Well, the day finally came. I left Bush Intercontinental Airport at 7:30am this morning and arrived in our nation’s capital a little before 11:00am. My biggest adventure today was just getting from the airport to my apartment on the Metrorail.
Having memorized my route and sporting my neckbrace (for those who may not know, I fractured some vertebrae in my neck so I’m supposed to wear this hideous thing even to Washington DC) I tried to remember all the advice that many have been so kind to give me:
- walk and act confident; don’t look like a tourist
- keep your wallet in front of you
- don’t open your wallet to get your Metro pass out – keep it in your pocket
- be aware of your surroundings and constantly look behind you
- never take your hands off of your suitcases
- don’t eat/drink on the rail…even if you’re dying of hunger and thirst – you’ll get a ticket…seriously
and so on…
I checked in, got my free swag and keys and made my way to the 16th floor. One other roommate had already arrived, but she was fast asleep in the bed that she had staked out. I went to the second bedroom, choose the bed with the window view and settled in. I ditched the neck brace and just sat on the bed, looking out of my window. I was so exhausted having lugged my suitcases around and grimacing with each stubborn start off and on each escalator and rail. I’ve been able to spend the last four weeks doing very little while using pain management for my neck. I almost canceled my trip last week because of the fact that the pain had not diminished. Today’s adventure has taken a lot out of me and has left me in no condition to go exploring this evening. However, there is still plenty of time for that.
There’s supposed to be 6 of us sharing a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment; however, as of 10:30pm three of them are MIA.
My biggest disappointment so far is that unless you have a car, you cannot walk to anything without taking the Metro. We were not allowed to rent cars because of limited parking space. I have now found out that many people actually reside in these high rise apartments so they get first priority in terms of parking. In any case, the attendants in the lobby said that there is a small little store on the bottom floor of an adjacent building. My roommates and I were off in the freezing rain to get some basics for our empty refrigerator.
After spending twice as much as one should at the grocery store and bringing home very little to show for it, we made our microwavable dinners and skimpy salads. Only after the 6pm orientation were we told that there is a Safeway only two stops down the way via the Metro. Nice tidbit to have known BEFORE I spent $20 on lettuce, tomatoes, oatmeal, water, salad dressing, paper bowls. and plastic ware.
With the apartment to myself (my roomies went out to get mugged exploring). I got in my jammies, put my soft brace on, and crawled into bed. I’ll probably fall asleep while starting my first assignment: reading the first 59 pages of Michael A Genovese’s Memo to a New President: The Art and Science of Presidential Leadership.
I’m glad that I didn’t cancel my trip after all. Even sporting a neck brace and hearing the constant popping and clunking in my neck (what is that???) I’ll be able to share in an event that many thought they would never see in their lifetime.
Tomorrow will be another adventure indeed.