Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The end is coming

This past weekend was one of my last to spend time exploring Washington. Next weekend, I have to move out of my apartment to sleep on friends' couches for a few days before I head home on Sept. 1.

For once, Saturday was a beautiful day. It was just the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and hardly any humidity. I decided I needed to spend my day outdoors. I got a ticket to the Washington Nationals baseball game against the Mets.(Yes, I realize that they suck -- as the Mets fan sitting next to me pointed out, they were projected to have the worst record in the history of baseball this year.)I've been wanting to go and it seemed like a good day to sit in the ballpark. Because the game wasn't until evening, I spent the day walking around.

First, I went to the FDR memorial, which is awesome. If you saw it and didn't know anything about American history or how the government works, you'd think he had founded the country or that he was a king. Unlike the other memorials (Lincoln, Jefferson, etc.), it's not just one statue of the president inside a pretty building. It's an expansive outdoor memorial with large granite walls engraved with several FDR quotes. There are about six waterfalls, an interesting engraving on the wall that has braille and recessed images of faces and big columns that have images of handprints on them. There are several statues. One is of FDR in his wheelchair, which I guess was pretty controversial when it was built, because he tried to hide his polio while he was president. There's another statue I really like of FDR in a chair with a statue of his dog (a terrier named Fala) sitting at his feet. I thought it was neat that they included the dog because it showed something personal about him. He's not just this mythical figure, he's a guy who loved his dog. There's also a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt and several statues representing people standing in a bread line during the Depression. It's really just a neat place and is rather peaceful. It's right on the Tidal Basin and you can look across the water at the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument reflects in the water. I think if I lived here, I'd hang out there just to sit and read.

Then, while walking back, not wanting to go home because 1) It would cost me more money to go home then go to the baseball game on the subway then to just go to the game from where I was and 2) it was too nice outside to go in, I walked around the garden at the Smithsonian Castle. It was a fairly normal garden, but I found myself walking up to the entrance to the National Museum of African Art. The art museums are the one thing I haven't seen yet (last weekend I went to the American Indian museum. It's very cool but there's a lot more reading to do there than there is at other places). The African art is beautiful. There were a lot of really cool masks and sculptures. They had a really interesting display about language, with all sorts of different displays about how language is represented in art.

Anyway, that night I went to the baseball game and sat out in the bleachers (which is actually not as fun at RFK stadium as it is in other places because the seats aren't right over the wall. They're up high and you can't really see the entire outfield), surrounded by Mets fans. I rooted for the Nationals on principle -- if I go see a game and don't care about either team, I root for the home team, if nothing else to avoid getting my butt kicked -- but man, it's hard. Those guys tried really hard, but they're just not a good team. I was surrounded by Mets fans and had a fun time listening to the guys next to me (brothers from Long Island, they told me), give each other a hard time during the game. Sadly, the Mets fans were way louder than the Nationals fans, who seemed to me to lack a bit of heart. Even if the team is dead last, you've got to be more ... something.

Anyhow, the last two weeks of my internship are underway and the excitement of going home combined with the sadness of leaving are creating an interesting mix of emotions. The stress of having to clean up my apartment and figuring out to do with the things I can't pack isn't helping.

I can't wait to get back and see everyone, though. I'll be back at the school paper right away, which is very exciting. I miss it. School itself, I'm not super excited about right now, but I'll get there.

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