Tag Archives: living in washington

Back in DC, Back to Reality

28 Nov

On Saturday morning my Amtrak Acela train pulled into Union Station just a few minutes after it was scheduled to. It was gray and overcast but otherwise pleasant and warm, so I went for a run and then got back to studying. The mini-vacation was over, and it was back to reality. I wasn’t necessarily dreading coming back home to Washington, DC. If anything, I was looking forward to a respite from living out of a suitcase and sleeping on other people’s couches and beds. The familiar allure of my small studio is now my home, and I have traversed the quick trip from corner to corner hundreds of times in an effort to make it seems like a larger space. Yet it’s mine and somehow that’s reassuring, regardless of the fact that I’m in a wide closet.

I feel like my time spent over Thanksgiving break was used well–I not only finished one of my final papers, but it was my biggest final. At 20 pages in length, it was the longest paper I’ve written to date. The research part of it is what took up most of the time, and though I was interested in the topic, I often had to spur myself along and try not to get caught up in what I was reading too much. With so many sources to check, you can get bogged down in the readings. My independent research on U.S. involvement in the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende was thorough, and once I finished I moved on to my next final.

The research on how former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski shaped foreign policy in the Carter administration got off to a sluggish start, but after conferring with multiple primary sources and other books, I’ve gotten a solid idea on what he did. (In my opinion he was very active in shaping foreign policy between 1977-1981). Sorry, Cy Vance.

Back in town for a couple of days, I’m now about 2/3 of the way complete with this essay. There are two weeks of classes left before finals are due/are handed out, and then we’ll have a brief break. I’ll be back in Boston next month for a few days for the holidays, but then it’s back to DC and then on to Cuba for two weeks. Being home in Sharon was an odd experience because for the first time, not a single friend was left in the town. Everyone has moved out and all I could do was focus on my studies and watch a little TV. Aside from the reason of visiting family, the need to come back to Sharon is waning. That’s how it goes though.

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Saturday at the Maryland/Notre Dame Game

13 Nov

The Fall is going by quickly and the semester, strange as it might seem, is quickly winding down. Next week I’ll even be heading home to Boston for a few days for the Thanksgiving break. I’ll be spending a few days at home before heading down to New York to spend the holiday at my grandma’s, followed by a quick stop in New Jersey before heading back down to Washington, DC. It’s a little version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Though I’m usually occupied with work and school, this weekend I was able to get out for a bit and see some of the surrounding area.

My friend Fish came down from Boston for the Maryland vs. Notre Dame game, and along with his old friends from the University of Maryland, we went to FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, to catch the prime time game. Our other friend Ben was also at the game, but with a different group of friends. To get to the game wasn’t easy, and I had to make my way to Rockville, Maryland via bus and Metro. Once we all linked up, we drove around the city to FedEx Field, which isn’t exactly easy to get to. The stadium is massive, and though from the outside I said it didn’t seem much larger than Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (holding about 65,000), once inside we could see how enormous it was. It might have held 90,000 seats at one point, but now they have taken out parts of the Upper Deck to put in some kind of “party section”.

Before heading in, however, we were part of a large tailgate party with tables full of homemade food and drinks. Everything from gourmet pizzas, pulled pork sandwiches, jalapenos stuffed with pork, and homemade pumpkin beer were available for the taking. It was nice with the sun out but since it keeps getting dark earlier, we spent most of the time pretty cold. Once inside the stadium, we found our seats way up in the nosebleeds, just a few rows from the top of the Upper Deck. We were so high we were just underneath the speakers. From that far up the players seems like ants, but it was cool because you could see the whole play develop.

Maryland is having a lousy season and Notre Dame is doing OK, but it was no contest from the very start. This was considered a home game for Notre Dame, and they definitely brought out their fan base, probably making it about 50/50 on supporters, despite the fact that we were in Maryland. The halftime show was the best part of the game, unfortunately, and by the third quarter we’d decided that we’d seen enough. With traffic and driving to the Metro to then wait for the bus, it took me at least two hours to get home, but it was still a fun day out of my Northwest DC bubble. We’ll be heading back to FedEx Field next month for the Army/Navy game and the next day for the Patriots/Redskins game.