“For sunset we decided to go back to the first lookout point, and watch the sunset over the Danube. The sunset changed the colors of the river and the buildings and it was absolutely breathtaking to watch the old city and its buildings light up, one by one. Once the sun had set, we traveled down the mountain to sit along the riverside and look at the parliament building, as it was absolutely magical lit up.
When we were sitting in front of the Parliament, we had one of those “wow, I’m actually studying abroad” moments. They’ve been coming a lot more frequently, now that my time is coming to a close, actually. But I mean when else would you be sitting with your friends in Budapest, Hungary sitting, looking at ta beautiful building’s reflection in the Danube?
I never thought in my life that I would make it to Eastern Europe, with some of my best friends nonetheless. We talked about our parents and why we were interested in studying abroad, and it was a very peaceful sobering moment.”
About a year ago, I began this blog to highlight some of my favorite experiences abroad. I launched with an “Abroad Series” where I flashed back (in a rage of nostalgia) to posts from the blog that I kept while studying abroad in Barcelona.
And while it is quite clear that my writing has improved since these original blog posts, my thirst for adventure, and awe of cities has continued.
As I mentioned in my spring cleaning post, spring is a new opportunity to start fresh- something that I love doing. It is an opportunity to open yourself up again to change, just as the tulips open up to the skies.
And this time around, I am opening myself up to D.C.
I have been employed now for just about six months, and I am learning the importance of saving, splurging on the things that matter, and enjoying the special parts of the District. Part of my current job includes selecting, training, and supervising our intern classes.
And I’ve found that many interns dream of making it to D.C., of living and working in the nation’s capital, of walking the halls of Congress, of seeing leaders from around the world speak, of visiting the headquarters of nonprofits and think-tanks, of touring federal buildings, of being, well, in my position. It was that same desire I felt for Barcelona, now directed towards the city in which I now live and work.
It is strange for me to think that I am still experiencing the same sentiments that I felt while living abroad because I loved Barcelona at first glance. I dreamed of living in Barcelona, and have compared every new city to it since.
And Washington, D.C.? I happened upon it. It was a detour in my life- a good one at that. But it’s taken me a long time to find myself settled in this city of transition.
Back to my ah-ha moment.
Yesterday, I attended the White House Spring Garden tour. Last fall I attended as well, but due to the cherry blossom season, this season’s garden tour brought a many more tourists to the White House lawn.
And it was here, when I viewed the West Wing and the Rose Garden and the South Portico, that I had my ah-ha moment. It hit me how I was lucky to be standing here, on the White House lawn, with new friends in a new city. I realized how lucky I was to have gone to college, to graduate, to have a job, and to support myself living here.
My friends and I were able to reflect on how we studied in school, sacrificing nights of sleep, to graduate and get the jobs that we have now. On how lucky we were to be here, together, taking these next steps in our life together. And how lucky we were to be in the presence of such a beautiful building, that represents so much around the world.
And I had that same ah-ha moment.
And a sense of renewal.
A sense of awe.
And a sense of belonging.