Final Sabbath

It still doesn't seem like reality. The interns are counting down the days until we board our flights home, and it just doesn't seem real yet.  

 

Today was our final Sunday and four of us spent it walking the monuments one final time.  

 

I have become so accustomed to seeing them every week that it is strange to not know when the next time I will see them will be...

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Tech delays

Ever sat at an Apple store for five hours? Tonight I did. 


In five hours you can meet a variety of people wandering the store. I met people from Hungry, Chicago, Miami and so much more.


Originally I was upset that I had “wasted” an entire night waiting for my phone. It’s funny I was surrounded by screens and yet not having my own in my hand forced me to talk to people.


Have a great Thanksgiving and spend more time talking to people rather than technology.

 

 

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See My city in 5 Days

Let me start off with full discloser that had my wifi not crashed three times causing me to restart this blog each time the post would be much more detailed... that being said.. 

 

"You are staying here for FIVE days.. what are you even going to do for five days in the town?!" Exclaimed the girl working in the Capitol Hill Hotel lobby when my family checked in to the typical hotel for D.C. businessmen. However, from the moment their wheels touched the ground  I was sweeping my family through the amazing town I now consider my own city. 

 

We repeated some of my favorite activities like a night time bike ride around the monuments and the Natural History Museum. 

 

But we also shared a lot of first like a tour through the White House, Supreme Court,  and going to the Top of the Washington Monument. 

 

Oh yeah and my first trip onto the Speakers Balcony, to explore the National Art Gallery, and Holocaust museum. 


I cannot even remember let alone write about all of our crazy adventures. In fact, I am sure that the more time that passes the more of those crazy adventures will slip my memory. The things that Iw ill always remember from their visit are the little moments. For instance seeing Duke at the airport man bun & braces MISSING. It was as if he had aged three years. Or playing family feud at Old Ebbit Grill while eating the best flat bread I have ever had. 


It's the little things in life that matter most. 

Hallow

Noelle and I had gone from store to store trying to piece together a costume but nothing seemed quite right so we gave in and became some of those lame people who just bail on costumes. 

 

We went into Old Town Alexandria and stumbled upon the cutest area. Each year they block off the roads in the center of town for six blocks and thousands of people come Trick-Or-Treating. With cobblestone street, town houses with lanterns, and spooky decor all around It looked like a movie scene. 

 

Thankfully, our lack of costumes did not keep us from getting plenty of Reeses although we did establish that we are "the worst" and "un-American" for being the only people in the entire town out of costume. 

 

We ended our night out in Georgetown by walking the steps from the Exorcist, I would say the people around the steps were scary than the alleyway itself. 

 

 Happy Halloween. 

Carving Party

Every once in a while we try to make it feel like we are a little family out here. I think that with the holidays approaching interns are starting to miss their families and traditions that they have. To make it feel like Halloween we had a pumpkin carving party. 

 

I wish I had captured a photo of mine and Ben's Frankenstein Pumpkin.. but unfortunately I never grabbed one of the final product and I learned pumpkins have a very short lifespan in the humidity. 

 

 

P-P-Paul Ryan

Thursday, Paul Ryan was announced as the new Speaker of the House.  

 

Since I've been on the hill I have only seen him twice, both in the past 48 hours, and both time I addressed him incorrectly and then walked away a little stunned because I couldn't believe he took the time to acknowledge me.  

 

Today I ascended to the second floor of the Capitol to a new Speaker Sign (two days earlier than the Capitol police said it would arrive).  

 

Welcome Mr. Speaker, I'm looking forward to your time.  

*Skull Emoji*

This past week I have had a cough that has continuously gotten deeper. I kept fighting taking a sick day but finally broke down yesterday and spent the day in the apartment. It was an unsuccessful sick day, or maybe the most productive depending on what perspective you look at it. 

 

I laid in bed for 20 minutes after Noelle left for the office but then it was clear I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep so I wandered out to the couch. 

 

Last week I discovered that we had Xfinity on demand, so my life was drastically changed. I watched four episodes of Scandal, but at that point I could feel my brain cells deteriorating so I read the Times, Post, Politico, Roll Call, KSL, and at this point I was just rereading the same articles with different titles. 

 

So I cleaned the apartment. 

 

Next I decided to finally catch up on my Real estate stuff. So I spent a few hours doing that, napping and then returning to my email. 

 

A walk was much needed after this all. 

 

Finally around eight I grabbed my new best friend, NyQuil and passed out shortly after that. 


