Best Day Ever (on the Hill)

I have just one more day at my current job. As my coworker said, I still haven't stopped to breathe but I promised myself that tomorrow, I will let-go and chill after lunch.

We had a gathering today at work for folks moving on. It was unbelievable. I was truly like a deer in the headlights in getting acknowledged and thanked by my boss. It was a great send-off to be a part of and I look forward to more personal goodbyes tomorrow.

Yes, I'm being cryptic. Ask me in person, and I'll give you the details. You'd have to know my boss and about my office's politics to understand how momentous the recognition was for me.

So that's it. Now, I need to find a way to quiet my soul so that I can get some rest. I need to be ready to get some closure tomorrow.


Last Week

I have only a few more days at my current job. I feel so unbelievably swamped and stressed about finalizing projects and tasks before I depart. My supervisor still hasn’t hired a replacement for my colleague who left in early January. So now she has two positions to fill ASAP. In the meantime, I can only hope that the system that took so long to establish and tweak doesn’t fail.

I am looking forward to my new position and office, and I feel so fortunate for this new opportunity to learn and grow. Of course, I am nervous about adjusting to my new tasks, routine and coworkers. Yet, I invite the challenge and the opportunity of dealing with the sort of issues I care about most. I am particularly excited about my new boss, who seems like someone I can learn a lot from.

I sense that I won’t have a life starting on Monday, as my office has a very full agenda. I guess I better live it up this weekend--though I'll probably spend it reading back issues of CQ and CRS reports in order to prepare.


Inauguration Night

First of all, let me comment on how much of a nightmare it was to get home yesterday after the inauguration. After I wrote my last post, I decided that it was time to hop on the Capitol South Metro and head home. I knew that it would be crowded but I did not expect a line of people trying to get into the station nearly two blocks long.

Needless to say, I headed back into the office and took a nap. Thankfully, my coworker braved the nearby Subway to get us food. We were starving! By 430 pm, I went outside again—feeling much better. The line was just a half block long, but I decided to walk towards Gallery Place to catch a train/bus. The walk was fine. It was freezing and folks were everywhere, but I’m glad that I decided to walk. I finally caught a bus at P and 14th. (Yes, my leg still hurt - standing before the inauguration, during the inauguraiton and all night at the ball.)

After a quick rest at home, I took a taxi down to 14th and K streets to walk to the convention center for the Western Ball.

The stuff that everyone says about inaugural balls is true. There are lines everywhere, there aren’t any seats (except for in the VIP section), and it is reminiscent of a high school prom. Yet, I had a good time and I’m glad I went. I got a glimpse of Marc Anthony and JLo, as well as the Obamas and Bidens. I think I saw Raven Simone, but I most definitely stood next to Sir Richard Branson on my way out of the hall.

For the record, I will not go to an inaugural ball again unless I have VIP seating and a chauffeured car. I doubt if that will ever happen, so it was my first and last inaugural ball.


So Amazing

Wow. It was such an awesome treat to witness Barack Obama be sworn in as the next president of the United States. I got a great view of the ceremony from the West Front of the Capitol. Though I didn't spot all the celebrities, I did see DVF and Andre Leon Tally hanging out in the front row of our section.

My morning began a little before 4 AM. My escort assignment was over pretty early, so I got to stake out seats before the ceremony began. The toe, body and hand warmers I purchased for the event didn't perform as expected, so despite all my layers, I was quite freezing by the time the principals arrived.

It was such an amazing sight to see so many people on the Mall, chanting Obama's name and cheering at the excitement of the day. I'll never forget the booing of Bush and the "na, na, na, na....hey, hey, hey goodbye" singing from the crowd.

I know that I will never forget this day and will have this story to share with my grandkids.

Now that I'm back in the office and thawed, I hope to head home. I want to take a hot shower and take a nap so that I'm ready for tonight's inaugural ball. I'll be sure to post some pictures later.


One More Day

Just one more day until Obama and Biden are sworn in. I'm feeling tired, excited, anxious, and proud. It will be such an amazing day, though it still feels quite surreal to me.

Tonight, I'm headed to the office for a sleepover. I'm a ceremony volunteer and I have to report by 6 AM. I fear that I won't be able to get a restful night of sleep and be able to get to work on time, without having to leave my house at 4 AM. So, I'll be joining my coworkers and others in the office. 

Tuesday, I'll be on the Capitol grounds with the other volunteers that are escorting guests to the platform and other seated sections. Although I am jealous of some of the assignments that folks have on the inside of the Capitol, I feel so fortunate that I'll be able to view the entire ceremony from the vantage point of the West Front. I'll be able to see the back of everyone and most importantly, the throngs of people on the Mall. It will be so cold and breezy, but totally worth it.

I am sad that I didn't get a ticket to the Neighborhood Ball (I hate spam blocker!). But I did score a ticket to the Western Ball. Unless Floyd convinces me to hang out with him that night, I'll probably be at the Convention Center with with my coworkers Tuesday night. I've heard all of the warnings about the lines and coat check hell. But I really want to experience my first (and last) inaugural ball.

I'll be sure to post some pictures and notes when it is all over.


New Job!

As you can imagine, the Hill has been crazy all week. And I know that things will only get more stressful the closer Tuesday gets.

