The State of the District, or my first week in Washington

dcarrival1 dcarrival2 dcarrival3 dcarrival4

“Decide what to be, and go be it.” – The Avett Brothers

“Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t.” -Bill Nye

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott – Ali Butler

“If you always do what interests you at least one person is pleased.” -Katherine Hepburn

“Can I get this to-go?” -Guy at a neighboring table at brunch yesterday

Well, it’s been a whirlwind first week. I guess I will just jump in to how things are going:

The job hunt is crazy. I think that finding a job is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (boo-hoo Heidi, get it together) and I really need to kick it up a notch to be successful here. To that end, my mornings are generally filled with applications and emails and word docs galore, while I generally venture out of the house in the afternoons for various meetings with friends and some unfamiliar faces too. I get the feeling that to get a job I want I really need to stick to my guns and know what I want, and so far I’ve been doing a good job (har-har) of that.

The weather has been unusually stunning for DC this time of year- there’s been almost no humidity the entire time I’ve been here, but this week should change that and I am bracing myself for the return of the heat.

It feels surreal to actually BE where all the cool things are happening- on my walks around the city I more often than not spot an office or building for organizations that I previously knew only by way of the news or through school. Maybe it’s just the honeymoon phase, but there is something inspiring about catching a flash of the White House or the Washington Monument through the streets as I ride the bus. I lost my fitbit on a roller-coaster (of course) right before I came here, and I’m disappointed not to be getting step counts for all these long days of walking.

I’m feeling more settled than I felt while writing my thesis, but big pieces of the puzzle are still missing- employment and permanent housing, most significantly. Hopefully those will fall into place with time, good old fashioned hard work, and keeping my job-hunting spirits up.

Music Mondays: Lost Stars by Adam Levine


I went to see Begin Again last week with Susanna and Emily, and the soundtrack is delightful! I have been listening to it on repeat ever since. I would estimate that I’m about 60% of the way to sick of the songs, but I will certainly still enjoy them for the upcoming 40%! I don’t usually like Maroon 5, but Adam Levine was actually quite good as both an actor and singer. Heading to DC tomorrow…. catch you on the east (flip?) coast (side?)!

The Bean in Millenium Park.

chimp1 chimp2 chimp3 chimp4 chimp5 chimp6 chimp7 chimp8 chimp9chimp11chimp10 chimp12 chimp13 chimp14

A long time ago now, I had a friend who wrote songs, and one of his songs was about the bean in Millennium Park. It was such a pretty song, and, as it turns out, Millennium Park is such a pretty place. It’s funny how you see pictures of things that don’t tell you the whole story- a photo of the bean doesn’t show you how it suddenly emerges when you walk up, and how dynamic of a sculpture it is. We spent a solid 20 minutes marveling at the thing from every angle, enjoying not only the bright Chicago sunshine but each other’s company as well. I will definitely return next time I’m in Chicago.

Today I am working on packing up for a big move- to Washington, DC! I’m really excited for what the District might hold, but not looking forward to the oppressive humidity as much. For now, I’m back to collecting all my suits and printing off copies of my resume. Until next time! :)

CHI-TOWN.

chitown1 chitown2 chitown2.1 chitown3 chitown4 chitown5 chitown6 chitown7 chitown8 chitown9 chitown10 chitown11 chitown13

I have a lot of friends from the midwest. That whole part of the country- the flyover states, hometown USA, whatever you want to call it- isn’t just a region. It’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle I enjoy relentlessly (and lovingly, don’t worry midwesterners!) mocking in a terrible Minnesota accent when given the opportunity. Chicago plays a big role in the whole midwestern psyche (you love it, you hate it, and either way there’s some point where you resent it) and this was my first time in the windy city.

Andrew is working in Chi-town right now, so we had a delightful tour guide for the day. We walked all over town, saw lots of cool architecture, went to the Art Institute, and went up the John Hancock building. I enjoyed all of it! The great lakes are strange- I have never been a lake person, so to see an entire city based on the edge of a giant one was unique to say the least. I was surprised by all the beautiful old buildings- it’s interesting to see a city that is in between the “new” towns of the true west (like Denver) and the much older colonial stuff scattered along the east coast.

We also ate deep dish pizza for dinner- it was my first experience with it, and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was different than I expected. And took a long time to bake- almost an hour! I am going to diplomatically say I enjoyed it, but it is unlike regular thin crust pizza, and the difference is great enough that I would consider deep dish to be a separate food entirely.

Up next- the bean and Millennium Park.

Music Mondays: This Is The Last Time by the National

If it ever really rained in Colorado (I mean, for more than 30 minutes some afternoons) I would probably listen to the National while staring pensively off into the middle distance in some coffee shop. Alas, it’s pretty sunny here, but I’m still enjoying their songs. Have you seen their tiny desk concert? It’s AWESOME.

