Monday, August 30, 2010

First Week Mayhem

So I just recently finished my first week in Washington DC, and let me tell you guys - it was CRAZY! Moving in was surprisingly easy despite the fact that I was alone for it - I met one of the package services guys and quickly became friends with him; partly because I already knew that I'd be seeing him a lot - I'm a HUGE believer in online shopping and also partly because his name is Olu and as I suspected he is Yoruba. Apparently most people call him O but because I knew he was Yoruba I get to call him Olu because I can say it right (who can't I wonder???).

Saturday was my first day of Training at the Key Depot and from the first 5 seconds I knew that I was going to LOVE working there. Things were crazy this entire week because of move in but apparently it's a really chill job and I will spend most of the school year bored doing homework or chilling with my coworkers. All of the people there are amazing - they know how to make everything fun and they obviously all like each other. Everyone actually gets along. This week has truly been a "trial by fire" for the eight newbies here - especially for me and Hugh; the only other fish among the new hires.  I worked a grand total of 45.25 hours this week - that's a seven day week mind you. So almost 7 hours a day on average. This last saturday, August 28th, was actually a 12 hour day from 6am-6pm and that was crazy, but I'll get back to that later. We spent most of our time at the Depot making key packets for the 28th because over 4,000 students were scheduled to move in that day and they all needed their keys. During the craziness of that we were still giving out keys to all of the early arrivals coming in all week. I didn't mind at all though because I got so many extra hours - my first paycheck is going to ROCK!

Throughout the week I was also unpacking a million boxes and trying to explore DC a little. I made a trip to the nearest Target in Columbia Heights which doesn't take our GWorld card so I had to buy groceries on my own dime (thank you Aunt Cynthia) but it is a pretty nice Target: It's two levels with a huge escalator exclusively for your carts to travel up and down. It's awesome. My only complaint with the Target is that it is a pretty far trip on the metro and it doesn't have a fresh grocery section yet. One is being built and will open on October 17th (I have that day marked on my calendar) - they do have non-fresh groceries though and they were ridiculously cheap so I stocked up. Later in the week I went to a CVS and a Safeway on campus which do take my GWorld card. The only problem is that fresh fruit seems to be very hard to find around here. The FoBo Gro (Foggy Bottom Grocery) down the street from me sell Apples and Safeway has fruit, though after looking at it I wouldn't buy any of it except the apples; but Clementines, Grapes, and Strawberries are nonexistent. Even the Fresh Farmers Market that happens every Wednesday by the Foggy Bottom Metro station when the weather allows didn't have much selection- just a few Bananas and some apples (again). I did buy some Local Raspberry Sorbet from the Gelato stand. It's homemade from the Local Raspberry Crops and it is Delicious if overpriced. I'll definitely be by there again when this runs out - they have different flavors all year and they are all homemade and a great treat for maybe once a month. I wish I could share some with all of you! I am going to make a trip to Trader Joes which is off campus and doesn't take GWorld to get some fresh fruit and maybe a few other things. I've never been there/heard of it but apparently its awesome and they have really cool stuff. My roommate Agathe (A-gat like A cat but with a G) loves it and can't believe we don't have them in Mesquite. I'll let you know what I think later. My coworker Elucia says their salsa is pretty great, but I think I need to be the judge of that - I miss salsa so much that I resorted to buying Tostitos salsa which really isn't that great at all.

Friday was my only day off and I let Agathe and Caroline (one of my suite mates) move all of their stuff into their rooms and I helped them unpack it all. They were overly grateful since I helped them beat the horrible crowd that this place was on move in day. Honestly though it was second nature to me. It's their rooms and since I'm here early its was the least I could do for them. It's just common courtesy. But they don't come from the Friendly State do they, so I guess that it was an amazing gesture to them. Agathe actually had a gift for me - a beautiful ceramic travel mug for hot chocolate with pretty yellow and orange daisies on it. I was very touched. 

Hugh and I also made a trip to Georgetown last week - a short walk from work but a fairly long one from Potomac, my dorm. It's about 8/10ths of a mile from there. I honestly wasn't that impressed - the restaurants are over priced and the stores aren't that awesome. They do have a Barnes and Nobles but I can shop online for less money so I probably won't be heading over there too awesome. Hugh did convince me to buy this one book (not that it ever takes that much convincing) called Shantaram. It's about an Australian man sentenced to 19 years in prison for armed robberies who escapes and runs away to Bombay where he gets involved with the Munbai mafia, then opens a free health clinic for the slum families, before being caught and sent back to prison where he serves his sentence. It's a true story and now that man is an author living in Bombay. It's like 900 pages but apparently it's full of Indian culture which everyone knows I love so I think I'll enjoy it- I'll be sure to post my review when I finish.

