Day 13, Thursday, June 28, 2012: For those of you who do not know, today was a really big day in D.C.. The Supreme Court ruled on Obamcare. It was quite exciting in the office as a we crowded around our co-workers computer to see the results being posted onto the SCOTUS blog. Apparently, there were even belly dancers outside of the Court…why not?
Other than hearing this landmark decision, we continued to work on the fun assignments we have been given. Another fun thing that happened today was that I purchased a new camera! Canon 7D, here I come! After work, Alaina and I hurried back to our dorm, changed and headed to Metro Center to look in some tourist shops and meet Karon for dinner. We ended up eating at Hard Rock Cafe (yes, we know it’s touristy- but it was REALLY good food…their turkey burgers there are quite tasty just FYI). We also examined the exterior of the Ford Theatre and the building across the street again, where Lincoln passed away. We also walked by this absolutely breathtaking church (pictured above). After dinner, we walked around a few shops, naturally, I bought an awesome Georgetown shirt. I even convinced Alaina to try on some cool shades for 4th of July possibilities 🙂 Alaina and I checked out a few stores to find some 4th of July attire. I also picked up a few more brochures for some fun activities in the D.C. area…basically, we are about to take a whole lot of adventures!
We came back to our dorm after all of our shopping experiences at H&M and American Apparel, where we settled in to finish up some stuff that we both needed to work on and planned our amazing upcoming weekend! I cannot wait to share the adventures that we have planned for the next three days!
For more fun pictures and light into the shennanighans we get into here in D.C., follow me on Twitter: @amyestone12. Also, follow me on Storify, where you can see some of the amazing things that are happening with iCivics right now!
Oh, and just for kicks: THEN and NOW
Yes, that is me in the bright blue North Face, rockin’ frizzy hair, stretchy pants and fuzzy shoes. I was cool…
Day 12, Wednesday, June 27, 2012: Today was another fun day at the iCivics office. One of the other interns returned from visiting his family in Puerto Rico, so we got to hear about his grand adventures abroad. He even brought back little souvenirs for the office! He found tiny rum bottles with tiny straw hats on top…they are super cute. Alaina and I continued to work on some of the fun projects that we have been assigned (and I must say, we have begun to put quite a dent into the list we were given when we first arrived. Yay us!). Today was also a great day because I received my CAS number for my visa for the University of Leicester in the fall! Oh goodness, I am going to school in England so soon! (I’m really excited if you cannot tell).
After work, Alaina went to dinner to meet a law school friend and his wife, while I caught a metro and headed toward Metro Center to see what was over there. I was quite wonderfully surprised when I got off to discover that there was a H&M just across
the street and down a block from the exit I got off at! (Of course I explored it!) I walked down the street and found an entire row of souvenir shops…they were all quite fun to go inside of! One was even the official welcome center for D.C., so I was able to pick up some awesome maps and coupons for activities Alaina and I have been wanting to try!
While I was walking down this street, I noticed a sign that said “Ford Theatre”–for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the theatre that President Abraham Lincoln was shot in–and across the street is where they took him to be treated. He passed away in that house the following morning. It was very interesting to see such an old and extremely historic building sandwiched between tourist shops. The theatre is oddly placed now also–it’s next to the D.C. Hard Rock Cafe. Finding this historic spot was quite a little adventure in itself because I made sure to read everything about it that I could while over there.
After I examined the outside of the theatre and house, and had had my fill in tourist shops for the day, I began to walk back to the metro when I found a Barnes & Noble (which naturally, I went inside to explore). I hunted on the shelves to see what interesting novels about D.C. or Europe that I could find, when I came across the first of a trilogy about Marie Antoinette. Of course, being obsessed with Versailles and the extravagant life that she lived, I purchased it. It is such a fun book so far! (It will probably be super scandalous once I get further into her life than when she was 12…but I will let you know if it’s worth reading or not).
For more quick updates and fun pictures that don’t make it onto the blog, follow me on Twitter: @amyestone12
Also, check out my Storify account for cool things that are happening to iCivics!
Day 11, Tuesday, June 26, 2012: Today was such a fun day after work (and at work…we got to play games all day for one of our assignments from iCivics!). After work, I decided to take another walk, and I can officially say, I have walked from DC to a
I walked to the Lincoln Memorial again, and went around the back side of it where I noticed a beautiful house off in the distance (it turned out to be Robert E. Lee’s house overlooking/in Arlington National Cemetery). I decided that I thought that this house was so beautiful, that I would take a walk over to it. I crossed the river and walked all the way to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Once in the cemetery, I walked to Kennedy’s tomb and took a look at the eternal flame. At the top of the hill where John F. Kennedy and his family are buried, is the Robert E. Lee House. It’s a beautiful house with huge white columns that faces the river and has an overlooking view of DC.