Oh, when I lift you up
You feel like a hundred times yourself
I wish everybody knew
What’s so great about you…

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

sfbg1 sfbg2 sfbg3 sfbg4 sfbg5 sfbg6 sfbg7 sfbg8 sfbg9 sfbg10 sfbg11 sfbg12 sfbg13 sfbg14 sfbg15 sfbg16

This whole job hunting thing is exhausting. It’s got me a little down, not gonna lie. What didn’t help matters was this past weekend’s activity- going to see the Fault in Our Stars. I read it the day we were going to see the movie and cried, then went to see the movie and cried. How could you John Green?! Talk about the saddest possible story you could think of! Bleh! It was an emotional roller coaster that only went down, let me tell you. Good thing pictures of flowers, and flowers themselves, exist to cheer us up.

In case you weren’t already aware, I am totally into botanical gardens. It’s my old person interest, alongside my other old person interests like sewing and knitting and going to bed early and also alongside my young person interests like traveling the world and instagram. The San Francisco ones were a welcome foray into spring and native plants of the west, most of which are dazzling. It was a great way to spend the morning, and if you’re a SF resident it’s free! What a great place to go read and lounge for a while. If you’re looking for lesser-visited things to do in the city, I would recommend checking these gardens out.

Tomorrow I am leaving for Germany- crazy, oder?! The transient summer begins…. hopefully to conclude with employment.

Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco

sftartine1 sftartine2 sftartine3 sftartine4 sftartine5 sftartine6 sftartine7 sftartine8 sftartine9 sftartine10

Tartine is this awesome, hyped-up-for-a-reason bakery in the Mission, very close to Dolores Park. Laura and I went in one morning for breakfast and ended up getting a ton of different pastries- we couldn’t just get two! Although breakfast was a little pricey for my taste- almost $25 for two people’s pastries and coffee- it was obvious that all the baked goods we had were made with some seriously high-quality ingredients. I particularly liked the lemon tart that Laura got- we barely finished it between the two of us, it was so rich! There’s nothing better than a good pastry, a good coffee, and sitting outside. :)

If you go….

Tartine Bakery and Cafe
600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110

Music Mondays: The Line by Noah and the Whale

I really, really, really love Noah and the Whale. There’s too many good songs to pick just one, but The Line has been my jam for the last few weeks. It’s a little slower, but I like the question- is this the line? You can follow the Music Mondays playlist on Spotify.

But then she’ll ask, as she cleans up the glass
“Is this the line?
Is this the line?
Is this the line between heaven and hell?
Is this the line where I get up and walk out?
Is this the line where you get drunk you yell?”

 

Yosemite Part IV: Spring in the Park & Vernal Falls

yoday1 yoday2 yoday3 yoday4 yoday5 yoday6 yoday7 yoday8 yoday9

To wrap up all these posts about Yosemite, the piece de resistance- a day spent hiking around Vernal falls. We had perfect weather, and mid-May is a great time to be in the park because all of the falls are running profusely thanks to snowmelt. The granite faces of Half Dome and El Capitan are INSANE to see from any angle- we spent an interesting couple minutes spotting climbers on El Cap, which takes DAYS to climb. Keep in mind, this is a sheer rock face that people go up! Totally crazy. I think it would be really cool to be able to say that you climbed Half Dome too, but it’s something like EIGHTEEN MILES round trip and involves some sketchy sounding railings.

We also walked by the beginning (or end, if you start from the other… end) of the John Muir trail, a hike I considered doing when I went through my read-books-about-long-distance-hiking phase. In case you’re into that kind of thing too, I read this, this and this and would recommend all of them if you like reading about hiking. One thing that was weird about being in the park is that TONS of airliners fly over- I mean, they tell you that when you’re on Southwest from Denver to SF- but it was weird to have a bright blue sky that was covered in the zigzags of jet exhaust.

After our park admiration session, we settled down in a relatively quiet spot in the valley to enjoy a picnic and a brief nap before our drive back to San Francisco, complete with an In-n-Out stop. Overall, it was an awesome few days and I would love to go back, maybe to do some backpacking or camping somewhere in the high country.

In case you missed it, Parts I, II, and III of the Yosemite adventure.

Yosemite Part III: Watching the sun set over the valley

yosun1 yosun2 yosun3 yosun4 yosun5 yosun44

After we checked into the Wawona, we spent a few minutes relaxing on the hotel’s porch. Alex, our local guide and expert AND uncle (the man has many talents) mentioned briefly how beautiful watching the sunset is from Glacier Point, a vista that you can stop at when you first emerge into the valley from the south entrance. We hemmed and hawed, trying to decide if we could bring ourselves to get back into the car after a long day. We decided no. We played another round of cards. The topic came up again. Numbers were crunched. Watches were checked. Sunset time was googled. And we were off! It was a YOLO moment, if I do say so myself.

It. was. spectacular.

Seriously. One of the most beautiful reveals of nature I have ever seen. The valley looks like something out of a movie, but BETTER. I didn’t even know it was possible. Watching the alpenglow fade away was truly stunning, and I understand now- at least to some extent- John Muir’s obsession with that part of the country.

To top it all off? A sing-along session to Whitney Houston on the way back to the hotel. Even Yosemite can use a little glamorous music every once in a while. :)