Dear Washington D.C.,
I'm slowly falling in love with you.
However, I've only been here a week. I can't proclaim my love with a beaming heart so fast, that would be impolite to the social norms of the day. But I will say you've exceeded my expectations; I didn't think I'd be so enamored with your glamour and your grit -- at least I didn't think it would happen this quickly.
Maybe it's the stark buildings that greet me when I emerge from sculpted subway tunnels at the metro stop. Maybe it's the way the heels of my sensible shoes echo as they hit the glistening marble floors of nearly every government domain I set foot in.
I'm spending my quarter as a fully credentialed reporter for a news service. Emailing, calling, interviewing, writing my way through the in's and out's of a tangled, yet formal, web of politics.
On my third day I walked into the Capitol with my press pass and glided by signs that read "authorized personnel only."
Admittedly, I didn't just walk into the Capitol during that first trip. When I came upon it in its odd dress of construction, its pale cheeks surely blushing from the harsh, metal contraption framing its dome, I just stood there. How do I even enter? I was taken back by the magnitude, the surreal embrace the building casts over you when you're in its shadow.
The scope of these types of buildings becomes more evident once inside. During my visits, I've yet to conceal my awe. Without embarrassment, I'll stop and study the portraits delicately painted on vaulted ceilings, or follow the patterns of splintered light from crystal chandeliers that tessellate on the tiled floors. There's a wonder in the grandeur, the splendor, found within the halls of our government. Guards smile at me with their watchful eyes; amused at my beaming curiosity and appreciation.
I spent that one afternoon in the Capitol getting lost in its stairwells and corridors, politely nodding at congressmen and watching staffers negotiate outside closed doors. I sat in old, leather chairs in the House Press Gallery and rested on banisters in the Senate's journalists' workspace.
In each room I filled my lungs with memories of where I was, who was beside me, and let the breath flow through my body.
Yet I have noticed, Washington D.C., you're not all shrouded in gold. You're frustrating. You're not very welcoming; you're intense and you're driven. I miss my family, my friends, my cat; your traits only amplify the discomfort I feel without my securities.
I'll also admit you're intimidating. There's something about reporting in the capital that makes you feel like the stakes are as high as they can get. I'm calling senators, questioning agencies, listening to committees.
Maybe it's how your buildings hold power and the lust for that power in such close, intertwined quarters. Or how grand architecture, the type lit up at night, can loom over some dusty, pain-stricken streets visible only under flickering lamps. Though even in the plain sunlight, the juxtaposition of wealth and power, and the common man, the poor man, the non-politically inclined man is blindingly evident.
Intimidating and all, you're motivating me to be my best. You've already tested my patience, endurance and ambition and I haven't even spent a month here yet. Needless to say I'm intrigued, impressed.
Washington D.C., I have a lot more to learn about you. I hope when I write again, I have not become jaded to your splendors but rather more immersed in the world only your exacting boundaries and rules can offer.