DC – a place like no other

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My first week of orientation at GW has came to an end and the semester officially commences next week. Last week saw my schedule packed to the brim with numerous orientation activities and the highlights for me were the visit to the US Capitol and the Monuments by Moonlight walk.

The Capitol is home to the United States Congress and sits atop the Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. Once inside, we were greeted by wall murals and statues of presidents past. Having being born and bred in Singapore, I was unfamiliar with most of the individuals who were carved in stone (or rather, bronze and white marble). However, hearing names like Jefferson and Lincoln and standing in the same spot where they fought for rights and pushed groundbreaking policies was simply surreal. Our guide was really politically charged and always ready with a joke or a piece of political trivia to inject humour into the tour.

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Besides a journey to the past, we were treated to a glimpse of the future. Preparation works were in place for the impending presidential inauguration in a week and we walked the floors soon to be graced by an incoming president.  If you think structures look great in the day, you’ll be stunned when you see them bathed in moonlight. During the Monuments by Moonlight walking tour, I’ve never felt more fortunate to be in GW because of its accessibility to landmarks like the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. We covered the entire journey on foot under 2 hours, including stops for monument trivia and breaks along the way. The convenience was simply amazing and I definitely foresee myself taking long walks (or even runs) along this route.

Back at home in Singapore, food is synonymous with culture. Upon arriving in DC, I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge offering of diverse foods. Having landed several days prior to orientation, my roommate took me to several cafes and showed me where to get groceries. We were extremely lucky to get reservations at Founding Farmers for Sunday brunch – the chicken and waffle was simply divine. Along downtown DC and in the Foggy Bottom district, there are many Korean and Mexican food stalls. Food trucks lined the streets in Farragut Square, creating affordable options for students. The GW Campus itself is a foodie’s dream come true and I see my previous resolve to cook regularly crumbling slowly as time passes.

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We ended off orientation week with an NBA game – my very first. Washington Wizards beat the Philly 76-ers 109-93 amidst loud cries and sonorous cheers. While I had some trouble at first following the game and its scoring rules, Wikipedia took care of that in under a minute. Everyone in the stands were cheering and shouting for the Wizards — I followed suit and felt a surge of team pride even though I barely understood the game.

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Well, that’s all for now. It’s time to recharge and get ready for school!

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