The walk through the cemetery was lovely. It was just a small reminder for how many men and women have given their lives for our country over the years, and just how much of a sacrifice each of them gives daily as they step into danger to ensure our freedom at home. It was a wonderful reminder, just a week before our nation celebrates her freedom, of just how precious the freedom is that we hold so dear and how amazing the cost truly is for her freedom.
Day 10, Monday, June 25, 2012: Today was our second Monday on the job. We had a very lively day at work today, with some assignments that we received last minute
that turned out to be quite fun to research. After work, I decided to take a walk around DC. I walked from the George Washington dorms where we live to the Eisenhower Executive building, hooked a left from there and walked to the Lincoln Memorial, to the Korean War Memorial, to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, passed by the Vietnam, WWII, and Roosevelt memorials, then walked around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial, back toward the Washington Monument and then finally headed back to the dorm. It was a wonderful adventure!
I saw so many different buildings on the way there (even noticed that one of the art museums misspelled Michelangelo’s name on the STONE CARVING at the top of the building. For those of you think it is Michaelangelo, you’re wrong. Hate to burst your bubble for those of you who have mispronounced it your whole life, but his name is pronounced Mick-EL-ang-e-lo…there is no Michael in his name). Even though there was that awful mistake on the building, it was an absolutely beautiful exterior of an art building. The Lincoln Memorial was absolutely stunning (and completely packed with tour groups). The walk around the Tidal Basin was amazing. That area is just beautiful between the MLK Jr. and Jefferson memorials.
Follow me on Twitter for more random pictures and stories throughout the day! @amyestone12
Day 9, Sunday, June 24, 2012: Today, Alaina and I went with our neighbors (who, I must say, are absolutely awesome) to church. We went to a beautiful little United Methodist church in Georgetown. The church was in a an amazing building which had a pale purple front door! (The inside was a pale purple with some blue and cream for the majority of the walls; it was gorgeous!) It had a beautifully stone carved entryway with brightly colored stained glass. The sanctuary was upstairs, and was a wonderfully lit room with stained glass on the sides and the back windows. The brass chandeliers had these orange and yellow ribbons hanging from them, which swayed in the wind because all of the windows were open for ventilation (no A/C…woohoo). To say the least, it was definitely a different style of worship (there was a dialouge/play instead of a sermon…which was good because it had a spiritual point, just different). Even though the lack of A/C made it a little warmer, the come-as-you-are church (people were literally in running clothes…they mean that when they say it) was one of the most welcoming and loving places I have ever been to. I think that I met every single member of the church between the welcoming part of the service and the refreshments time downstairs after the service. Every single person there was extremely welcoming and each were very interested in who we were and what we did. After the service our group went to Five Guys Burgers around the corner with the pastor and some prominent members of their church. It was a wonderful Sunday church experience!
After our church visit, we all headed back to campus (I did get to learn how the bus line works here today in order to get to church) and then Alaina and I quickly changed and headed to the Smithsonian National Zoo for round two. This time we actually saw more than about 20 animals! It was such a fun day at the zoo. We made sure that we covered every inch of the zoo, and that we did not miss a single exhibit between yesterday and today. We were able to see a different kind of panda, birds (so many different kinds!), lemurs, an elephant, monkeys, orangutans and gorillas, hundreds of reptiles and invertebrates, some ocean-life animals (including an octopus and a squid!). My favorite exhibit that we went to today was Amazonia. It was a miniature rainforest in a building with so many trees, fish and birds! We were lucky enough to watch a sloth move in the Small Mammal House (for those of you who do not know, it is extremely rare to see sloths move more than a foot at a time…the one we saw went about 12 feet!) and our orangutan friend came to the glass to greet up again!
I finished up the day with a trip to Whole Foods and CVS, then called my mom and had a nice little chat while I took a walk around the GW campus. (Sadly, (cough, cough) I am currently missing packing and moving out of our house in a week, with my family. Darn.)
Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful day, and I cannot wait to see what adventures lie ahead of us this coming week between our iCivics and DC adventures!
Follow me on Twitter for some more pictures and updates throughout the day! @amyestone12
Day 8, Saturday, June 23, 2012: Today was such a fun day. Alaina and I met up with Karon early this morning and headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which I must say, is absolutely awesome! We saw more species of animals thatthe museum had preserved than I think I have ever seen in my life. It was absolutely fascinating! There were animals from every continent on display.
One of the most interesting parts of the museum was the dinosaurs and other large mammal/sea creature skeletons. There were sloths that were 20-feet tall when standing fully upright, there was a snake (replica) called the Titanoboa that was 48-feet long! (The longest found snake in the world. It was 60 million years old, from Peru in the Amazon, and was longer than a school bus. It ate alligators for lunch…if the Lochness Monster tale didn’t come from a creature similar to this one, I don’t know where they came up with the idea for Nessie. It was unbelievable!)
