Another ode to a long awaited Spring

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Earlier on in the semester, being situated in the middle of DC was somewhat of an anti-climax – an endless stream of rather mundane mid-rise office buildings and apartment blocks inter-dispersed with the occasional Subway here and there was hardly the most exciting thing. Even the White House was – the quintessential icon of American politics and power – really seemed much, much smaller than it did in all those sweeping camera pans on movies or the West Wing. Added to that was the cold – something that I have long and frequently complained about and will continue to do so even when I return to Sydney. My last post was about how the arrival of Spring was kind of nice. I retract this statement. Spring in DC is not nice – it is very, very nice. I think I also said that the cherry blossoms were sort of a big deal. I also retract that – they are a very, very big deal and a literal sea of pinkish-white flowers all along the tidal basin, as tranquil as it would seem, generates a sort of tourist hysteria the likes of which I have not seen since New Year’s in Times Square. We are talking fanny pack wearing tourists shoulder charging through a sea of other fanny pack wearing tourists kind of crazy – extra points if you have a baby stroller which can double as a handy plow-like device. Heck, there is a even a parade for the cherry blossoms with all of its kitschy marching band, strangle costumed people and weird floating objects glory which this year seemed to have an added degree of zest and enthusiasm perhaps due to the particularly long and daunting winter that had just passed. There was a certain point in time in which I seriously questioned why I bothered to bring anything other than thick woollen coats and jackets. I also pondered whether the “Spring Semester” was some sort of horrible joke like the strange wildlife we Australians invent to freak out tourists from abroad. But perhaps like the exchange experience as a whole, with time comes a sort of familiarity and comfort which, when coinciding with weather which allows you to wear shorts, is just pure bliss. So my advice for those who also find themselves landing in a harsh January winter is quite simply hold on and hold out – spending the spring in DC worth it.

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