Saturday, June 20, 2009

The center of the universe

Last week we got to go to the Capitol and spend an hour with Congressman Jim Matheson (Utah Democrat). He was a great speaker and made me think that maybe I can be a Democrat and yet still stand for fiscal conservatism, among other things that conform to my religious beliefs. Afterward, my friend Jason used his special connections (aka his Senator Hatch intern badge) to show Andrew and I around the Capitol.

Since we didn't have much time, we just poked around a little bit. Below is the site where they were originally planning on burying George Washington (if what I remember is correct):

He even took us to the underground tunnels where we were able to ride the trains that are only reserved for people who work on the hill. Needless to say, I was easily impressed.

The streets in D.C. are laid out in quardrants with the Capitol building as the center of the city. Jason, Andrew, and I located the very central spot of the building and got to stand on top of it. Guess which foot is mine? P.S. the swelling has gone down, thank you.

For an instance while my foot was on that spot, I felt powerful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just so you would believe me

Some people who have heard of my snake bite story don't quite believe me when I said that my foot and my leg just ballooned . So here's a photo to satisfy your curiosity. This was taken while I was in the ICU, a day after I already had three doses of anti-venom shot into my blood stream.

Now I know how I would look like if I got cankles.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kissy kissy

At first I thought it was a joke. Then I saw it again two weeks later at another metro station. The "Kiss & Ride" sign in the parking lot right outside the metro was probably just some painter's idea of fun, although I don't really know what it could have meant.

I do have a couple of ideas though:
Spicing things up on the metro: Kiss cam!
Free rides for free kisses.
Left over celebration from Valentine's day?

Eventually I looked it up. Apparently the Kiss and Ride is a section where drivers can drop off their passenger and not have to leave immediately. It is a silly-cute tradition for the drivers to be able to kiss the commuters before they head off to work. How considerate.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Memorial Day weekend was tiring. The few of us who didn't end up going to New York (me because I was supposed to be in bed resting) decided to go and watch President Obama speak at the Arlington Cemetery. Jason somehow convinced us that we needed to wake up at 3 in the morning to line up to get good seats and even then he warned, we may be too late. So, when it was still dark outside, I grabbed a piece of toast slathered with chunky peanut butter, hobbled to the taxi, and with barely contained excitement, went off to the Arlington cemetery with my friends.

We innocently asked the taxi driver where he was from. "Sudan," he grumbled. In the short silence that pursued, I bet we were all thinking the same thing - should we tiptoe around the elephant in the room and change the subject or confront it head on and risk getting crushed? Tyler then casusally asked, "So what do you feel about what's going on over there right now?" What followed was an uncomfortable barrage against public apathy and political hypocrisy. All of a sudden he stopped the taxi and told us that we've arrived. When we got out, we realized that he had dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. The answer was clear - we got crushed. But still determined, we hiked the rest of the way, navigating with our cellphone light and my waterproof map. After all, President Obama was waiting.

There were nobody there when we arrived at the Arlington Cemetery. Ok, there were plenty of army soldiers teasing us for being so early. We sat there on the pavement for the next seven hours waiting for the gates to open. At around 7, still four hours before the event, the crowds began to come. There were the adoring fans, sporting obama t-shirts and even obama sport shoes. There were the sons and daughters of the veterans past wanting to visit their parents' graves. And then of course, there were mere tourists/ interns like us, who were told not to leave DC without an Obama-sighting.

It was all worth it, we were the first ones on the bus when the gates finally opened. Wriggling through the crowds, we secured seats in the front section - we were only 30 feet (six rows) away from the president!

Watching him in action, I think I finally understood why the crowds loved him. He was electrifying. There was a solemnity about him and a sort of quiet dignity that simply engaged you, leaving you hanging onto his every word. He spoke about the sacrifices of our troops, describing their bravery and courage in the face of war. He exalted the great generals loved by history and yet paused to acknowledge the unknown soldiers "whose names were known only to God". It was a beautiful tribute, made even more heartfelt because he vowed that he would never send troops to war "unless absolutely necessary". I veered from being on the verge of tears one moment and on the heights of patriotic pride the other.

I must admit though, this whole nationalistic thing was a little draining. I think this last stint should last me for a while.