Of course one of the crowd favorites was the Hope Diamond and other gems (the quartz and rock collections were unbelievable also). One of my personal favorites in this area were the rock/gems that were turquoise with other blues and greens mixed in. They were absolutely breathtaking. One of the most interesting pieces (besides the Hope Diamond) that the gem collection housed was a pair of earrings worn by Marie Antoinette. They were dangle teardrop diamonds surrounded by more diamonds (and it was just cool to see something that she wore in real life). There was also a stunning necklace that Napoleon gave to his wife, along with many other pieces.
One of the most amazing rooms (and my personal favorite) in the Museum of Natural History was the photography showcase with 48 prints of outstanding wildlife photographs from the contest that the Smithsonian holds annually. 48 of the 138 photographs that were selected by judges as the best (chosen out of 20,000) were displayed. That rooms beauty was unexplainable (basically, GO SEE IT).
Another fun room was the Ocean Hall, where they had a replica of one of the whales that they track in the ocean, named Phoenix, (she is currently 25 years old, and is 25-feet long at least). One of the most interesting things that was housed in this part of the exhibit was the Giant Squid (yes, they are real). It was caught in a fisherman’s net, and prior to being preserved, it was 36-feet long (now it’s about 25 feet). It was so cool
to see it! They also had an aquarium tank in that exhibit with a live coral reef (and fish that were all in Nemo…minus the sharks). (There were even skeletons and replicas of that fish in Nemo with the light bulb thing on this head…it was so cool to actually see one!)
After a while, naturally lunch time rolled around, and we were all starving, so we left the Museum of Natural History for a bit and ventured to the Museum of the American Indian to eat lunch in their cafe. It was absolutely delicious! We all highly recommend it to anyone who is hungry and near National Mall.
We returned to the Museum of Natural History and explored the rest of the museum, which included more skeletons of amazing and large animals, an Amazon exhibit, an Egyptian exhibit, the exhibit of history through bones and the origin and evolution of humans (HIGHLY recommend this one…we even saw a replica of Lucy! If you don’t know who she is…look her up. Awesome!), a butterfly/insect exhibit, and of course, all of the gift shops.
After we explored the rest of the museum, Alaina and I ran home to drop off things and get our cameras before we headed to the ZOO! (even though we only got to go for about an hour and a half before they closed–totally worth it!). We got to see the pandas, which were absolutely adorable, lions, tigers, gorillas, and orangutans. One of
the orangutans even walked up to the glass where we were standing and sat there (eating a bamboo shoot) and basically hung out/modeled for the cameras for about 10 minutes! It was such a fun experience! The lions and tigers were also up and moving around! We then headed
back on the Metro to our dorm where we spent a lovely evening sampling our neighbors’ cooking (one of them made fried okra…yum!) and chatting with them while we waited on our laundry to finish up. We then settled in after a long day on our feet and are currently resting up before our adventures begin tomorrow.
Day 1, Saturday, June 16, 2012: My adventure in DC began with landing alone in a city with three huge suitcases and an overstuffed backpack. Let’s just say I was not the happiest camper upon arriving to my dorm at GW where I will be residing this summer. Three
bags, one person, crossing busy streets–let’s just say they fall over easily and people just stare. Even with the luggage mishaps that I encountered, I was in high spirits and ready to explore my surroundings with my co-fellow, Alaina Smith. That evening we explored DC, ate at an amazing pizza place, and walked all the way to the White House. We then proceeded to locate the Whole Foods by campus, but naturally got lost in the dark on the way home…we walked about a mile out of the way, when Whole Foods is literally 100 yards from our dorm but we did not know that.
Day two, Sunday, June 17, 2012: Alaina and I got up early, eager to explore our surroundings for more fun things to see and do. We began our journey by walking to our office for iCivics, then to the White House, around the White House to the Washington Monument, then down the National Mall towards the Smithsonian Castle (where we went and explored all of it, naturally), then onward to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, then a short (cough, cough) walk to the U.S. Botanical Gardens and the Capitol, around to the front of the Capitol and then onwards to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. And then we turned around, walked back toward the National Mall (viewing the other side of the Capitol as we went), stopped and toured the entire National Museum of the American Indian, and then proceeded to Bed Bath and Beyond via the Metro. After all of this, we still were not finished with our touring. We ended the evening with a dinner at a wonderful Mediterranean cafe next to the University of George Washington and a trip to the local CVS for things that were not organic (everything here is…even soap).
Day 3, Monday, June 18, 2012: Day one of our fellowship. We settled in and loved our first day at iCivics. We joined our colleague who has travelled to DC for the iCivics Baylor Model fellowship, Dr. Karon LeCompte that evening for a dinner at a wonderful Italian place called Vapianos. Our adventures did not end after dinner. Alaina and I had heard a lot about Trader Joe’s, a local grocery store, so we decided to venture out and find it. It was quite an experience, and like all of the other grocery stores we have located, was completely filled with organic foods (which are actually quite delicious).
