Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Life on the Hill

I’ve been in the DC Metropolitan area for almost two weeks now with no responsibilities—no job, no homework, no nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere jobless/not going to school for two whole weeks without getting bored, but this time I’m not bored at all. There is always a new neighborhood to explore or a new museum to check out. I love it. 
I’m mostly living in my older brother Aaron’s storage closet in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is basically near the center of everything. I love my little storage closet. It’s practically not a closet. There’s a window and a light and I’m much better off than Harry Potter (minus the magic). Plus, it’s free.
The very first weekend I was here I attended the Library of Congress National Book Festival, during which I got to hear Jeffery Eugenides and Junot Diaz speak, among a few others. What an awesome thing to have happen, practically in my backyard. I didn't like the crowds or the sun really (nothing new there), but it was worth it to listen. Diaz especially had great advice for writers. 
I’m now pretty used to walking/riding past the Capitol on the way to and from the Metro, and I even joined about 300 other people for a little jog on the Mall one night. Also, even when I’m not trying to, I feel like I’m photo-bombing every tourist I see.
I’ve now been to two of the Nationals’ games—they clinched the NL East last night, while I was at the game, even though they lost! I’ve never been in that nervous or happy of a crowd at a MLB game. It was something else. 
I visited the Museum of the American Indian and the Newseum for the first time, and revisited the Library of Congress and the Air and Space Museum. I love that I can take my time and soak up a lot of different places like this. I still need to see most of the art galleries and the Natural History Museum, etc., but I have a month and a half or so, so no pressure.
I snagged an old $50 road bike on craigslist and have named it “The General.” Her brakes aren’t the best and the frame is a little small for me, but she’s great for getting around with. I’ve been getting to know the general layout of the area, which is way easier when you’re not just metro-ing everywhere. I’ve only managed to wreck her once so far—don’t worry Mom, I’m borrowing a helmet. What can I say? I’m from Idaho, I’m not used to contending with traffic AND light rail tracks!
But seriously, I love public transportation. Aaron and his girlfriend were complaining about the metro or something the other day and I just shook my head, remembering being car-less in Boise in the winter and having to try to rely on our bus system for groceries. Not fun.
Anyway, my time not on the Hill has been spent in the suburbs—which I can metro/bus to easily—with my sister Dawn and her family. It’s also nice to just hang out with her and Brian and the twins without rushing from one place to the next as I usually do when visiting. I spent three or four days sleeping on their couch last week and am going back tomorrow as well. My nephews have been hilarious and cute as ever, wearing their Nats uniforms and acting out homeruns, getting me beers out of the fridge, and having the occasional melt down about not being able to bring their giant pile of sticks into the condo with them. There have been some interesting exchanges as to my presence in their home since I got there, including this one:
Calvin: “Mommy, where does Aunt Bean live?”
Dawn:  “She’s staying with us for awhile.”
Calvin: “Where does she work?”
Dawn: I don’t remember, something a little nicer than “She doesn’t have a job.”
Calvin (panicking slightly, looking from me to his mommy): “When will she go home?”
Me: “Aunt Bean’s don’t have homes.”
(For more on why I am Aunt Bean, check out my sister’s blog: http://dawnwhispersandshouts.blogspot.com/2012/09/why-are-beans-bean-and-aunt-bean-is-bean.html)
At the end of this week, I will begin my course in Baltimore. I’m ready. I’m getting pretty excited about this whole Ecuador thing. It’s so soon. In the mean time though, I’m still enjoying my freedom from any and all obligations. 

Home in the closet. 

I have some sort of organization going on here.

The view from my mattress. (Only the rack of shoes/clothes is mine.)
The General! 

The General out in front of Aaron's house.

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