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Things Done at GW (so far)

By inepalacios

Saturday afternoon. I was just coming back to do kayak, I really tired not only to work hard navigating on the Potomac, also because I had slept less than 6 hours to finish a paper before to go to a event organized with the International Committee of the GW Class Council. So I just had arrived to my room, navigating on Internet, when I found one of the typical “101 things to do”. But those were not the typical one for me, it were “101 things to do at GW”. At the beginning I got scared with the possibility that I haven´t done any of them and the fact that the semester is almost over. But after an examination I realized that I did a bunch of them.

Here some of the 101 things that I have been doing, my experiences, my feelings and the expectations to the last weeks of the spring semester:

Thing  #3: Take the "Last Train" back to the Foggy Bottom Metro.

Done. My Chilean friends and me were coming back from a party in Chinatown. We had to run in high heels to avoid losing the last train. I am just remembering that we met a guy and we were teaching him a little of incorrect Spanish. The guy was convinced that he was learning Spanish appropriately.


Thing #6: Study abroad through one of GW's many study abroad programs.

Although, this refers to study abroad of the US, my experience can be took in account as a study abroad program. So almost Done. Although it´s hard to admit, this experience has been more than a study abroad program, a change of life program I would say.


Thing #9: Paddle-boat around the Tidal Basin or kayak on the Potomac.

Kayak in the Potomac. Done!. Seeing the sunset from in the middle of the Potomac River, feeling a smooth wind; listen the silence; but at the same time, seeing the crowd of people walking in Georgetown were wonderful. The hard kayaking was offset with the guys’ jokes.


Thing #12. Go to every event during Welcome Week.

Done? Sincerely I didn't remember exactly what I was doing in the spring Welcome week. I just can remember my first rise-high in a basketball game. Otherwise, I attended to every event of our real first week: the Orientation Week. Applause for those cold days.They seems that were yesterday. I can believe that the last event organized by the Study Abroad department is now coming.


Thing #13. Go ice skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

Done! It was the president day. We was around fifteen exchange students. My fall on the middle of the ice rink could not be missing, but neither a good dinner in Tonic after the skating with everybody.


Thing  #14 Celebrate George Washington's birthday at the Annual Birthday Bonfire on University Yard.

Done! I was coming from running around the capitol and I met all the guys in the Bonfire. First time that I tasted American marshmallows, first time that I heard one of the fabulous GW Acapella groups. The first of thousands typical GW events with free food. Only at GW, at least in my university that isn't so common.


Thing  #16. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial.

Done. I love this memorial, maybe because its significance. On the night, on the sunset, running, walking, with cold, with sun, with the cherry blossom I visited this place a bunch of times. But I am needing a midnight walking yet!


Thing  #17. Join an intramural sport and practice on the National Mall.

Is running in Health and Wellness Center an intramural sport? If it is, then Done. I didn't have excuses to stop to run in the snow days. Thank Johanna for encouraged me to go!


Thing  #21. Fall in love. Fall out of love. Fall in love again.

I can’t lie, so the thing#21 was done almost literally. But I can’t say “Done” as the other things, it was not “programmed”. My friends know about this, maybe some no so friends too. Definitely, my exchange experience have been including certain kinds of lessons that I didn't expect.


Thing  #24. Grab a bite to eat at DC's famous Ben's Chili Bowl.

Obviously Done! I found the perfect company to go. After ask everyone to go, to find no one to go with me, finally at the end of my spring break and after walking all the Nationall Mall I went there with my Puerto Rican friend! The Chili Bowl´s staff was really nice. The best junk food that I tasted in DC. Hypocritically, a week after I came back to same neighborhood for organic food.



Thing  #26. Pull an all-nighter.

Is going to the bed at 10 and wake up at 3 or 4 to finish assignments a “pull an all-nighter”?. Definitely working without  sleeping is the most unproductive thing that I can do. So, almost done?


Thing  #30. Lose your GWorld card. Get a new one. Find your old one.

When I read this list the first time I was proud of myself to say that didn't lose it. Rarely for me that I am used to lose things always. But two days ago, not only I lost my GWorld Card also my key card. I am still waiting for someone to contact me saying that they was founded. I can´t believe. Unfortunately DONE.


Thing  #34. Run for a position in the Student Association.

Is the Class Council similar to the Student Association? Because, I run for a position on International Committee and I got it!. Thank Class Council for the experience! You guys made me remember my high-school and university class council experience. This Saturday is the well-know Sound Fiesta, Class Council Ball.


Thing  #43. Try cuisine from around the world in Adams Morgan.

Done. In that neighborhood I founded the most similar food to my missed Argentine food. Also a brunch  there was one of the best. I never saw so many variety of international food in the same street. Spanish, Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Mexican, Nepalese, Italian, Dutch, Vietnamese, Brazilian, Palestinian, Indian, Israeli, Thai, Lebanese, and Eritrean bars, restaurants and stores, all of them in the same street. Definitely, it is the best representation of how international DC is.


