It sounds cliche, but it seriously seemed like last week when we were walking around with our group leaders around DC, taking in the sights and making multiple trips to Target for groceries. Three days ago, I sat for my last final and yesterday, I bade farewell to my home of five months – DC.
The final week was a whirl of meeting up with different groups of friends, trying out new restaurants and revisiting ones we’ve been before. Parties were held, apartments were cleaned and emptied. Sleepless nights weren’t because of cramming for finals, but rather the rush to pack to hit the move-out deadline.
In retrospect, choosing to do my exchange in DC was probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made. From the election rush and the slew of protests in January and February to the proximity of popular spots like Florida that came in really handy during spring break and finally to the host of lawn festivals and restaurant week when warmer weather rolled around in April and May – I constantly found ways to entertain myself regardless of the seasons. GWU presented me with an endless string of opportunities – from joining hikes with student group GW TRAILS to being accepted as a member of a co-ed fraternity to experience Greek Life to attending career fairs and related events, I had reaped immense knowledge and managed to immerse myself in a whole new experience this semester.
Perhaps one of my best memories from DC is visiting the
monuments at practically any time of day. From having picnics on the national mall and reading a book on the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial – these are experiences unique to DC/GWU students (to the envy of many). Bored at night? No problem, round up a few friends and go for a walk of the national monuments basking in moonlight. Feel like you’ve been eating too much recently? The scenic views of your running route along the national mall provide the definitive motivation.
I am grateful for the friendships forged, the memories created and the help I’ve received in navigating these 5 months of independent living. Thank you to everyone who’s made a difference!
Audrey out. (Mic drop)
A lot happened this week. Unfortunately it’s the week I learnt about just how painful it is getting your hand stitched up. It happened because I wasn’t paying attention to the direction of cutting a cauliflower (note to self: never cut sideways). It’s also because I lacked experience in the land of living by yourself and cooking for yourself. For the first minute or so after slicing my hand open with an extraordinarily sharp Ikea knife, my mind went blank, my heart started racing because I’ve never been good with blood. I got a bandaid out from my emergency kit but realized the cut was way too big and too deep. I grabbed some paper towels and pressed on the wound until my Uber transported me to the Colonial Health Centre. I didn’t wait for long but it was also useless because they couldn’t give me any stitches. They wrapped me up in bandage, charged me $30 for service and I was out the door. I was redirected to the Emergency Room which was in McPherson Square. Accessible by Metro. That’s good. Then I waited in the waiting area for about 2 hours. I guess I wasn’t dying so why the rush. A lovely nurse practitioner gave me 6 stitches. We talked about Grey’s Anatomy to pass time. It looked horrible, still does, reminds me a bit of the Frankenstein’s monster sorta thing. Whole procedure would cost me something like $500 AUD, which is bad if you had no health insurance (luckily I do). In about a week I’ll be getting the stitches out, and it seems to be healing fine. It’s an experience that teaches me to be more careful especially when you’re overseas.
Onto some better news. Despite the cut, I was still able to go on a white water rafting trip with GW TRAiLs on Saturday. The closest place to raft was unfortunately in Ohiopyle State Park all the way in Pennsylvania (3 hours drive one way). If it weren’t for the long drive, I’d definitely go every second weekend. No experience required and you don’t even need to know how to swim (which is great for a non-swimmer like myself). We navigated through thrilling rapids for about 5 hours with a break in the middle (lunch was provided) and all of that (including transportation) was only $60! You can feel the endorphins rushing through your body. Each rapid is unlike the next. You’re getting splashed all over but all you can think about is “Again! Let’s do that again!”. Our raft and trails leader, Kate, is a raft instructor and worked on the Colorado River over the summer so with her experience an our teamwork, we killed it on the rapids. I wish I had brought my phone to take photos but it was too risky without a waterproof case. So the photo here is the view on the drive to Ohiopyle which is equally as awesome.