United States Capitol – Thinking of DC, the Capitol is the main landmark, which I associate with the City. It's a distinctive landmark of the US. It’s not only the political importance of the Capitol providing the meeting place for the US Congress, which makes it so important in my opinion, but also its pop-cultural significance. As a passionate ‘House of Cards’ viewer seeing the Capitol in real life is the same as wandering around New York City in the case of an excited ‘Gossip Girl’ fan. But there is one thing that slightly ruined my excitement (besides the fact that Frank Underwood wasn’t actually waiting at the stairs of the Capitol to give me a personal tour): The dome of the Capitol is under construction. It’s my first time in DC, I love ‘House of Cards’ and I was super excited to see the Capitol in all its beauty.
Big shout out to the person deciding to renovate the Capitol’s dome during my stay in DC. Perfect timing…
But not only the dome is under construction currently. Also the apartment, which I’m staying at, is literally under construction. Changing the window frames, taking out the carpet and replacing it with a new one as well as updating the furniture; all of this is done while I’m trying to live there. So again:
Big shout out to my landlord, who decided to do all of that now. Perfect timing …
The reoccurring ‘Under Construction’ theme does not just apply to my surrounding physical things. It also mirrors my inner state at the moment. Orientation was fun, but also exhausting. I love socializing with people, but during this week I was very much reminded of my first day at University back in Maastricht. The first semester I talked to basically everyone. I was ‘friends’ with everyone I met. However, throughout my second semester my current group of friends emerged. You cannot build long-lasting friendships with everyone. And you shouldn’t force it. I didn’t come to GW to find my new best friends. I just want to hang out with people that I enjoy and have fun with. 4 months are a very short time. And it’s always better to be relaxed and see what the future has to offer. My goal for the semester included finding inspiration here. People are a major source of inspiration and I already feel a little bit infected by some conservations, which I had throughout the week.
And now the serious bit: Do I feel homesick?
I’m not sure.
I wouldn’t say that I feel homesick. I have experienced living apart from my family and friends. Beside my exchange year in the US during my junior year, I have lived in the Netherlands the past two years. Okay, to be fair: Maastricht is only an hour away from Cologne. But still, I’m used to not seeing my friends and family for long periods of time. However, I do not feel totally comfortable at the moment. Maybe it is because I miss hanging around with my friends from Uni. I had a great time in Maastricht the last two years and met the most amazing people. Maybe it is because I miss my friends from back home in Germany. We had a great summer. Maybe it is because I love spending time with my parents. I had not seen them for more than 6 months before I got home to Cologne for my summer break. The conversations, trips and my Mom’s food – 2 months was not enough to take all of that in. Maybe it is because I rarely see my family members, so when I have the opportunity to be with them I just want to hold on to the moment. And, lastly, maybe it is because I met a certain person shortly before I took of to the States.
But all of these emotions do not mean that I’m homesick. I often feel like that when I’m on the go. And I’m literally always on the go. All these emotions just remind me of how lucky and happy I actually am. And I’m sure that when the time comes to leave DC, I will feel the same when I’m back in Europe. I always take something with me– be it part of the city or a person– and leave a part of my heart behind.
The best way to describe my current inner state is to label it as being ‘under construction’. I need to get used to my environment, get to know the City and find my people. I’m ready for that. I’m ready for DC.