Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Only at the Weckerlein's

There are many words I could choose to describe the Weckerlein's. 

They've been very hospitable, taken care of me while I've been sick, fed my ice cream addiction and much more. They're always entertaining and there is always something going on in the house.  I'm very thankful for their kindness, friendliness and all the laughs and good times.

I've lived here almost 5 weeks and was inspired to write this post when I found the item in the first picture below.

Honestly, I think these pictures will explain them better than I can with words. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

This is a toy that only speaks Italian. There is also a play kitchen set that speaks English, French AND Spanish. I'm not sure why the kids aren't multilingual yet.

The contraption that is on the toilet seat is a CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit. Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. Martin is training Ellie and Kiwi (the cats) as well as Lola (3 year old daughter) to use the toilet. Although Lola is not expected, nor encouraged to use the toilet with the litter.

Have you ever seen the TLC show "Extreme Couponing"? Martin could be on that show. While he doesn't collect and store quite as much as those people do, he has a good stash. The Weckerlein's are definitely ready for a zombie apocalypse.

Photo taken by Julie

And these cute kids are here as well. I'm definitely going to miss these sweet smiling faces and the not so smiling faces. 

If you didn't check out Julie and Martin's blog from when I first posted the link, you really need to. Your second opportunity is HERE

Monday, June 25, 2012


That's right, less than a week left in DC and I'm sick.

I know I don't need tissues, but they're there for dramatic effect

About 2 weeks ago I started to get nauseous everyday around 11. At first I thought it might be because my lunch schedule was different and I was just hungry. I started snacking at work all day rather than sitting down and eating a lunch. Accompanied with the teasing from my fellow intern about always "grazing," it didn't seem to help.

I tried to tough it out, until my lower back started to hurt and it became painful to lay on my back. Finally, after being unable to sleep, because of the nausea and back pain, I decided I should probably see a doctor.

I sent a text to my mom saying, "Don't freak out, but I think I may have a kidney infection." Of course, she was immediately concerned and told me to see a doctor ASAP. Being the good daughter that I am, I obeyed.

After talking with a doctor and a test, she confirmed that I have a kidney infection. Thankfully she didn't see hospitalization as necessary, but told me to rest today, of course drink lots of fluids and return to work tomorrow.

It was frustrating for me to go back to the Weckerlein's with only a week left of my internship. Thankfully USCIRF was very understanding and encouraged that I rest today, as well. Because I'm going to Honduras next week, I figured it wise to rest up, because being sick in a foreign country is definitely no fun. Been there, done that and yes, I do have a t shirt.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Last Weekend in DC

It is so hard to believe that I will be heading home a week from today. I've had awesome experiences and a blast while in DC/Virginia. The Weckerleins have been wonderful hosts and I am going to miss city life. I do miss the Bluegrass State and will be glad when Ruby (my truck) is part of my daily commute again.

I have made an effort to hit some of the touristy spots while here and have been successful for the most part.

Last Sunday, the Weckerleins, Julie's friend and I all went to Arlington Cemetery. It was Father's Day, so we saw a lot of balloons and flowers placed by children of the fallen soldiers. Talk about sobering and  being so thankful for their sacrifice.

Today was my last chance to squeeze in any DC spots that I still wanted to see and to hang out with Lyman, Katie and Allie. The only place that I was dying to go to was Georgetown Cupcakes. After waiting in a line for a bit, we tasted the famous sweet cupcakes. They were totally worth the wait.

After lunch and cupcakes we decided to walk the mall and see if anything was going on. I was excited, because I really wanted to run across the Capitol reflection pool like the scene in Forrest Gump when Jenny runs across it. I know, I'm ridiculous, but my mission was accomplished.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Friends are Cooler Than Yours

I realize with a title like that I sound like a dramatic middle school girl and I know what they are like, because I once was one.

It's true though. Most of my friends are doing amazing things this summer and most are blogging about it too. 

Abby and Daniel are working at Yellowstone National Park. I'm not exactly sure what all they do other than hike and see lots of bears, but they look like they're having a blast while doing it. Check out Abby's blog It's the Experience.

My lovely roommate Cassie is interning with CURE in Kenya for almost 2 months this summer. She has such a big heart for serving and helping others. The pictures of the cute kids she helps heal make it worth checking out her blog Won't Turn Back. If you leave a comment, tell her I miss her.