Thing  #48. Go to the "all-you-can-eat" weekend brunch in Pelham Commons at West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Done. Last Sunday I came back  to the quiet Mount Vernon Campus after a long time. I sent a picture to my family saying them that this brunch was the way to don´t miss my typical Easter Argetine food that they was eating. Thanks girls for organize this brunch!


Thing  #49. Sit on Einstein’s lap.

Done. I went there with Jeru and also with Kathi. We found that Einstein has an childlike aspect, but real at the same time.


Thing  #54. Grab a cup of Starbuck’s coffee and chat in Kogan Plaza.

Done. The bunch of moments in Kogan Plaza have been the typical daily things especially since the weather is nice. It is the perfect place to meet all GW friends. A bunch of this moments were accompanied with a cup of Starbuck´s coffee. But after I learnt that the famous CAFE practices of sustainability of Starbuck´s aren´t so effective as they said and even more knowing that there is a thousand of pleasant in Colombia working to produce this coffee th low wages and leaving in the poverty, I decided to rethink my consume of coffee on Starbuck´s.


Thing  #57. Attend an embassy reception.

Is a GW reception with the Brazilian ambassador an embassy reception? If it is, then done. If it isn't, otherwise was a good opportunity to ask to key diplomatic about Brazil´s position on the OAS regarding to the Venezuela situation.


Thing  #62. Cram for finals on the sixth floor of Gelman.                                                                                                                                                                              Done. Not exactly in the sixth floor, notexactly for finals.But  each of my assignments were made in the library. The silence room with the computer in the second floor is definitely my best place to study. Even more, I am starting to make new friend among the students that usually go there.


Thing  #66. Behold the beauty of 6,000 Japanese cherry trees in full bloom.

Done. I didn't know that the cherry blossom would be only for a couple of days. Fortunately I could see them these days. When I was running with cross country team but also when I walked with the exchange guys and when I walked with Kathi to see the first ones.


Thing  #72. Join a student organization…or start your own!

Yeah! I joined  the GW Class council and also in the cross country team. Both great teams to get involve in the Colonial life.


Thing  #81. Eat nothing but free food for a day at events on campus.

Done. From marshmallow, barbecues, cupcakes, ice creams, cookies, to fruits. One of the reasons to explain why I gained weight. Talks Receptions, student organization events, fairs, events in general were the excuse. The last one was the Easter Barbecue, the next one will be fruit smoothies offered by the Class Council.


Although there is activities that as exchange student I can't do it, like thing #101:Graduate in the city of the presidents, there are others that I definitely had to do in my last weeks at GW. Like “Hear a speech by the President or another world leader”, “visit the Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle”,  “Attend a free performance on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center”, “Drive to Ocean City, MD on a hot day”, “Visit Old Town Alexandria, VA”, “Observe the Supreme Court in session”, “Visit the “Exorcist” steps” “Rub the hippo’s snout for good luck before an exam”, “Read the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives”, “Spend a sunny day at the Vern pool and walk to Jettie's for lunch”, “Take in the view from the top of the Washington Monument” “Uptown Rent a bicycle from the Office of Campus Recreation at the Mount Vernon Campus and ride through Rock Creek Park”, “Be moved by the Hall of Remembrance at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum”, or “Tour the monuments at midnight with a date”. The list is huge and is encouraging me to don’t stop to take advantage of the days. However, it is easy and risky to finish doing them only because “I have to do it”.

There are also a lot of things that I have been doing that are not contemplated in the list:

  • As our weekly dinners with Candice, Oceane, Mariam, Soha, Nadine, Ipek, Steph and I. We started cooking “international food”, but the last time we tasted Egyptian and also French food. Now we have to taste Turkish, Mexican, and if I can find the ingredients Argentinean food.  Thank girls for the nice nights!
  • Or the celebration of Easter playing a game like “Invisible Santa”, but with chocolate Eggs, with Giss, Inma, Java, Giss, Agus, Timo, and Matt. Thank guys for the great Sunday Ester night. Although we shared only a couple of moments together, these few moments, those few talks are worth as if they were more.
  • Or as the Holi on the Quad event with my EXO Whitney or the many of hours simply talking with my mexican friend Steph and walking around DC. Thanks friends for that!

These activities are not here to be contemplated as list of things that I did or that I have to do. These activities means facing my challenge to appreciate each of them, to forget for a while my typical worries, to do those because I want to get immersed in each of them.

Mi little challenge for the last weeks at GW is to find a balance between putting effort to learn from the preparation of the finals exams and  to enjoy each of the upcoming events. To keep calm avoiding to try to do everything at the same time, to appreciate each of the moments, to appreciate the people who are with me and to don’t stop to learn from each of them.




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