Back in Utah I am a professional at sick days, or just lazy days. I binged the entire third season of House of Cards in a single day. Here it's a different story. I can't stop my mind running and a day off the hill not spent exploring almost killed me. 



Mtns were a must

(October 17th)

Saturday morning my alarm seemed to blare even louder than usual. I turned it off and quickly shoved my blanket back over my shoulders, realizing I didn't need to be in the office. Ten minutes later I shot out of bed realizing it was the day for Shenandoah. 

 

We picked up our rental care from Union Station - which took much longer than anyone could have imagined- trekking back and forth from the Budget Car Rental Booths to the parking lot multiple times. 

 

 

The park was beautiful. It is located just two hours from the busy over crowded streets of DC and is the complete opposite. Rolling hills (or what are considered mountains over here) with trees lining every inch of them. 

 

We drove the entire 105 mile stretch and then watched the sunset from the top of our rental car. 


Books on Books on Books

Columbus Day, is a commonly overlooked holiday. Back in 2013 when I was working for Governor Herbert I actually still showed up to the office on our day off. This year I spent the day exploring the Library of Congress with Kayla. 

 

Twice a year they open up the main reading room to the public so we were able to explore. 

 

I would say the best part of the day was that I didn't even know what a card catalouge was. Sometimes, most of the time, I forget how young I am but then there are moments that reveal my age. Years down the road this will be a moment that Kayla does not let me live down. 

 

After, we walked the Capitol grounds. We spend time everyday within the walls but seeing the outside is a rare occasion. In fact, seeing the sun seems to be rare. Thanks to the extensive tunnel system my vitamin D levels are at an all time low. 

 

Next on the list was Old Town Alexandria, we wandered the streets and then grabbed some ice cream from one of the acclaimed shops. I was unimpressed with the ice cream but intrigued by our conversation. I feel very blessed to be in an office with a staff that has fully embraced me as one of their own. It will seem so strange to not sit at a desk ten feet away from her when I'm back in Utah. 

 

Finally, we spent the later half of the afternoon watching planes from gravity point. They sweep down just above your head, and are in quick succession. As one plane lands the next comes into view and then is swarming above your head a little too close to the monuments for comfort. 

 


Can't stop

Normally, I take a week or two to actually pull out my laptop, sort through the unnecessary amount of photos I have taken, and write up a few paragraphs about what I've been doing. 

 

Today though, I couldn't wait. Tonight the conversation I had just after six is one of the moments that you find captured in the early pages of any memoir. 

 

Tonight as I left the office I looked up to heaven and I waved. 

 

You see, I once had someone tell me that when we are in heaven we will be able to choose to see every moment we looked up and waved. I don't do it often, in fact tonight only made night three for this year. 

 

I can't stop smiling...

and I really feel like that's how life should always be.

 

Kiddy Weekend

The Friday my family was in town they came into my office at the end of the day so that I could lead them on a personalized tour of the Capitol. After that we roamed around The Hill and then toward the National Mall. 

 

 

We got to hear Brena ask to do a "Subway Tour" plenty of times, she saw the Segway tours passing the Capitol on our first day and after that her heart was set on doing one. 

 

Saturday we took the Metro into the center of town to experience the 20 year reunion of the Million Man March, a peaceful civil rights protest. Although I have to admit the look on my dads face when we pulled into our packed station was stricken with fear. Granted, a seven year old at a rally is nerve wracking anytime, especially when our blonde hair stuck out like a swore thumb in the sea of protestors. 

 

 

I have to say I am a pretty fun tour guide. 

 


Walking around DC is a hefty feet when you are trying to trample along with a seven year old.. and shoulder rides can only last so long.. Even though they did take up a chunk of each of our days. 


 

So instead we spent a good portion of our weekend touring DC from a double decker bus. We also spent a large portion of our weekend hunting a bus down til we finally were able to get on one that was actually heading in the correct direction. We drove around the National Mall, Georgetown, and Arlington. The great thing about us riding on a beaten down bus is I was able to provide a customized driving tour as well. At each location I could show them where stories they had heard happened. 

 


And by the end of the weekend we were all pretty exhausted.. 


 

It was great to have my family out to see me and to enjoy their company for the weekend. There were moments when I felt like a tourist revisiting a place I used to live. Monday morning their alarms went off at 4 am, I hugged them goodbye and walked them out to the hall of our quiet hotel in Dupont Circle. B was too tried to really care about anything, Springtime was a sweetheart giving me a little gift and wishing me a good two months, but saying goodbye to my Dad was harder this time than the first time. I can tell that he is very happy that I am over here doing what I love, but I have always been a daddy's girl and I think that this is the first time he feels detached from my life. 

