A whole week without a blog post?! For shaaaaaame! Fear not. I fully plan on catching you up on these past couple weeks. Okay, let's be honest. These detailed day-by-day posts aren't really for you as much as they are for me. I know you don't care. But I do and I want to document these things. Because I suck at journaling. Are you annoyed with this yet?????
Let us start with something long overdue--a detailing of our last week in DC.
Monday 8/1: House and Senate approved a debt ceiling plan! YAAAAAAYYYY
Tuesday 8/2: Went to the Museum of Natural History after work with Brock. They had some cool exhibits, but the whole museum was definitely geared toward kids. There was an awesome exhibit on nature photography, and we saw the Hope Diamond! Can you believe that this is only a fraction of its original size?!

Later that evening we had a final game night with the Deckers. It was so fun having a summer to spend with them in DC and we're already missing them!
Wednesday 8/3: Brock and I headed to Lincoln Park after work--I wanted to see the Emancipation Monument there. It was a pretty little park north of Eastern Market. We sat for a while and watched a pack of dogs play with each other. It made us miss our own pup back home!
Afterward, we met up with our old friend, Melissa, in Crystal City for wings. We all worked together at Tucanos years ago. She was the baddest bartender around who always got us our drinks quick and kept the water pitchers full! :) We spent a good couple hours talking, laughing, and catching up. Melissa reminds me a lot of myself . . . only she's way more badass. I'd tell you why, but I'd have to kill you. (Melissa, if you're reading this, that last line was for you.)
Thursday 8/4: My last day of work! I sure will miss that office. Everybody there was so great! Jason, Justin, Mike, KA, Alisia, Fred, Troy, Jonny, Tucker, Militant Smith, Travis: I love you all. I think it's pretty rare for a person to work with eleven other people and not dislike a single one of them to any degree. From our West Wing re-enactments, to paper-tearing competitions, to well--everything--1032 Longworth HOB was Legit City.
The office ordered in pizza for lunch as a final goodbye, and forced me to talk about my internship experience. Which was easy to do, because it rocked. Even though I came away from it all hating DC and with a distaste for government work, I honestly loved my internship because of the people. Later that afternoon, Tucker took me and the other interns onto the House floor! So freaking sweet. Did you know all the wooden chairs are actually reinforced with bulletproof metal? And beneath each seat is a safety kit to use in case of a biological attack.
That evening, Brock and I finally got around to visiting the Washington, D.C. temple! Or, as the non-Mormons like to call it: Oz.
Friday 8/5: I ran myself ragged with last-minute museums! I went through the three underground Smithsonian museums on the Mall (they're all connected to each other--a great way to escape the heat!): the Freer and Sackler Galleries, and the Museum of African Art. The Freer and Sackler Galleries had art from all over Asia--even some Iranian and early Islamic pieces! I loved this one:

