Back home, the weather is always a topic of conversation. You can get all four seasons in a day in Edinburgh, so small talk often revolves around the daily weather. So it’s somewhat natural that the sudden drop in temperature and arrival of pumpkin spiced everything comes with a different view, and aspect on DC has emerged. We’ve all now been in the city for over a month and a half. We have our favourite coffee shops, we understand the metro and seeing Marine One fly-over or a motorcade going-by is not unfamiliar to us. We’re no longer tourists and more like residents.
It’s not all plain sailing though – little ever is – culture shock hasn’t been sudden but it does exist. I’ve been to the US even DC itself before, but being a tourist is much different to actually living in a place. Coming from a country where anything 65F+ is sunbathing weather, the immediate culture shock was the heat and humidity. I’m no stranger to heat and love nothing better than relaxing by a pool, but I was to humidity and I really wasn’t expecting it when I arrived. That first full day in DC was great but dealing with the subsequent and unexpected mosquito bites the following day, was not. So there’s little things that can still blindside you.
Nonetheless, the city is beginning to feel like home. I’ve purposely held off doing any travelling until I was well rooted in the city and now that’s happened, I’m busy tracking down cheap flights (Virgin America has deals to the West coast for as little as $179 at the moment). I’m looking at spend a little time all over the place, New England, the South, Pacific North West, Colorado and California or all on my bucket list for the year.
That sense of reality is helped by the impending mid-terms which are stacking up thick and fast. Much of the general stereotype of a year abroad, particularly if you’re studying on a program in Europe is that academics go out the window and its a year of partying and debauchery. Whilst partying and debaucher is still a running narrative here, academics are still a huge factor. Classes are demanding but ultimately interesting and rewarding. There’s a greater sense of freedom in choosing your subjects here and professors are much better at providing real life examples to their teachings which makes the whole experience ultimately more rewarding.
So, it’s been another week of class, socialising, watching sports and general fun times.
Friday was spent recovering from a surprise party for Ellie, one of our study abroad troop. Saturday was spent watching College football – I was kinda disappointed that GW didn’t have a team but at the same time allows me to follow any team that’s really playing and generally enjoy the game which is fantastically passionate. Sunday was another trip to H street and the Pug for brunch for a friends birthday, followed by very stereotypical drinking from red solo cup in a backyard playing beer pong, boom cap and various other games I generally didn’t understand but all in all a good weekend.