Getting lost

So usually I’m not one to like not knowing where I am, but when you happen to be completely surrounded by hundreds of years of history, it somehow doesn’t seem as bad. For example, traipsing through the bowels of the Capitol to get the the flag office isn’t boring when you start thinking about all the people who might have walked these same halls years before. And it is sometimes the little things that make history geeks like me excited, like the slight indentation wear on the marble steps of our office building. How many feet have those steps felt to create an actual mark in the step? Amazing.

Things are well underway in my internship and I hope I am catching on to office life quickly. Today I had my tour guide training for the Capitol tours I will be giving to constituents who come all the way from Oregon to visit D.C. One of theIMG_20160330_135602 neat (and usually hard to do) things our group got the chance to do was take in the view from the Speaker’s Balcony. This is typically reserved as the private porch for the Speaker of the House in their Capitol office, but since it is recess and was a beautiful day, why not!?

The view straight out the Washington Monument was stunning. It always amazes me how symmetrical the architecture is around the Capitol Mall. It certainly sets a memorable and patriotic scene.

Claire

Cherry Blossoms

Today I rolled out of bed at 5:30am, on a Saturday none-the-less, to walk over to see a D.C. classic: the spring cherry blossoms. Some of the girls at TMH wanted to go over early and I saidIMG_20160326_065900-5 “sure, why not!” So in the dark (and cold) a group of around six of us made the long walk in the dark out to the Jefferson Tidal Basin. Now I know this is a pretty popular thing to do around here, but I was honestly shocked by the sheer amount of people, photography equipment and dogs that lined the edge of pond before 7:00am. I guess today was one of the “peak days” for the cherry blossoms, meaning every tree had at least 70 percent of their flowers in bloom and there had to be at least 1,000 people taking pictures of them this morning.

Once we got over the chilliness of the morning, the fresh blooms against the sunrise were an outstanding sight. The most impressive part of it allIMG_20160326_065134-2 was the sheer quantity of fully grown cherry blossom trees. As you looked around the perimeter of the tidal basin towards the Jefferson Memorial, all you could see was a sold line of fluffy pink petals.

On top of this wonderful experience in the morning, the day turned out to be perfect, sunny spring weather. As I walked to a nearby coffee shop, I thought about how wonderful D.C. has been so far. What an amazing, special city.

More adventures to come!

Claire

First Day

WOW! What can I say. Today was my first day in the office and there is going to be a lot to learn. First off, it will be navigating the capitol buildings. The halls in Cannon House Building are long and dotted with doors and flags, all of which are at first glance, identical. There is also a series of underground hallways that connect most of the capitol buildings and house a lot of important places for interns like the flag office and the mailing department. The Congresswoman’s office is on the 4th floor though (I guess as Congress member’s  gain rank they move down floors) so I am sure I will get in all my FitBit steps for the day!

Once I found the office, I jumped right into the thick of it. While many people find this sort of shotgun orientation overwhelming, I love this sort of positive pressure and high expectations in a new situation. Even though I am bound to make mistakes at first (especially when it comes to transferring calls, logging information, etc.), I know that there are people excited to see me succeed in this position, and I will. I also happen to be the only Oregonian intern for now, so I’ve got that going for me!

One of the cool things that I got to do today was shadow a constituent capitol tour. I have been on a tour before, but I am really looking forward to start leading them instead. As oneSnapchat-447730125023556664 of my co-workers advised me today, I’ll have to watch out for some of the other fact-skewing intern guides. I guess someone once told tourists that on the of capitol’s magnificent chandeliers was salvaged from the Titanic, when in reality it was donated by a church. I also overheard another tour guide state that the dome was under construction because of “the big earthquake” when really they are repairing about two centuries worth of wear-and-tear. On my tours I will try my best to stick to the facts, no matter how interesting another version of the story might be.

Catch up more soon! Also send me any questions you might have or suggestions for me to write about.

Claire

Moving in

Somehow I managed to haul all three of my suitcases through the Portland Airport onto my straight-shot flight to D.C. How did I think it was a good idea to fly out during spring break!? Well, I arrived in sunny Washington this evening and found my way over to my accommodations at the historic Thompson-Markward Hall.

f1404f2471d0a9330745ffcbb6a63fd9_4owk.jpgAnd when I say ‘historic’ I mean like really awesomely old. This three-story brick boarding house is  a stone’s throw from the Capitol and was chartered in the 1880’s by Congress to house young women working and living in the area. The picture to the left is literally Eleanor Roosevelt attending an event at TMH! How much cooler does that get? The only rules: NO alcohol and NO boys. Tough ones, I know, but for all that it offers, I think I can manage.

Because this place is so historic it comes with it’s own little quirks. For example, after I checked in this evening, I promptly boarded the manual door elevator to get up to my third floor room. My room is simple, but the best part is my garden view (better than directly facing another building or the busy road). Oh, and did I mention that TMH comes with full breakfast and dinner service? I think these next couple months are going to fly by.

Claire

Here we go!

First off, welcome to my blog! Whether you’re a friend, family, mentor, or someone new altogether, I hope you enjoy my musings on interning in Washington D.C. I will try to keep this blog updated at least three times a week and am excited to share with you all the amazing new experience I will be undertaking.

A little background info for those who don’t know what I’m doing: I will be interning in the office of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon District 1) all spring term. I am looking forward to standing besides her as she fights for women’s rights, equitable education, and many more smart, progressive policies in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Well, I’m packing up my bags (probably too many) and getting ready to take my flight out on Tuesday morning (so much for a Spring Break). I guess what I’m most excited about is just having a completely new and eye-opening experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oregon, OSU, and all my family and friends with all my with all my heart, but it’s time to change things up. Whenever I am faced with a something as big and new as this, I have learned to limit any expectations I have for what I’m doing. This isn’t in a negative

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a daily walk in Corvallis

sense, I just want to have my mind ready and open for anything that comes my way. Doing this can justify big ambitions and few failures.

Though I miss the beautiful walks only minutes away from my house and our unbeatable coffee, one thing is for sure: I’m going to make the most of my time in D.C. and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Also, if you have any suggestions on things I should write about, places I should go, or things I should do while I’m in D.C., let me know in the comments! I want this blog to not only to keep everyone up-to-date, but to serve as a guide for anyone considering an internship on The Hill.

Thanks for keeping up and happy following!

Claire