My favorite of the three underground museums was the African Museum. I remember thinking "Art from the Congo/Mali/Botswana/etc? These people are literally trying to survive. Who has time for art in that environment?!" But they do. And it was beautiful--such a testament to me that art is an integral dimension of the human experience.
After finishing the underground museums I walked around the beautiful Haupt Gardens for a minute, and then headed into the Hirshhorn Museum (which is full of modern art). I consider myself to be pretty "artistically open-minded", and I actually love modern art more so than I'd imagine your average person does, but the Hirshhorn Museum was really weird. A few cool pieces here and there, but most of the time I found myself thinking "Um . . . this is stupid."
Later that night, Brock and I went out to a restaurant we've been wanting to try for a while. Our reservation wasn't until 9:30, so we decided to spend the first part of the evening kayaking.
Afterward, we made one last trek to Sprinkles to complete our DC cupcake saga. We were sad to see it end! (As you can tell by the following emo picture):
The restaurant we were going to was in Georgetown. It's one of the best Italian restaurants in the country--Filomena. As we were waiting to be seated, we struck up a conversation with a woman standing near the dessert display case. Her name was Joanna, and she turned out to be the owner! What a coincidence. Our waiter told us that she is rarely at the restaurant herself, but today happened to be her birthday.
Filomena is incredible from the minute you walk in the door and see women hand-rolling pasta in an adjacent room. It's an underground restaurant that is decorated in true Renaissance style--pure extravagance with romantic lighting, soft music, and thousands of fresh flowers. The service was absolutely incredible and my mind is still boggled at how the waiters kept their tuxes impeccably clean despite working in a cyclone of red sauce, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
We ordered bruschetta to begin with, and I'm pretty sure Filomena's tomatoes come from heaven. Our waiter told us that one of the secrets to their amazing red sauce is using old, squishy tomatoes. "The tomatoes that you would probably throw out because they're so mushy? Yeah, those are the ones we use because they pack the most incredible flavor in sauces."
As for the main course? The menu describes it best. (Pardon the haphazard capitalizations--why do restaurants do that!?)
Brock: Penne Con Salsicce. When Bono ate this pasta dish here, he wanted seconds!
Penne Pasta tossed with roasted & ground Italian Sweet Sausage, sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, Herbs and Chianti Wine in a Abruzzi Country Style hearty Tomato Sauce with sautéed Link Sausage Pieces.
Me: Tortellini di Michele. Brisket of Beef Braised slowly for many hours with Wine and Vegetables then stuffed into Housemade flower shaped pasta in a light sauce of Pine Nuts, Sage, Crimini Mushrooms, Brown Butter and a touch of Veal Stock and a touch of Cream.
That's right . . . tortellini stuffed with beef brisket.
The best part of dinner, however, was the conversation we struck up with the two people next to us--a father and daughter visiting from Dublin, Ireland. The daughter, Yseult (such a beautiful, traditional Irish name), was in town presenting research at a conference. She had her PhD in psychology and was one of the most poised, kind, articulate women I've ever met. Not to mention gorgeous. I love meeting women like her. She personified the word "pleasant." Yseult's dad, Paul, looked like a rockstar (in reality, he's a mathematician who works for an Irish investment bank). He had short grey hair, cool jewelry, and was wearing slim-cut jeans, European-style dress shoes, and a deep V-neck t-shirt with Mick Jagger on the front. Brock officially lost his title as The Coolest Math Major Ever.
Our conversation began with a quip about how huge the portions at Filomena were, and evolved into an hour-long conversation about politics, economics, religion, and life in general. Paul was extremely left-wing and outspoken--such a refreshing personality to talk to! Yseult was a little more demure, but no less interesting.
Near the end of our conversation, our waiter approached our table. "Joanna called," he said. "She asked me if the couple she spoke to earlier was still at the restaurant, and that if they were, she insists that they try her tiramisu. On the house."
As you might expect, the tiramisu was exceptional. A thick velvety cream, flavored in the Italian tradition with mascarpone cheese and espresso, generously slathered between layers of lady fingers. We wouldn't normally order tiramisu because of the espresso (Mormons don't drink coffee), but we thought it would be extremely rude to send back a gifted dessert only because it contained a trace amount of coffee. Especially since our waiter was literally standing over us waiting to see our reactions as we ate (presumably, so he could report back to Joanna).
And so ended out last evening in DC. We exchanged contact information with Yseult and Paul--hopefully our paths will cross again in Dublin :) Although kayaking, Sprinkles, and Italian food were high points, what made the night were the people. Isn't that such a testament to how life is? Your days may be fun because of the things you do, but they will be meaningful because of the people in it.
As I look back on my time in DC, I realize how true that's been. The best part of my internship wasn't the actual work, but the people I worked with. In church, at the Barlow Center, anywhere--people gave depth to my summer and to my life. This world is filled with beautiful souls, and I feel privileged to have spent a summer meeting so many of them.


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