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2005-08-20 - 10:59 p.m.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I spent my summer in Washington, DC, at the largest library in the world, on a very last minute internship. The whole thing was last minute, actually - I found housing at the last minute, and sublet my place in Austin at the last minute, and received notice that I passed the background check at the last minute (the day before I left, actually). Before I knew it, I was in DC, trudging around strange streets in the heat and humidity, and learning my way around.

Here I am on my first day at work, all dressed up and feeling like a grownup:

I shouldn't have bothered with the grownup part - most of my fellow interns, while certainly nice enough, weren't old enough to drink. Turns out nothing makes you feel older than a hanging out with a bunch of nineteen year olds.

But I did get an official, albeit temporary, ID, so that made up for a lot:

After our first week of hullabaloo and fanfare and tours and photo ops, I settled into a nice long summer of what turned out to be database entry. It wasn't so bad. I'm quite adept at database entry, and listened to a lot of online radio.

The highlight of the summer was our final exhibition, a showcase of the "Hidden Treasures" the interns had found. It was a surprisingly nice event, in that lots of people came, and we had professionally-made placards and such.

It was even more surprising that my section was able to pull some items from the database that were actually interesting enough to show to people. The highlight for me was using my newly developed "technical" skills (and my new Powerbook) to digitize some video clips and cobble it together into a DVD, to play at the event. If you look closely at this picture of me and my friend Cassandra, you can just see the video playing in the background:

That's Orson Welles on the screen.

Anyway, people were mighty impressed, and there was even an article in the Washington Post.

Among other things that I did this summer...

I hung out in my neighborhood, Mount Pleasant. I was expecting little organic grocery stores and coffee shops and gentrification on every corner, but instead, Mount Pleasant is exactly like my neighborhood in Austin, only Salvadoran instead of Mexican. There is a plethora of dollar stores and cash checking places and pupuserias.

But I like it. It feels familiar to me somehow.

I managed to talk my friend Jorge into taking me to the beach, in Delaware, where we sat on the sand all day long and watched the porpoises:

My reflection in Jorge's glasses:

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the ride there:

On the way home, we stopped in Ocean City, to walk around the boardwalk and ride the Ferris Wheel:

I also spent a lot of time with my DC-area relatives, did lots of early morning National Zoo runs, hosted the Swiss boy for a while, went to Baltimore, saw a couple of baseball games, and searched in vain for a coffeeshop that was a) within walking distance of my house, b) had free wireless, and c) did not play soft rock commercial radio over the loudspeakers. I'm still looking.

I've decided to stay in DC til the end of the month, cause I've paid rent til then. I'm volunteering at the library a few times a week, mostly so I have some sort of schedule, and trying to catch up on all the touristy stuff I've missed out on cause I was trying too hard to act like a regular DC resident.

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