5 days

I can’t believe it’s already September.  So this is it.  Only 5 days until I bid adieu to DC and board a train for Seattle to begin my amazing bike adventure.  

I don’t think it has hit me.  Even after I have no room and am subletting from a friend. Even when I have no belongings but a box of clothes.  Even after I finish up one of my jobs and find an incredible amount of free time.  Even after my friends give me farewell hugs.

I guess I should have been more active in going outside to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of DC for one last time.  Instead, I have been busy leading volunteer dates, packing, shopping for biking/camping supplies, helping coordinate the next event for a community service project (In One Day DC) that will happen after I leave, and applying for jobs out in California.  I never planned on having a goodbye gathering since I don’t like attention -even if it’s the good kind (I know. I have some unidentified psychological problem).  I suppose it’s fitting that I leave in this manner.  Life will just go on in DC and the memory of me will fade out of the city as people leave the area.

I am very focused on the future, but I take this moment to thank DC for the allowing me to meet such wonderful people some of whom have become my new friends and helping me grow to become an adult with a clear sense and acceptance of my identity.

I cannot wait to see what the west coast will have in store for me.

Time for see you laters

It’s official.

A girl agreed to take my room and be the new roomie for our group home.

I am moving from my beloved DC.

Like anyone who has experienced moving, I am a bundle of emotions -sad, nervous, anxious, excited, terrified, dread (of all the packing and cleaning). As I started counting the days I have left to spend here with my friends, my mind wandered to all the amazing memories of experiences I have of the city. I never thought I would ever get to know the city and the people so well to make this place feel like a neighborhood. A community. A home.

Although starting over is daunting, I cannot wait to venture with heightened awareness once again, meet new people, and explore to personalize locations with sentimental connections to memories in my next destination.  All in an effort for personal growth and to create a new home.

But for now…..I still have so much I have yet to do before I go!

On the list of things to do by August 20-ish:

  1. Find a rooftop to have a summer BBQ
  2. Get the balls to perform a poem/song/anything on the Bloombars open mic on Mondays
  3. …..and skateboard at the skate park on 11th Street
  4. Wander through the underground tunnel system around Capitol Hill
  5. Go to Radius Pizza and take advantage of the $5 slice and pint deal (It’s not a myth! Radius is coming back, Mt. Pleasant!)
  6. Bake the perfect loaf of bread
  7. Drink a beer at night or watch the sunrise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (OR! Not pass out there and do both)
  8. Finally e-mail the guy at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop to learn how to use the dark room and develop a roll of film
  9. Watch a movie outdoors at one of many summer screenings in DC
  10. Tour the White House. (Better get to writing to my letter of request!)
  11. Visit Baltimore during the day (Ok. Not in DC, but it’s so close and the only other time I went was for a night photo shoot of abandoned train cars. Not the safest thing)
  12. Host a relaxed dinner party to see all of my DC friends at least once last time

I still can’t believe it.

I gotta go out and take advantage of the weekend!!!

The Color Run -Philly!!!!!!

My long awaited day of the Color Run has finally passed.

The big question:

Is it the happiest 5k on earth?

Absolutely.

The Color Run is the best social experience ever.  It’s not even the actual run (more walk because of the sheer number of people) but afterwards that is the best.  No, not the Color Extravaganza pictured below.  It is when everyone is making their way home and you bump into other people with colors resembling characters seen on Avatar or comic book superheroes.  You feel as though you are part of a giant flashmob as non-participants eye you and you walk on unfazed by their astonishment/disgust.  You make eye contact with Color Runners, smile, and cheer with more strangers than you do ever in a typical day.

Runs are still happening all over the US, including DC in September.  Do it!!!

PS- I’ll let you in on a secret. For those who don’t want too much powder, this guide is completely wrong. People are also standing in the middle. Just pay attention.

from thecolorrun.com

Artomatic!!

Yesterday, I kind of skipped out of work early to cross the river into Virginia and visit Artomatic.

An eleven story building whose entire floors are dedicated to art!?!?!

I have gone to plenty of pop up art galleries and artist studio buildings, and Artomatic is pretty much the equivalent of a Smithsonian housing over 1,000 local artists. When you are there, you cannot describe it as any less than astounding or every synonym for the word.  Each floor has so many nooks that you literally get lost in art.  At all times, they also have a bar on each floor serving refreshments like Izze soda! Fancy. They also have special events on stages found on almost each floor.

The entire experience was incredible!!  I spent almost 3 hours there, but I sped through the last few floors.  Too many artists to even take pictures of each, but here are some of the highlights from the museum.

Check it out! The month-long festival is only open for a few more days until June 23!!

Summer means free outdoor movie screenings!

from capitolriverfront.org

I went on a run Wednesday night to try and pick up my paycheck, and across the street from the office was a crowd of people gathered in a park.  That made my day – especially after I found out that my check was in the other office.  It’s summer!!!!

Here is a comprehensive list of all the outdoor movie screenings in the DC:

Screen on the Green on the National Mall

  • Monday, July 16: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Wednesday, July 25: It Happened One Night
  • Monday, July 30: From Here to Eternity
  • Monday, Aug. 6: Psycho
NoMa Summer Screen– Wednesdays, May 23 through August 8, 2012 , L Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets, NE. Movie starts at 9pm.  The theme for this year is the end of the world. Food trucks are there for concessions.
Capital Riverfront Outdoor Movies– Thursdays, May 24 through July 26, 2012, Canal Park, M St and 2nd St, SE.  Movies start at 8:45pm ish.
U Street Outdoor Movies – Harrison Field Under the Stars–  V St. NW between 13th and 14th Sts.
  • June 27: DC Cab
  • July 25: Protocol
  • August 22: The American President
  • September 26:  The Pelican Brief

DC to Austin via bike in 30 days – It’s happening!!!

