DC’s Best Snowman?

We in the DC area had our first significant snowfall last Wednesday.

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You may have heard about how about five inches of snow brought our nation’s capitol to its knees. You may have heard about how our city’s transportation authorities (along with MD and VA) were totally unprepared for the snow. You may have heard about the resulting traffic nightmare in which almost everyone’s commute took hours longer than usual, and some people were stuck at a standstill for 13 hours. Fortunately, my commute took about five minutes longer than usual, and I was in my room well before the snow started in earnest. Hooray AU for letting us off work early!

Anyway, this post is not about the horrors of DC commuting. It’s about the adorable snowman I made in our parking lot! Check it out:

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Here’s a pic from the snowman’s POV of my window. I like being able to look out at it, although by now it’s pretty melted.

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Obama Visits AU

Last week Obama came and gave a speech on immigration policy on campus. He spoke in our brand-new School of International Service building, which was pretty cool. The speech itself didn’t disrupt campus life too much. They closed the SIS building at 5 the day before, and all staff and faculty with offices in that building got the day off with pay (nice!). They also closed off the quad in front of the building and the library.

The closed area of the quad, complete with officers.

I didn’t see any snipers, but two of my co-workers said they did! On my way back from my errand, the police were closing off more of the quad, and they were really freaking me out because they were being so polite. They were like pleading with us, “Please go through this building. Please step off to this side.” It was like they were trying to soothe us because they thought we’d explode into a rage at any minute! But I guess that’s preferable than how the G20 protesters got treated, so in the end, I win!

Soccer in the Circle

I haven’t been posting recently – sorry about that! I’ve been busy with work at my temporary job (which I just learned on Friday will not turn full-time, as the Dean denied the request for funding), and not been feeling so great. But I’m back on my feet, and ready to resume posting more regularly!

This last Saturday I went to watch the US v. England match of the World Cup in Dupont Circle. The event was organized by the same people that organized a snowball fight during the Snowpocalypse, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll come up with next!

Lots of people watching the game!

They had to raise $20,000 for permits and expenses, and with donations from some businesses and individuals they were able to put two giant screens on the circle.

A view of one of the two screens.

A couple thousand people (in my estimation) watched the US/England match with me and my friends. It was really cool to see so many Americans caring about soccer, if only for 90 minutes!

American flag waving above the crowd. The USA!USA! chanting was fun!

I met up with some friends and friends-of-friends at the circle, and we had a good time watching the game. The only downside was, it was HOT! And I hate being hot.

Pals on the circle, trying not to melt in the heat.

So it was a good time, but unless the US is in the final (and probably even then!), I’ll pass on another outdoor viewing experience.

Franciscan Monastery Sale

On Saturday the Franciscan Monastery near Centro Maria had their annual plant and herb sale. I went to check it out with Margie, Sarah, and Anna.

They had tons of plants for sale!

Margie, Sarah, and Anna sniffing a flower.

The monastery was really beautiful. They had a prayer written in a bunch of different languages, including Japanese!

I can read the parts of it that aren't kanji!

The monks also had some of their famous honey for sale. They have beehives at the monastery, and the honey they make is very popular. I was really excited to buy some!I made sure that we got there right when it was suppose to open, and an hour after we got there the honey was all sold out. Luckily I was able to buy it before they ran out!

On the way to the car we saw a woman with five Yorkshire terriers. They were so cute on their leashes! We of course had to stop for some pets.

I want to go back to the monastery again and take a tour. Apparently they have a catacombs with actual bodies!

Go to my Flickr page to see more pictures of the monastery!

Lantern-lit Cherry Blossom Tour

When looking at the list of the cherry blossom events I was immediately drawn to something described as a “Ranger-guided Lantern-lit Cherry Blossom Walk.” I wrangled four friends and we headed down to the Washington Monument to meet up with our ranger guide.

Michelle, Sarah, Lee, and Anna at the Stone Lodge

We met our ranger, Jane, and she started to fill us in on the oldest cherry trees still living.

She was pretty long-winded.

We walked around the tidal basin learning about Japan’s gift of cherry blossoms. We saw the lantern that Japan gave later, which is lit each year during a special ceremony. The lantern has a bunch of symbols carved into it, and the gift itself is symbolic. Jane went into a lot of detail, but I can’t really remember it. 🙂

Next we saw a pagoda that Japan gave us as well.

We walked halfway around the tidal basin with Jane, and it took us two hours. Then Sarah, Anna, Lee and I walked the other half back to the car in twenty minutes. It was a good night, although I was disappointed that the “lantern” was a flashlight!

What’s been up while the blog’s been boring!

My computer’s screen died, so I had to send it off to Apple and I’ve finally got it back! While I was laptop-less I did some pretty cool stuff. First, I went to some of the National Cherry Blossom Festival events. The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs for two weeks in DC, and during that time the Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms are at their peak bloom. There are a bunch of fun events to go to – concerts, exhibits, a parade. The first event I went to was the fireworks display on the Southeast Waterfront. There were a bunch of people there dancing to music and enjoying the good weather. I took a bunch of pictures of the fireworks, and I think they turned out pretty good!

Next I went to visit the Tidal Basin to see the famous cherry blossoms in person. It was a warm, sunny day, and about a billion people had the same idea as me. The blossoms were pretty, but I missed the peak bloom by about three days.

The final event I participated in was the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler. I didn’t run it, but I volunteered at the merch table during the expo. Volunteers get a guaranteed entry for the next year’s race, which is great because the race is so popular that they need to use a lottery selection process. The expo was pretty exciting. I thought my volunteer slot started at six, so I got up very very early and drove downtown. Once I got there I found out my slot didn’t start until nine. So I had three hours to kill, and I ended up walking in to help out about forty-five minutes early. Helping out was fun. I got a sweet volunteer t-shirt out of the deal, so it was a total win!

The Ten-Miler Expo

Check out my Flickr page to see a ton more photos of cherry blossoms, fireworks, monuments, Great Falls MD, and a lot of flowers from around DC.

Washington Hospital Center, Shame on You!

Washington Hospital Center has fired 11 nurses and 5 staffers for not coming in to work during the snowpocalypse. I still can’t believe that they would do such a thing. Seriously, if your street wasn’t plowed (and really, in the days between the two huge storms, almost no streets were plowed) there was no way you could get anywhere. You guys saw my pictures on Flickr – SUVs with 4-wheel drive were getting stuck on the main roads! If you had a car like mine, which is really low to the ground, it was impossible to drive through the two feet of snow that was still on the side roads. And public transporation wasn’t an option for many people, because above-ground Metro service was suspended, as was all bus service.

It boggles my mind that the Washington Hospital Center thought it was appropriate to fire nurses who had been working there for decades because they were unable to make it in during the absolute biggest snowstorm in history. I’m grateful to the doctors and nurses who were able to get to the hospital and complete their shifts – they are nothing less than heroes to me for making that trek. But people who were unable to do the same shouldn’t be punished for not having the foresight to purchase the right vehicle, live on the right street or in the right neighborhood, or spend the night at the hospital so as not to miss work during this once-in-a-lifetime epic storm.