Fun in the (202)
As I wrote about in my last blog post, I just finished up my first Winter Term (WT) project in our nation's capital. I had a truly fantastic time completing my internship—I saw a lot, heard a lot, and ultimately came out more knowledgeable than when I came in. To me, this is one of the greatest benefits of Winter Term. You're able to explore an area of study and experience a discipline that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to during the semester. With the wide variety of projects that Obies take on, such as my friend learning how to drive a car, or another friend doing work for a community in Honolulu, comes another piece of Winter Term that usually goes unmentioned—the fun stuff.
"Fun stuff" in reference to my Winter Term means a few different things:
Catching up with friends and family
I'm fortunate to have several friends studying in D.C., and even more fortunate to have been able to catch up with them. My high school classmate Javi at George Washington and longtime friend Taylor at Howard University were gracious enough to take some time out out of their busy student schedules, and spend some time with an old friend.
As I expressed in my post last October, you really can't visit a major city in the U.S. without running into some Obies. Luckily, I ran into three of my friends! Well, it wasn't actually a run-in encounter; we planned the visit. But it was equally as gratifying to catch up with Cecelia, Emily, and Kennedy (all of whom [minus Kennedy, who's actually based in Philly] are completing some awesome projects here in D.C.)!
What's fun without family?
Fortunately, I didn't have to answer this question, as I have a few extended family members living in the DMV. To my elation, they drove up (2 and 3 hours respectively) to come see me! Towards the beginning of my trip, I was able to go out to brunch with my aunt, whom I hadn't seen in quite a while, for her birthday. Thanks, Auntie Toya! A great family friend came up to take me out exploring in Tyson's Corner and to dinner. Thanks, Hogan family.
(as featured in my "good angle")
A couple other friends were going to come down from NYC over the weekend, but mother nature decided to cancel that trip with #Blizzard2016.
My aunt-in-law, who so graciously allowed me to stay with her over Winter Term, has a second identity as a chef and foodie by night. I wasn't aware of D.C. having such a spectacular culinary scene, but by the end of Winter Term I found this to be exceptionally true. My aunt(s) and friends accompanied as we partook in some culinary excursions. I know it seems a little trivial to write about food, but it was through food that I experienced many of the different cultures and cultural pockets in the D.C. area.
Here's a cumulative list of the restaurants I dined in:
- Busboys and Poets (One of my personal favorites, and the most culturally aware restaurant I've ever been to.)
- Beacon Bar and Grill
- The Fish Market
- Fogo de Chão
- District Taco (The finest of dining.)
- Pizzeria Paradiso
- Blue Duck Tavern
- Peking Gourmet Inn
- Hard Times Cafe
- New Heights Restaurant
- Filomena Ristorante
- CIRCA at Dupont
I came to D.C. having visited a few times, and aware of the deep history that encompasses every inch of the city. I wasn't aware, however, of the history of the surrounding communities—particularly Alexandria, VA. Alexandria, the city in which I lived, has a deep and fascinating history.
Here's another cumulative list of some the sights and pieces of history I visited.
National Portrait Gallery: Beautiful artwork.
Museum of American History: My favorite Smithsonian!
National Museum of African Art: Beautiful artwork with a beautiful collection donated by the Cosby family.
Tyson's Corner: Fantastic mall.
Capitol Steps: A HILARIOUS comedy troupe performance; not the actual steps of the capitol.
Freedom House Museum: Awesome museum detailing the history of slavery in Alexandria, now the home of Northern Virgina Urban League.
Alexandria Town Center: Town center and hub for the historic city of Alexandria.
Torpedo Art Factory: Beautiful art complex for the artists, uniquely made from an old torpedo factory.
This one's a smaller one, but since I started at Oberlin, I really haven't had the time (or carved out the time) to read for pleasure. Over this Winter Term, I've finished two books: Between the World and Me and Blueprint for Revolution. One of my goals for 2016 is to read at least two books a month for pleasure.
MLK Day 2016
I had the pleasure of spending my MLK Day in Alexandria. As I listed above, there is a beautiful museum in the city that tells the story of slavery in Alexandria. The museum is actually held in the basement of what was the main building of one of the largest slave trading companies in the country. It was a rather numbing feeling knowing I was standing in the same basement, with the original bars, where slaves were held captive. Frightening as it may have been, it was a great point of reaffirmation in my omnipresent struggle of fighting the good fight.
During the last few days of my internship we had to endure the big blizzard of 2016. Areas around us took a beating with some counties getting 30+ inches of snow. To my gratitude, we had plenty of food and water, and the power never went out. Yet, the adverse conditions led to the cancellation of a scheduled Obies in D.C. celebration.
Winter Term was truly a phenomenal experience. Catching up with friends, developing new skills, and having amazing experiences have made this journey well worthwhile.
Now I'm all fired up for second semester!