Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Live in DC Now

OK, maybe that's just slightly not accurate. Technically, I live in Arlington, Virginia, but it's still considered to be the DC Metro area. But let's just roll with it, shall we?

I'm actually glad I don't live in DC (or, as my brother and his friends call it, "The District"). I've lived in big cities before (London, for example), but for the most part, I come from small-town Alabama combined with collegiate years in medium-city Birmingham. I've always needed a vehicle to get around from place to place and run errands, grocery shop, go out for fun, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love public transportation, but Birmingham's bus system is infamous for being terrible, and I lived outside of the city itself so I never really had access to it. I've learned very quickly, though, that my extended cab truck is not suited to big city life. I've known for a long, long time that my truck is huge and can be difficult and complicated to park, especially in a tight, parallel parking situation. But DC is entirely another beast. Luckily, I have a parking garage to park in, but even it is tiny, and maneuvering inside it is a challenge. Suffice it to say that if you watched me trying to get in it and park, you would find it hilarious, as do I from time to time.

My time spent in London has definitely spoiled me for public transit, though, and I find myself comparing DC's Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to Transport for London (TfL) quite often. One big thing I've already noticed about WMATA metro rail stops: an utter lack of maps. They are few and far between, and even more sparse on the train itself. What's up with that? Not to mention the fact that almost all of the stations look identical: plain, gray cement with brown accents. Blergh.

But, that's enough complaining about the metro. As I said before, I love public transit, and I plan to use it almost exclusively during my time here. Both because it's great, and it's kind of a joke to drive my truck around. That being said, I've already got a list going of things I need to buy soon. Essentials like bread, milk, eggs, etc, can all be purchased locally without too much of a walk. But I'm also sensing an IKEA run sometime soon, so I'm sure I will certainly appreciate my truck when that happens.

And now it's time for a random restaurant promotion. A few nights ago, my brother, some friends from Maryland and I went out to eat, exploring my new neighborhood. We ended up at Big Buns Gourmet Grill, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. The burgers are delicious, and they also serve up chicken, Mahi-mahi, and mushroom burgers/sandwiches. All cooked to order, topped as you like, and with an optional side of regular or sweet potato fries or chips. I'm looking forward to trying a milkshake there as well. Two thumbs up, for sure.

Coming up this week in A-100? Oh man.. a lot. Today we heard from our class mentor, Ambassador Stephen Mull (former ambassador to Lithuania, now works in the Executive Secretariat at State.) He invited us to stop by his office during certain times of the week, and I definitely plan on stopping by at some point to introduce myself. He has a lot of wisdom to share, and he started in the FS when he was 23 as well! Now I just need to figure out when I can make it over there to see him.

Tomorrow morning I have my Spanish and French language exams. Back to back. After my Spanish test, please someone run up to me with a bowl of some sort, because I'm sure my brain will be oozing out of my ears. I'll have about 5 minutes to pour those brains back in before my French exam begins. The good thing about it: each test is only 15 minutes each, so after about 35 or 40 minutes, I'll be done. Praise the Lord.

After language exams, I'll spend a few hours at FSI working on paper work, my bid list, and various other things. That afternoon I have an interview with my CDO (Career Development Officer), who is the person who ultimately decides where my first post is going to be. Very important interview, no? Hopefully I'll be able to articulately explain to her why I would rather not go to Mexico or Canada for my first tour, haha.

On Thursday & Friday, we're going offsite to West Virginia for The Woods. It's a two-day team building getaway that I've heard is actually pretty fun. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

This post is super long already, so I'm calling it quits with that. Here's a quick parting shot for you to think about: if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Until next time...peace

1 comment:

  1. Kind of like walking into a locked turnstile? :-) That was a great story, Andrew. Keep them coming!

    Megan (yes, me. I told you I read your blog.)