 

Don't worry Dad, I am still planning on moving home. 

 






and they came marching in..

You know what is difficult about blogging over here? There is a plethora of stories I would like to write everyday. The question is what can I write? Really, what can I say? Everything I say reflects on my office and because I love my office and respect Congresswoman Love I would never want to tell something that is personal to our office... So I will just say because of work events on Thursday (the 8th) I made a rush decision to surprise my family at the BWI airport- I had planned on catching up with them the following day when they came in for their Capitol tour.. but instead three hours before they landed I checked into our hotel, bought a train ticket for the Amtrak line that runs up to Boston, and headed to Union Station. 

 

Two hours later I was hoping off the train onto the same platform that two months ago I was wrestling my oversized lugged over to make a train into the city. 

 

My phone lit up seconds after I left the train with a "Just landed" text from my dad. So once again I started running across the platform grabbed a bus and made it to the terminal just in time. Mitch Freckleton, intern for Oran Hatch, happened to be there too. 

 

As they left the plane my dad called me, wondering what I was doing...

 

"Just wandering around the city before heading in for the night." I had said, catching sight of Mitch rolling his eyes because apparently my lie was quite believable as I stood a few hundred yards from whichever plane they had just stepped off. "Let me know when you get to the hotel, Love you." 

 

And then a few seconds later I saw my little Munchkin, B, heading my direction. 

 

 

A big thanks to Mitch for being so thoughtful to capture the moment. 

 

 



Mt Vernon

Saturday the third we were able to all get together with the Hinckley Director, Jason Perry, and our program director, Gina Nelson-Shipley. It was great to be able to hear how each intern was enjoying their time here while at the same time taking a break from our typical political conversations to enjoy each others company and explore Mt. Vernon. 

 

We rolled out of bed all to early that morning and stumbled into the lobby to clamber down into the metro. The air was crisp and humid, this was the day that Joaqiun was supposed to be hitting us and we were bundled for the likely event that our boat cruise got interrupted by an awful storm. 

 

 

Mt. Vernon is breath taking. As our boat approached the dock we starred across the river at a beautiful mansion perched at the top of the hill with a perfect view of the river. Knowing that the founder of our country is buried there made me take a moment to stop and consider everything that he accomplished. Washington remained a humble man up until the day he died, which is surprising, he was the most powerful man in the country and one of the most well liked and yet he got ready in a basement closet and allowed Martha to have the entire upstairs dressing room. 

 

The Hinckley is so much more than a program, it's a family. I sure got lucky to score such an amazing one. 

 

Network nation

Forget flying around the world to meet people. I never think I need to extend past the boundary that's show by a transparent red line on the map, encircling the boundaries of the metro system, everyone is in the district. Within the past few days some very influential people have been wandering the Hill and I have had the chance to meet quite a few. Ann Romney, Harrison Ford, and Carly Fiorina are followed by a long list of names that is ever changing on the VIP visitor list. 

 

Not to mention the fasinating conversations I am able to have with people while they wait for the Congresswoman. They are from every corner of the globe and every field of interest. My rolodex is constantly increasing. I am becoming more and more addicted to listening to life stories and am readily soaking up the words of advice that are handed down freely from men who have worked in the West Wing for three administrations.

 

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New York, New York

Another weekend spent exploring the east coast. This past Saturday Liesl, Candace, and our new friend Kirsten hoped on the 4 am bus with me up to New York City. 

 

We got into the city just in time to snag some "rush" tickets for Finding Neverland. Checked in and headed to Juniors in Time Square for lunch. 

 

After, we split up and I headed to Long Island City for a Steller Meet. We climbed around on some roof tops and watched some live art.
 

    

    

View Steller Story

I have come to realize that I despise the subway system in New York. It reeks, is filled with trash, and people are swarming every platform. The pace of life in DC feels slow and clean in comparison. 

 

I had dinner with Devan (from London), Sara (from Florida), and Rob (from New York). One of my favorite parts of this whole internship has been meeting people from all over the world. Cities on the East Coast are hubs for immigrants and US citizens who are looking to begin a new life. Dinner was filled with extremely in depth conversations.. especially for people who had only met that afternoon. 

