Interning in D.C.

This past summer, I had the most incredible opportunity to intern at the United States Senate.
I’m still mad at myself for not writing while I was there, as I did SO MANY cool things, but I’m making up for that now.
First things first, D.C. really is a messed up city. In many good, bad, and beautiful ways. The hustle and bustle of business men and women in suits walking towards the capitol doing big, important things; mixed together with the onslaught of unbelievably slow-paced, wide-eyed tourists, and then top it off with the high numbers of homeless people . . . D.C. is a conglomeration of a little bit of everything. It can be said that D.C. has something fun to do every. single. day. I loved it – and would absolutely move back in a heart beat (if I have the money).
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I could go running struggling, from my Airbnb down by Potomac Metro and within a couple miles make it to the WWII Memorial and Washington Monument. (Airbnb was my way of saving money and avoiding the $2,000 a month rent for intern housing in Foggy Bottom).
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Really though, money is the key part in all of this unfortunately. I’ve had a couple job offers in D.C. available to me after graduating, but I know that I simply can’t afford to live there.
Especially considering that D.C. is the type of place where connections are everything, there wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t meeting someone for drinks or dinner to discuss future career options. The expenses rack up quickly.
I’m also not ignorant to the fact that I am extremely blessed to have afforded this internship at the hands of my parents. Without their monetary support, an experience like this would have been completely out of the question. I will continuously critique the Washington elite and Congressional internships in the sense that I believe making internships unpaid (in the most expensive city in the U.S.), it automatically keeps rich families ahead of the curve and within the elitist circle. There is absolutely no way that poor families could manage to send their children to an unpaid internship in this city, giving them a chance to break the cycle – and for that, I will always question the process.
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Aside from this, working in the Senate was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences of my entire life. I interned with Arkansas Senator Boozman, and although I am an avid Democrat and he is Republican, Senator John Boozman is one of the most genuine and hard working senators I had the pleasure of meeting.
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One day, hopefully, I’ll be living in D.C. – but until then, I’ll be gallivanting the world!

 

The Alchemist, Buddhist Temples, and Adventure

What is it about living somewhere that makes it seem less ‘adventurous’ than other places in the world?
The last two years since returning home from Morocco, I’ve lived in between an ambiguous no-mans-land of nostalgia and memories, and a futuristic fantasy land that promises instant happiness, gratitude, and fulfillment the moment I begin traveling again. To put it shortly, I have neglected the beauty of simply being – in the present, that is.
Recently, a close friend of mine recommended I read the book The Alchemist by Robert Coelho. Never mind that I ripped through the book in less than three hours, it was the best book I’ve ever read. In essence, it follows the story of a young sheep herder who is faced with following his heart or mind, the girl or his dreams, and money or passion. Underlying this, the deeper meaning goes into how every single person in this world has a “Personal Legend” – and if you want it bad enough, everything in the world will conspire in helping you achieve it. Although the book itself is short, my one regret is that I didn’t take my time reading it. It’s inspiring, and truthfully, made me remember why I need to continue to find adventure and beauty in every day life. I wish I had time to read it every single day!
At this stage in my life everything is rather uncertain. I am graduating college in less that 5 months with no immediate plans. I see my friends getting jobs lined up at great companies or hospitals all around the US. It’s in these moments where I wish I could pull out The Alchemist and remember that I am never going to be that girl who works a 8 am – 5 pm desk job for some company just to pay the bills. Not that this is a bad life, it’s certainly one that many people hope for, but it’s definitely not for me. I want to wake up every single day doing something I absolutely love, even if my passions change yearly! I wouldn’t mind traveling the world on a small budget, enough to pay rent and eat mindfully if it meant I got to learn languages, meet new people, experience cultures, and help other people grow to their full potential. I am inspired in the everyday acts of every day, ordinary individuals – something I don’t think I will necessarily enjoy in a company (for a lifetime that is). Simply put, I don’t like simply ‘staying put.’ My dreams aren’t practical and certainly aren’t understood by many people I know, but I want to travel with the ease and free spirit of the winds. One year teaching English another free-lancing, maybe making a life out of a travel blog? It HAS been done before, ok!
Nonetheless, the book inspired me to seek adventure in my own back yard. My parents have lived in Ft. Worth, Texas for the last four years and I have given little thought to exploring the mixture of cultures right here in front of me. Mom convinced me to go with her to a local Buddhist Temple  as she knows I’ve been recently exploring Yoga and Meditation practices to relive stress.
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Even though the weather was a brisk 35 degrees out (and we had just gotten the first light snow of the season), the outside gardens were absolutely beautiful. Next time I’m here visiting I hope it’s sunny out so I can sit in the pavilions and mediate.
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I didn’t happen to bring my Canon camera with me, so all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone 6s.
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Inside was even more spectacular. The faint remnants of incense could be smelled swirling around the dark room. It’s custom to take off your shoes before entering temples – there’s something spiritual about walking around barefoot… maybe that’s just me?
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Now… off to find discover more of myself in my own skin.