Day 4, Tuesday, June 19, 2012: The second day of our fellowship was one that I will not easily forget. We were blessed with being invited to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s private chambers in the Supreme Court. We were allowed to sit and wait in her chambers, and then had a discussion with her prior to going on a private tour of the Supreme Court from one of the Court’s historians. It was truly a memory of a lifetime (disregarding the fact that I lost my iPhone 4, dorm key and dorm pass in a taxi cab…I later realized this in the afternoon, and had Alaina tracking it in the iCivics office while Karon and I chased my phone around DC using iCloud tracking…sadly, after $60 in cab fares, I have given up my search for my precious belongings).
The Court was absolutely amazing. My personal favorite was being allowed to walk down the side of the Court room to the front, where we were allowed to stand on the floor where all of the Justices’ family members sit, the attorney’s tables are located, and the nine Justices’ chairs are overlooking. It was absolutely fantastic. We were able to view the Court’s library, which was breathtakingly beautiful, the East and West Conference Rooms, and the Grand Hall. It was a remarkable day. We then finished up our day in the iCivics office.
Day 5, Wednesday, June 20, 2012: We ventured to the iCivics office for our third day. We finished up a few projects, narrowing our list of amazing things to do this summer only slightly. Alaina and I created a list of places that we would like to go on adventures to in DC, which has turned out to be a very lengthy list. I took a tour of DC after work trying to locate the local AT&T office to collect on my insurance for my phone, and heading to the GW office to purchase a new passkey and key (which, I must say, was astronomical [one guy told me $150 for a new key, which I promptly replied, “I will keep looking…” you could not pay me to pay that much for a KEY] and the passkey was an additional cost…haha, no). Besides the charade of locating an AT&T store and dealing with the GW office (all the while, still phone-less for the remainder of the week), I continue to fall more in love with this city and my fellowship at iCivics.
Day 6, Thursday, June 21, 2012: Our adventure in DC continued with another wonderful day at the iCivics office. We welcomed the newest member to the iCivics team and had a fun day working on new projects. The newest member of the iCivics team was working with the National Geographic Museum prior to coming to iCivics (I almost passed out I was so excited to hear about her work there…I am a little obsessed with NatGeo). My plan for the remainder of the summer is to pick her brain about her experiences there every chance I get…DREAM JOB. After work, we attempted to venture to a hardware store to remedy my lack of a key to our dorm but were unsuccessful. Our adventure through the Metro during rush hour was quite exhilarating. We ended the majority of our evening dining with Dr. LeCompte (eating a wonderful meal) and had a lot of fun trying out some new iPad games that she had. Overall, not the most exciting of days, but working at the iCivics office was, once again, amazing. We also began to plan our weekend (which if it is anything like our plans that we have made up, will be fabulous.
Day 7, Friday, June 22, 2012: I got a phone today in the mail and have re-entered the world of communication! I also (sadly) had to purchase a key from GW, but at least I can get into my room now. Today was another fun day at iCivics. Alaina and I continued to work on the fun projects that have been given to us. We enjoyed a chill evening of calling people and catching up, and we ventured to Whole Foods (in the rain) and bought the most amazing cookies for desert! We cannot wait for our adventures tomorrow. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is on the list, and if there’s time, we’re going to the zoo to see the pandas! Basically, if you can’t tell, my first week in DC has been absolutely amazing.
I have moved to D.C. for the summer to work at iCivics through the Baylor Model Fellowship program. It is truly a dream job in a fantastic city. I am going to be chronicling my daily adventures on my blog during my time here. I hope that you enjoy reading about my adventures as much as I have LOVED experiencing them! Enjoy!
In case you don’t know what iCivics is: it is a non-profit that was started by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
(first woman on the Supreme Court, and if you ask me, about as amazing, if not more, than the Queen). She has been an amazing role model for girls and women across the world, and helped open the door for many more possibilities for women when she was appointed to the Court. When she stepped down from the Court, she noticed that there was a lack of civic education in the US today, and decided to make it her goal to correct this. She has founded a non-profit called iCivics, originally Our Courts, which are online games that teach about civic education. They are designed for middle school aged children, but have an appeal from Kindergartners to adults. These games have begun to help bridge the gap of the lack of civic education in our country.
This spring in April 2012, Baylor University in Waco, Texas, unveiled a project that Justice O’Connor had charged Baylor with. It was dubbed the Baylor iCivics Model. I worked with a team of people to prepare this model as well as for Justice O’Connor’s visit to Baylor to see the model in action. My work there led to a summer of 2012 fellowship position with iCivics headquarters in D.C. through Baylor University with two other key players in the development of the Baylor Model, Alaina Smith and Dr. Karon LeCompte.