In the land of $4,000 suits

It’s week four here at my internship and it already feels like I’ve been here for two months. Despite being lost in time, I’m having a killer experience.

Three weeks into my time here I had the off-the-wall opportunity of being able to meet over 100 of our nation’s congress at The annual Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony. It felt most surreal when Nancy Pelosi grabbed my arm to ask me to take a picture of her with her constituent. Woah.

Beyond that, I must say it was interesting to tweet for Nick Cannon, Pelosi, Boehner, and Bradley Beal as part of my office’s press initiative.

My fellow intern, James, and I trying to look important in between the AM and PM Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony.
My fellow intern, James, and I trying to look important in between the AM and PM Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on June 17, 2015.

More so, everyday is a fashion show. I must admit I came here slightly unprepared for what to expect dress wise. Sure, my office culture is business causal/professional, but everyday on the train here is like riding a Armani themed metro. It’s surreal how over-the-top The District can be amidst a sea of homeless. The unfortunate truth about this place is that it is decorated with the homeless. I’m not sure if it’s from a lack of assistance, or disinterest in helping these people, but everywhere you look is a tent with a story. Eastern Market has the most homeless people from what I can tell, and it’s heartbreaking to watch people in Michel Kors walk over the hands of those crying out into the night for spare change.

So what’s all this cost? Well… imagine you’re at the grocery store in the Midwest. It’s maybe 89 cents for canned food, and a loaf of bread is about $1 — now multiply that by three. Everything here costs you more than you think it would. My first drink here in DC wore a price tag of 16 green Washingtons (and it wasn’t even bourbon).

Electronic Superhighway’s Nam June Paik arranged 336 televisions on a scaffold and overlaid it with almost 600 feet of neon. Fifty DVD players send multimedia simultaneously to screens populating each state. I found this at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the Chinatown neighborhood.

Despite what people think of DC, I’m convinced it’s the Mecca for opportunity. Within my first week, I met dozens of juniors like me who have sick jobs/internships: content developers, digital sales managers, programmers, network specialists, etc. Then there are the politicians. Whatever your party affiliation is, or lack there of, there is a plethora of active public service professionals here running the country. I haven’t encountered a single office here that isn’t welcoming or not-interested in who you are and what your aspirations are. Opportunity is DC’s middle name, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where the journalism/marketing industry gravitates to.

I think this is among one of the reasons why I’m chose this internship over others. My interest in public service has never disappeared ever since I left AmeriCorps. Despite it all, the good, the bad, and the in-between, I can’t deny that this place is the best thing for me right now. Here’s a toast to the halfway point.

— C