to campus to watch the first night of the Democratic Debates. For anyone that was looking forward to hearing how the game ended, I did hear that the Democrats won the game 14-7. It was really cool to watch the debates with other young people that are committed to being informed citizens. The best part was that it did not matter what side of the political spectrum you lean towards or what your background is–the main reason we are all here in D.C. participating in this program is to become better, more informed citizens that can participate in civil discourse and exchange ideas about the biggest issues facing our generation and country.
On Friday we had our third site visit with our LTAP class to Ford’s Theater. I really enjoyed this visit because we spent the morning participating in an oral speaking workshop and got to read excerpts from some of most notable speeches of several presidents. After the workshop, we got to explore the museum and actually go inside the theater. It is a very surreal thing to be in the same room staring at the chair where President Lincoln was assassinated over 150 years ago. It makes you wonder about the the kind of place the United States were in then and where they are now, you would be surprised at some of the similarities you could still find.
I took advantage of the extra free time this week to reflect a lot on my experience thus far here in D.C. And, honestly, the best way I could describe it is exciting, yet strange. Exciting because, for a political science major like myself, having the opportunity to spend a couple months living in the nation’s capitol is an absolute dream; yet, strange because I am constantly reminding myself that only a little over a month ago I was living on a completely different continent. Now, that might seem like a lot of time, but it is still such strange concept to comprehend. I can tell that the culture shock has not yet hit in full force, perhaps it is because I am still in new surroundings; but, I am constantly very aware of all the differences between my life here in the states and the life I had in Spain. Both equally amazing and full of people I love. I guess what I am trying to say is that life is just so crazy weird–full of exciting, yet strange experiences. One day you are galavanting across Europe on charter busses and the next day you are pushing your way through the crowds at the metro station to get to work on time. The best part about both of these experiences–Spain and D.C.–is that they were both dreams of mine that I never ever would have thought would become realities.