My future apartmentmate Jane is traveling to London to work at the summer Olympics. She's been blogging for awhile and although she doesn't update much, I know she'll be blogging about her adventures in London. She's super sweet and one of the most encouraging people I know. Check out Jane Loves Words

Max is road tripping out westward with some hometown friends. I'm not sure the purpose in it other than just having a good time, but he's a photographer for the Air Force so his pictures are always great @TheRechCenter 

I also have friends that have gone or are going to Peru, Ecuador, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Guatemala and I don't even know where else.They are all serving in some capacity and I've enjoyed praying for them and seeing what experiences and opportunities God has given them. Lots of them are working at the Olympics and I am jealous, but I can't complain too much. I'm still loving it here in D.C.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Girls' Night at the Outdoor FIlm Festival in the City

Yesterday was back in the office and like any Monday, I was tired and not excited about waking up at 6 A.M. I am not a morning person. My mother and roommate can attest to that. Those of you who are, you have a special gift and I envy you.

Although I was tired, I was looking forward to the evening, because Katie had invited me to go to a movie in the park with her that evening. I cleared things from my not so busy DC social life schedule and agreed to go.

Katie and I met on Saturday when we went to Eastern Market with our mutual friends Lyman and Chad. We hit it off as soon as we began browsing through the market, talking about our internships and love of all things communications oriented and social media. We may have even discussed renting an apartment together in DC after we both graduate in May.

I met Katie and her fellow intern, Allie in Chrystal City for an outdoor screening of the Wedding Singer. I know it's hard to believe, but none of us had ever seen the movie, but we all loved it. Chrystal City is hosting an outdoor film festival every Monday night at sunset in the summer, so we decided to make it a weekly outing.

The venue is a little patch of grass with 3 walls of tall office buildings, which gives it a cozy feeling. The warm breeze, the feeling of the blanket on the grass and the good company made it a great night. I'm already excited for Sweet Home Alabama next week.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Please Excuse the Mess

As you can see, I'm attempting to update my blog by adding a menu bar. I know, it looks really really lame right now,but turst me, it'll get better soon.

Until then, check out this hilarious video:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Haunted Firehouse, Girl Scouts, Ghost Stories and Poptarts

Thursday evening I was looking for something to get into for the weekend when Julie asked if I'd want to join her at a friend's book signing. When she told me it was about ghost hunting and the signing was in at a haunted fire house that had been turned into a bookstore/gallery shop, I was in.

Outside Firehouse Shop and Gallery

The shop is in Berryville, VA so it was a bit of a drive to get there. As we stepped out of the mini-van, we could hear some music playing that welcomed us into the shop full of artwork ranging from kindergarten crafts to professional masterpieces.

The book is called The Girls' Guide to Ghost Hunting by Stacey Graham. It's full of ghost stories and fun things to do at sleepovers. Her writing style is great and I've really enjoyed reading her blog that is written by a compilation of writers called An Army of Ermas. Check it out HERE.

Afterwards we went around the corner to a nearby park that had swings, slides and a band playing under a white gazebo. I instantly thought of Gilmore Girls and the town of Stars Hollow. Super cute and Mayberryesque.

During the week, a friend of mine and I planned to hang out at Eastern Market and check out the street vendors. It is such a neat and eclectic place. There was fruit, vegetables, jewelry, soap, sculptures, paintings and any kind of food you could've wanted

We went out for lunch afterwards to Ted's Bulletin. The waiter, with a full head of gray himself, asked me how old I was when I started turning gray. I sighed and muffled, "Thirteen." He cocked his head back and laughed saying, "I was 25!" Yeah, I'm not even that old yet.

Ted's is famous for their homemade poptarts, so of course we had to get some. If you ever go, I totally recommend the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.

Strawberry, Blueberry and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon...mmmm

Checking out the Menu's Headlines

 I should also mention my encounter with 234,984 Girl Scouts. There was an event going on at the National Mall called "Girl Scouts Rock the Mall." They were EVERYWHERE! I had to park half a mile away from the metro and then felt uncool, because I didn't have a green vest with patches, pins and badges falling off of it. I was never good at the scouting thing anyways. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Shoes and Metro Fiasco

I was really excited about today, because it was going to be my first hearing experience on Capitol Hill, but it didn't happen exactly has planned.

A girl from the office and I agreed to meet in the building rather than going into work first. I was planning on being there a bit early so that I could save us seats. 

I was going along my normal metro route when we suddenly stopped. 