 

I met back up with the girls to see our broadway show, which was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone... and yes each of us shed at least a few tears as we watched one of our favorite childhood stories with a twist on it come to life before our eyes. 

 

Then I ended my only real night in New York roaming from Time Square to the financial district with Devan. New York really never sleeps, which is good because there is nothing better than some late night pizza. 

 

Sunday we headed out to Coney Island and ate some classic hot dogs from Nathan's. I was just excited to walk on sand. I have been dying for some time on the beach. 

 

Closed the vacation with some more adventures around the city and church. 

 

New York was good. For a few reasons. 

- I met amazing new people 

- I bonded with my "#squad" over great brunches and late night hotel room talks about our adventures

- I realized that DC is home, it is still temporary but I came back Sunday night and really felt like I was home. I used to miss Utah but leaving DC makes me realize how much I am going to miss all this when I am gone. 

 

Thankfully, I still have a while to go. 

Pink Day

Or so I hear that's what they are calling it. By they, I mean the many supporters of planned parenthood that wandered the halls of the House office buildings this morning. They sported bright pink t-shirts, stickers, and the occasional hair bow. 

 

I sprinted past a sea of Cameras and long lines of supporters and protestors as Liesl Limburg, an intern on the Oversight Committee, pulled me into the hearing room. The waves of cameras only increased within the room. We sat down and watched as each representative took a moment to approach Ms. Richards and shake her hand.  Each interaction was matched with thousands of clicks from the swarming photographers. 

 

The hearing began with an emotional introduction by Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman, the intensity only increased as the hearing progressed from opening statements to questions. 

 

It was difficult to listen to some of the Q/A and not interject, but at the same time it was thrilling to see members like Jordan, Mica, and especially Love inquire about such a large issue in person.

 

I walked away with pages of notes and spent this evening breaking down the debates and phone calls I received on the matter. Everyone is asking what do I think about it?

 

Well there's a whole lot. 

 

Overall, I was disappointed in the lack of focus within the hearing today. The discussion should have focused on federal dollars and tracing where funds received by Planned Parenthood from the federal government were being distributed. I never heard anyone, including Ms. Richards address how Planned Parenthood properly allocated funds and how they separated those funds from the Planned Parenthood Action Committee that donates to political Campaigns. Instead, I listened to members accusing the other side of having a back door agenda. Republicans said the left wants to continue to recite large donations from Planned Parenthood and Democrats said that right wing conservatives are carrying on a war against women. 

 

It is starting to look like the investigation of Planned Parenthood will be the issue of 2015 that every voter remembers. 

Soon to be History

Speaker Boehner announced his resignation today. 

 

To say that employees up and down the halls of the Cannon building peered out of their doors with sheer disbelief painted across their face would be an understatement. Yes, offices receive calls complaining about the Speaker, and yes, Meadows has been attempting to get Boehner out of Speakership for months now but I did not think it would happen... at least not like this. 

 

With the Pope leaving and the Capitol reopening to the public it was hard to find any room to breathe today. Thousands of visitors filed in and out of the Rotunda, past the Speaker's office, and into the old House Chamber. At the same time, reporters bombarded representatives as they ran to and from the floor to cast votes. Television news crews set up lights in corners, offices, and Statuary Hall. 

 

It was an eventful day. I was standing near the Speakers office when he left the conference where he made the original announcement. Watching him walk into his office, still quiet emotional, was a moment to place into my personal political history of events. 

 

Speaker Boehner is leaving office, the House is going to become a whole new world until November first. 

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Bike a Battlefield? Check.

Another weekend adventure checked off my long list of to do's. Friday night I left the office ran home threw some clothes in a backpack (I would later discover I forgot my shirts) and took off to meet some strangers up the red line and hitch a ride to Gettysburg. 

 

Maybe its just because I can drive six hours and still be in Utah borders but I feel so inclined to see the East Coast while I am out here. There is too much to do and so few weekends left to get it all in. 

 

Each adventure brings a lot of new memories with it. 

 

First I was reminded how great it is to sleep somewhere quiet. The loud and continuous noise of traffic that splits through the thin window inches from my bed still makes falling asleep a long and drawn out process. 

 

Second I noticed that I should take full advantage of the weather app on my iPhone- which I neglected to check. Hello all black outfit to bike in ninety degree weather. 

 

Third I got to see the battlefield of Gettysburg. It is a surreal experience to bike past historic moments that were incapsulated in my textbooks for years. 


