Friday, March 18, 2011

Monday, March 14th
I just finished my first visit to dc. It was nothing like I had imagined. Before going to dc, all i was told was that dc had a high crime rate and a whole lot of homeless people. Instead I found a beautiful city rich with history. I flew out of Chicago and met up with Charlie, who was kind enough to show me DC, in Cincinnati, and flew together into dc international. After a much needed nap at his grandma's house, we decided to catch a free show at the Kennedy Center. Assuming taking a cab would be faster, we started walking to look for one. After a few blocks, it was apparent that there were no cabs in the area. So then we thought that catching a bus may get us there. Then utilizing wonderful GPS technology, Charlie realized we were only a few blocks from the Colombia Heights metro. We headed to the metro, my first trip on the DC metro... And we got on the wrong train. We realized we were on the wrong train when we reached the first station, so we got off and waited to head the opposite direction. Lets just say, by the time we got to the Foggy Bottom area, there was NO way we were going to make any show. So we began walking around the area and headed to the Georgetown area. It was amazing. That area is unreal nice. Once we were in the Georgetown area, we did what any self respecting college student would do.... Stopped and got a beer. When I handed my ID to the bouncer, he stared at it for a very long time, then took it to the back to look at it more. That has NEVER happened to me. Trust me, my picture is not good and if it was fake, I would definitely have a better picture than that! After our beverages, it was getting late so Charlie an I begun to head back to the metro. Realizing how far we were, we grabbed a cab. In the metro I saw the most impressive flat top haircut ever. I'm talking about two inches from his forehead flattop. I wanted to take a picture but decided that could be a bad life decision. Overall my first day in DC was amazing.

Tuesday, March 15th
Day two in DC began around 8 am. Charlie decided to help me find my way to Rockville. Rockville is where I will be working over the summer doing research with the NIH. Charlie's grandma told us that taking a bus to Cleveland Park metro station then taking the red line to Rockville would be the best bet, so that's what we did. Once outside the Rockville station, i pulled out my directions and begun to read them, "at the Twinbook station.." which was not where we were. So back on the metro we went. OOPS!! That was my bad. Once the right station, we begun the hunt for the right building. Problem being that I did not write down the building address and apparently government buildings do not have big signs announcing what they are. So after going to a few wrong buildings (another reason why I am switching to a smart phone with email and GPS), I decided to call the lab. After going to yet ANOTHER wrong building, my lab contact came outside the building to meet me. It was a few minutes after 10 AM at this point. Once inside the building i was taken to the lab were I was introduced to the other lab staff. Everyone is so smart!!! I need to do some mad studying on enzymes and cellular level things to i feel up to speed once research starts in May. I spoke with many different people in the lab about all the different projects that everyone has. For the most part, everyone does different things, but helps each other. Plus the projects tend to overlap. One of the lab staff is a pharmacist from Turkey. I am excited to work with her because she used to teach some during her time in Turkey, so i feel i will be able to learn a lot from her. It appears that I will be helping out with putting mice in alcohol chambers (to simulate chronic alcohol abuse) and working on a novel drug for PTSD that has similar properties to the active ingredient in Marijuana, THC. I am very excited to begin in the lab, it seems like the experience will be very challenging and mind stimulating. So after 4 hours speaking to people and checking out the facilities, I finally left. My brain was legitimately exhausted. I called Charlie who is amazing and hung out in Rockville for 4 hours waiting for me. We met up and headed back to his grandma's.
I took a fabulous nap. After feeling refreshed, i checked my phone and and it was a little past 5:30 pm and I had a missed text from Jinae, my sister kayla's friend who has been helping me with DC stuff. Charlie dropped me off at the Cleveland Park metro and i rode up to Tinleytown to meet Jinae and some of her friends at Guapos for dinner. The escalator steps going out of the metro were broken. Meaning I walked up steps for about 100 meters. I was 100 VERY STEEP METERS!!!! I was slightly winded by the time I reached the top. Jinae and her friends were fantastic! I was shocked at how much more expensive the restaurants are than in Wisconsin or Des Moines! Our pitcher of margaritas was $30!!! Dinner was good, even though I had some sticker shock.
Some of girls that were at dinner live together in a house and there will be an opening in the summer. So after dinner, we walked a couple blocks to their place and I looked at the available bedroom. It is a small room in the basement and a bathroom just outside the bedroom. Normally i would not be a fan of living in a basement room, but I will not have much with me over the summer and the basement could be nice. Plus the rent is very reasonable. After dinner I rode the metro back to Cleveland Park and met up with Charlie and his wonderful grandma. Back at her house, we drank some wine and listened to stories she had to tell which was a nice ending to my final evening in DC.
This morning I packed up all my things, and was dropped off at the Colombia Heights metro. I took the yellow line to the airport. I am glad I took time to fly out to DC and see the town. Moving here without visiting would have been majorly stressful, and this helped relax me. I met some great people, found a place to live, and saw where I am going to work for the summer. It was worth the time and the money. I cannot wait to return in 2.5 months!!!!

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