The metro stops from time to time, but we were sitting for an unusually long amount of time. Finally the conductor came on the intercom and said that a customer had gotten sick at a stop and we were to stay there until it was clear. 

I had no service and was stuck underground when I was supposed to be sitting among politicians discussing important world changing issues. I decided to get off and walk from the stop where we were. I knew it wasn't far to the mall. 

I whipped out my iPhone and typed in the building where I was to meet my coworker. It said it was a mile away, which seemed odd, but I was in a hurry so I quickly followed the directions.

As I started looking around I realized that there was a much shorter path I could have taken. When I referred back to my iPhone I realized that I was looking at driving directions, not walking directions.

I dashed past the Washington Monument, cut through the botanical gardens (which are beautiful), skipped past a bunch of Smithsonian museums and finally made it to the correct building, but not without wounds. As soon as I stopped I became very aware of the blisters on my feet and how hot and disgusting I felt from my jet black, heat conducting, suit jacket.

Once we found the correct room, there were no seats and they were not allowing people to stand. I didn't even get to go to the hearing after all.

I was really excited, because my district representative was going to be there and they were talking about issues I had been learning and studying about at USCIRF. 

We took a taxi back to the office and although I was really bummed, it was my first ever taxi ride. Being a taxi driver is something I could never do. I'm too scared to honk at people and I always let pedestrians cross instead of zooming past them and nearly running them over. 

We listened to the hearing through the web cast, which was super short and not very exciting like I hoped it would be.

So much for new shoes and a new jacket. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Union Station

I've come to realize that the DC lifestyle is very different compared to the Kentucky lifestyle. I know that may sound like a dumb statement, because DC and Kentucky are so different in and of themselves, but I didn't realize this until I started to live it.

I have really loved riding the bus, metro and walking to the office. Normally I have a 25 minute drive from Wilmore to Lexington. My commute is much longer here, like over an hour longer, but I love it. Getting up at 6 isn't my favorite, but I'm learning to function at such an awful hour. 

Julie has to be at work earlier than I do, so I get up to ride to the bus stop and then the metro station with her. My metro stop is at Union Station. This is the go to place to shop in DC. It not only serves as a metro stop, but a bus station and has stores galore.

Once I'm off the train, I walk, okay I basically jog to Starbucks, because no one walks at a normal pace here. I get a tall cup of Pike Place and stroll/jog around the station. I mostly walk around Barnes and Noble, because I love looking at books. I made my first purchase yesterday of a GRE study book ... gross. 

Today I ventured out during lunch to check out Union Station a little bit more, since I had more time than I do in the mornings. Of course I went to Barnes and Noble and bought this magazine so I could at least be knowledgeable enough to know what is going on around town even if I'm not really a Washingtonian. I can pretend to be one, right?

I also found a great chocolatier, which will be the death of my waist line and my wallet, but it was SO good. 

I'll definitely be back there before I head home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Staying Busy

I know, I know, it's been almost a week and I haven't written an update. My social media skills are slacking, but I have an excuse. I've been working, bike riding, museum seeing, congressmen meeting and just enjoying DC. 

Thursday evening I had the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill and watch a documentary produced by Christ in Youth (CIY) called Love Costs Everything. There are many reasons why this experience was so exciting:

1. It was my first time on Capitol Hill ever. As Patrick and I were walking up and steps I mentioned that I hadn't been to DC since I was 3 so I didn't remember much. He suddenly stopped, had me look around and take in the experiential moment. He was right, there is something powerful about standing in the midst of the Hill.

2. CIY is an organization that I am somewhat familiar with and to see them working with the government to create more awareness about religious persecution, specifically Christian persecution, was really awesome.

3. I had my first encounter with congressmen and their awkward lackeys. They were nice and friendly, but no doubt awkward.

4.  The documentary itself was very well done and insightful. Of course it was emotionally charged and of course I had tears trickling down my face, but I held it in. If there is a viewing near you, I definitely recommend you go and see it.

The weekend following was very restful, but of course I had to go explore DC. I've made a list of museums that I want to visit and the first one I went to was The Holocaust Memorial. I don't know why I chose to make my week/weekend full of sad, religious persecution and human rights awareness filled, but it's certainly appropriate considering where I'm working. 

This week I'm going on the Hill to a hearing and have a lunch meeting with a lady that works at World Vision and does communications. Talk about up my alley. I'm excited and am thankful for the experiences that God has already given me in just a week. He always has a bigger plan than I could dream.