Fourth rental bike helmets are 1. always required 2. extremely unattractive

 

Fifth I spent time reflecting on the Gettysburg address and Lincoln who has become such a huge icon in our society. 

 

Sixth I ate more Reeses in a single night than the average human consumes in one year, for that reason alone, the trip was a success. 

 

Seventh I met amazing people. 

 

Eighth I learned when you spend weekend filled with adventure in only one shirt many people mistake you as a homeless person on the metro and avoid even making eye contact with you as you journey home. 

 

Ninth my internship is too short. 


Swiss Soil

If you know me well, or even if you have only met me briefly, you probably have realized that I have a strange obsession with Switzerland. I love the food there, the people, and of course the scenery. I have been surprised how many people from the DC area share my same love for this beautiful and often overlooked country. 

 

Jake Nold, who is interning at the Diplomatic Courier, and I were able to visit the Swiss embassy for the 14th Soirèe Sussie; an annual event showcasing Swiss advancements in space and aerospace. 

 

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I was overly excited for the event. We walked up to the embassy on a red carpet with a wide variety of activities surrounding us.  There were Mars Rovers, Space simulators, and pools dotting the property. They brought out large platters full of traditional swiss cusine and dinner was topped off with a steaming plate of raclette. I made Jake wait in line for far too long to enjoy the cheesy delicacie

 

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I finished the night back at my office to watch the GOP debates with Congresswoman Love, our staff, and a few other members.

 

Another night topping my chart as my favorite night, so far. 

Firsts

I am someone who embraces change. I love meeting new people, seeing new things, and experiencing a new culture. Most of my life has been spent developing new skills or relationships and because of this I have so many fond memories of firsts.

 

From my first dance solo, the first time I flew across the country alone, or the my first interview at a law firm. I am genuinely intrigued by first experiences.

 

Moving across the country is a bouquet of new experiences, and this week delivered them in full bloom. An entertaining mixture of my first ‘life moments’ to miss and my first moments to engrave into my DC memories.

 

The week began with my first of many birthdays while I'm gone. B, my munchkin, turned seven and face timed me to blow out her candles. Thank goodness for technology. 

 

I also missed my cousin opening his LDS mission call- and simultaneously realized I would be missing saying goodbye to him. Tanna Boy, my baby cousin is all grown up and heading to Long Beach to preach the gospel. I was standing in the grocery store grabbing a family sized bag of Cheetos when they called me to listen in to the big reveal. I think my excitement scared the gentleman who was just down the row from me because he quickly skirted away seconds after I answered the call.

 

I missed my family’s vacation to Jackson Hole, which reaffirmed two things: One my desire for a mountain bike, and two my desire for them to wait until mid December for the next vacation. 

 

It was also my week of first experiences:

 

My first day in session was a blur of paperwork, phone calls, and preparation for votes. Capitol Hill is an entirely different creature when session begins than it is during the releaxed August recess.

 

Earlier on in the week I had my first unpleasant encounter on the metro. I was leaving the metro after work- getting home about an hour and a half after the usual rush- due to the session. I scanned my smartip card as I left the station and a young man, I am assuming in his early 20's, with his pants too low and a "Straight Outta South Africa" knock off of an N.W.A. shirt on was entering the station. He flipped around and followed me toward the exit. I quickened my pace and so did he. He kept calling to me and getting closer, he caught up to me pretty quickly and continued to raise his voice making snark comments about how I was too small of a snowflake to be wandering around this 'joint'. Thankfully, a gentlemen had heard the commotion and had turned back down the Petworth escalator to survey the scene. The N.W.A. t-shirt took off up the side escalator as soon as he saw the other man approaching. 

 

Mom, I'm not sure when you'll read this but sorry I didn't tell you. 

 

This week was also my first time meeting Congresswoman Love, who blew me away. There are little words to describe the force she enters a room with, it's almost as contagious as her impeccable style. 

 

Finally, this week brought me my first visitor from home, Zach. It was a breath of fresh Wasatch air to sit down and have dinner Thursday night; topped off with chocolate milk and ice cream while we stayed up til the early morning talking about each of our adventures from the past weeks. 

 

 

So there is an abridged version of my week.

 

I love how many people have reached out to me to see how life is in DC. I have been dreaming of this internship since my time in Governor Herbert's office. I am grateful for all the phone calls, texts, and emails. I don't mean to seem distant or uninterested in what is happening at home, I just want to cherish the moments that I have out here because four months is a very short time and this opportunity will be over before I know it.