Last night, my roommate and I spent two hours brainstorming supplies and a detailed route for our bike trip to Austin, Texas (which may return to the original plan of DC to LA depending on circumstances).

We will be biking on average about 75 miles a day with a few days of exploration and relaxing in between.  To keep our costs at a minimum, we will primarily be camping in Virginia and North Carolina.  In bigger cities, we will stay with friends or couchsurfers.  The key pit stops are….

Charlottesville, VA

Blacksburg, VA

Boone, NC

Asheville, NC

Athens, GA

Atlanta, GA

Mobile, AL

New Orleans, LA

and then…..Austin, TX

(If you are along this route and are a couchsurfer, let me know!)

The countdown begins….

We have 88 days before our scheduled departure date of September 1.  In between now and mid July, we hope to get a majority of our equipment together, start fundraising, and go on a couple of trial long-distance trips to Mt. Vernon and Harpers Ferry.

So exciting!!!  Mosquitos and crocodiles of the bayou – bring it on!  Austin, here we come!

Cookie Bike Tour

This morning, several friends and I embarked on what we had planned as a cookie bicycle tour of DC’s cookie and coffee shops.  Instead of limiting us to sampling just cookies, we enjoyed a variety of baked goods.  As opposed to last week’s scorching hot weather, today was perfect!  A sunny, breezy, comfortable day.  To prevent anyone from throwing up in the end, we limited the tour to 4 stops:

Uncle Chip’s- 1514 N Capitol St NW

Blind Dog Cafe- 944 Florida Avenue NW

chocolate chip cookie and a tomato scone

Sticky Fingers- 1370 Park Road NW

mocha and peanut butter cupcakes

Snickerdoodle cookies at my house

A City of Disconnect

On Saturday, my friends and I had the first of three events for the In One Day Project -Day of Joy.  From 10am to 5 pm, we spent the day in several parks in DC.  The purpose of the event was to devote our day to spreading smiles and a bit of happiness to the DC community through free hugs and laughter yoga.

A majority of people were open to receiving a hug -some more enthusiastically than others.  At Eastern Market, one man joined us in our efforts after he shared how we have turned his day around during a time of many family emergencies.  Several people at Franklin Square expressed gratitude for us in the project and how the city needs love more than ever.

However, there was the other half that were not appealed by the thought of two strangers briefly sharing a moment of connection and appreciation. Some politely refused and  ackowledged our efforts with a smile while making a joke about how they get plenty of hugs from their accompanying girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/etc.

Then, there were those very few who were not entertained by the idea at all.  Now, we did not want to make people uncomfortable so we intentionally did not make advances.  We let people come to us.  Nonetheless, one woman put her arm out in defense as she walked by us.  Another woman cowered to the other side of her friend walking alongside her.  Most of those uninterested did not acknowledge our presence at all.  Even though we had prepared ourselves with the inevitable rejections, it did not go without feeling a bit hurt after having put yourself out there and not even being granted a glance.

What I thought was going to be a silly way to spend a Saturday was actually a very insightful experience.  The positive reactions were overwhelming – more than what we ever intended.  More importantly, though, we were exposed to the disconnect between people.  Perhaps those people who did not react to us or were frightened/repulsed by us are not generally in an isolated mindset.  Regardless, one thing is clear: the city, and the world, needs to smile more. Laugh more. Look at people in the eye more. Love more. Live more.  Open ourselves more to spontaneity and shared experience with the people who surround us.

It took an entire Saturday and over 400 hugs, but it was worth it for that lesson to have become clear, personal, and ingrained in my mind to continue to approach life with open arms ready to embrace.

Bike to Work Day!!!

Today is Bike to Work Day!

Today is an especially great day because I had been without a bike for almost  the past 2 weeks ( a flat and a need for a new brake cable).  With rainy weather that would have prevented me from biking anyway, I actually kind of got comfortable walking everywhere.  Earlier this week, though, I just assembled my new bike, and I am so happy!  I still find myself leaving much too early since I am still on walking pace time though!

DC, check in at any of these pit stops today! Enjoy fruit and get a free key chain while socializing with other neighborhood bikers!  Celebrate a day of gas-free commuting….and maybe make a habit of it!

In One Day

I thought that the plan to bike from DC to LA was going to be the most ambitious project I would have this year. Nope!

My two friends and I got together at a bar on April 1 and created In One Day to bring the people who make the city what it is and celebrate DC.  Since that night, we have been applying for permits, reaching out to sponsors, and recruiting volunteer in preparation for these three events!

Day of Joy– May 19th; a circulating group offering free hugs and laughter exercises in several parks in DC. (I know. Super silly!)

Day of Nurture– June 9th; a picnic for the homeless community with theatrical, poetry, and musical performances

Day of Connection– July 7th; a festival in Meridian Hill Park with workshops, yoga classes, an open air art galleries, an outdoor reading lounge with a mobile library, and much more!

Check us out at www.inonedaydc.wordpress.com for the latest news and information about the project!

If you are/will be in DC for any period of time through the summer, help us out! Become a volunteer by filling out this very short volunteer application form!