I’m taking a break from work to write this entry letting folks know that I got a new job on the Hill. Although I will miss my current office, I am very excited about this new opportunity. It is a position in one of my dream offices, and I will have more substantive responsibilities than I currently have. Plus, I’ll make more money. I start the first week in February.

I like to think that I’m a rising star on the Hill. As long as I continue to hard-work and make connections, it is almost certain that the best is yet to come.

Indeed, it is clear now that Peace Corps is out of the picture for at least the next two years.


“We Are One” Concert this Sunday

I just heard about a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial this Sunday afternoon to kick off the inaugural festivities. It starts around 2 pm. Bruce Springsteen will be the headliner, and the scheduled performers include Shakira, Beyonce, U2, Sheryl Crow and many others. For those folks unable to attend, it is scheduled to air later that evening.

I don't have any plans to attend any of the inaugural balls, though I'm really interested in the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Unfortunately, there still isn't any information out. If anyone hears anything, please let me know!

Here are some websites sent around at work today. The sites have info on events, transit and security.


Word of Mouth

I have a second interview this week for a job to which I didn't apply. It is a great opportunity as it is a position that will give me a different Hill perspective.

This is the second time that I am interviewing for a job that wasn't posted. The Hill is like that. Openings are often filled internally and through already existing networks. That is why it is so hard to break into the Hill. But once your here, and have proven yourself and nurtured your relationships, you are set.

I hope for the best as I'm ready for something new. I am not entirely sure that the position is the perfect fit, but I know that it will move me in the right direction.

In the meantime, I must finally start sending out my resume. I want and need more options.


Sunday Morning

It is so unfortunate to be up so early on a Sunday. This morning is the Inauguration Ceremony dress rehearsal. I had slight problems getting to the Capitol this morning owing to the fact that I got on the wrong bus. Thankfully, after walking around NE for a bit, I was able to find a cab to get me here on time. That sort of thing cannot happen on Inauguration Day.

I still am not totally sure about what transit method I will use to get to the Capitol next Tuesday. I am supposed to arrive sometime before 7. I don't know if I should trust Metro, even though rush hour trains will run starting from 4. I've already asked my boss for permission to sleep in the office Monday night. That just may be my best option to ensure that I am well-rested and have an easy commute to the festivities.

Floyd will be in town--he and another friend are getting my two ceremony tickets (lucky bastards, right?). I look forward to seeing him again and celebrating this historic occasion with him.

Okay, back to waiting for group's starting time. Here's to the next two busy but totally awesome weeks!


So Tired

Wow, it is so crazy at work. I thought it was just me but everyone else is also swamped and feeling the pressure to get things done. Thankfully or unfortunately, we got a new batch of interns. I hope there is at least one smart, hard-worker among them.

Yesterday, A-M and I ran into my old boss. It was so weird to see her, and I miss her and many of my other coworkers. Yet, I haven't gotten to the point of looking back longingly at my old job. It was definitely time to move on.

And I'm at that point now with my current job. I've mastered my tasks and feel at ease. As Floyd reminds me, I need to send out resumes to at least a dozen offices everyday. I've been lazy and relunctant to apply. Partly, because I don't want to forgo any awesome upcoming office events and tasks that I know are in the works. And, I still have lingering hopes that the newly opened LC position might be filled by me. That way, when the LA leaves--she's been plotting her exit since before the election, I can easily step into the LA spot after only having a few months as a LC. At least that is the plan. I'll keep you posted as to the reality.


The Hill is Happening Again

Things are back to normal on the Hill. It's sorta like the first day of school. Excited, new Members are getting lost, while incumbent Members are calmly walking the halls and barking orders to their staff.

It's so nice to see the new Members and their families. I can only imagine how awesome it would be to be the school-aged child of a Member of Congress. What a great lesson in government and American history he or she could get on a daily basis.

The movement on the Hill has gotten a bit closer to home as my officemate is moving up. I will miss working with her and can only hope that it will soon be my turn to move up or move on. There is a slight possibility of moving up in my office, but nothing is certain. Thankfully, a nice amount of promising positions are opening up. That number will increase throughout the spring and summer as folks move to the Administration and K Street. I can only apply and keep my fingers crossed that something will come through.

To be honest, the possibility of a fulfilling, short-term (3 years max.) stint on the Hill or with the Administration is the only thing keeping me in DC. I promised myself that I would only be in DC for 10 years. As I move toward the 9.5 year mark, I am increasingly looking beyond the Beltway for a strikingly new experience. Perhaps, it's time to go back to school or travel abroad or find a random job in one of my dream cities. I don't know. I just feel the need for a change and a fresh start. Perhaps, it is just a traveler's hangover or roommate sickness, but my trip out West reminded me of that there are so many other places to live and explore. 


Happy New Year

Wow. I've really neglected my blog lately. It wasn't my intention but somehow something always got in the way of a regular post.

I had a really great time on the road trip. The West truly is beautiful, and it was a drive that I will never forget.

Now, I'm waiting at the airport to head home. I switched my flight and now I'm paying dearly with delays and pending work assignments that I am unable to do. Yes, I was scheduled to work today.

On the bright side, I enjoyed the extra time with Floyd that having a later flight afforded.

Things will be crazy during the upcoming weeks. But I am looking forward to all the events and tasks. I am well rested and itching to resume my life in DC.