So now to my epic 12 hour day on Saturday. Max, Hugh, and I worked together in Thurston's basement getting all of the Thurston Fish their key. We actually had a really great time. We started to get bored around 1 o'clock once most of the keys were out and we had 5 hours to go, so we began thinking of ways to make the time fly by. Max started thinking of crazy things to tell people when we gave them our "don't lose your key or else" spiel. We are technically supposed to say "don't lose your key or you'll have to pay an $80 fine" but with Max it became things like "don't lose your key or you'll be forced to listen to the housing office play Radio Disney all year" or "don't lose your key or you'll be forced into the middle of pirate ninja crossfire." So I told him that if he could think of a new punishment for every student that came by until we clocked out I would buy him a candy bar. It was so much fun. He had one that Hugh and I ruined because we couldn't keep straight faces when he took his camera phone out and told the kid that he "had to take a picture for the retina recognition tracking system just in case he lost his key." And then came the BIGGEST and the BEST punishment story EVER. A girl came in and Max told her "don't lose your key or you'll be forced to complete what's called 'a return trip' which basically means you'll have to return to your hometown and talk to your parents face to face about why and how you managed to lose your key. Then you'll have to confirm that you spoke to them with a GWU representative in that area before returning here and receiving your new key." The girl was shocked and I took that opportunity to chime in with "Yeah it really sucks if you live out of country because it's such a long journey but that's just the way it is" and the girl looked stricken and was all, "I don't live out of country but Ohio is still pretty far away... Shouldn't they change that??" And Max said, "Yeah we are working on getting that rule changed but so far the University believes that the Return Trip is the best way to discourage people from losing their keys." I will never forget the look on that girls face when she said, "I promise I will NOT lose my key no matter what" and then quickly left the room. We were going to tell her it was a joke but she left way too fast. That may have been mean of us but I will guarantee one thing: THAT girl WILL NOT lose her key." lol. Apart from that the rest of the day was pretty tame. I met this guy who works for Housing and is a History Major and we spent almost a good hour talking about the American Revolution and the Civil War (which I've always loved; Right Burriss?? ;P). He loves David McCullough too so we had a lot to talk about. I love John Adams and he prefers Washington but he was really cool. We also spoke briefly on the Kennedy Assassination. It was a great day despite how long it was.

So when I got home from all the "stress" at work I found out that Agathe and her mom had bought me a beautiful little black bookcase with three shelves. It fits perfectly against this small piece of wall between the Fridge and our bathroom door. How did I know it fit, you may ask? Well they even BUILT it FOR ME. Yes - I DO have an amazing roommate. They wouldn't even let me pay for it. Trust me I offered - but if there's one thing I have learned back home it's never look a gift horse in the mouth. :D So I let it go - and that bookcase has become my newest baby. Agathe even left a cute pink sticky note on it that said "Caitlin - Thanks for all the help during move in!! I'm excited for this year! Love, Agathe."

Sunday dawned bright and early for me because I had to get up and get ready for church. CHURCH. Let me be frank - CHURCH IS A MILLION MILES AWAY. Literally. Like I am a freaking pioneer. I have to take a 45 min - 1 hr long metro ride which involves a transfer from the blue to the red line. Then I have to walk like a quarter of a mile uphill to the actual church. It's a freaking TREK. But the church seems pretty cool and there are seriously like 300 people there all between the ages of 18-30. The funny part is that only about 10 of us are actually in DC colleges. The rest are either young adults who live or work nearby and BYU interns who are in for a semester on capitol hill. That's so weird. There is a really nice girl, Heather who is a Junior at GW. She's very helpful and friendly so that's cool; and all of the GWU kids (all 4-5 of us that is) ride the metro together so it's not too bad I guess. There are more Mormons at Georgetown than here, but I haven't met their 3 new fish because they had their convocation during church. I actually left after the first hour of church to go to mine since I had to incorporate the extremely long metro ride into my plans. The metro is being worked on during Sundays which is part of the reason the ride is so ridiculously long. But part of it is also because it's just a long way away. :/

Freshman Convocation was totally lame. Honestly it was almost worse than sitting through graduation. I can't believe that I am saying this - but I pulled out my current novel, Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and read the entire time with my Suite Mate Rebecca texting/staring into space in a boredom induced stupor next to me. It was a miserable experience. I mean at least you can get through graduation because you know it's the end of the road. This was a stupid speech fest to commemorate a BEGINNING. It was much much worse. There was this "Fresh on the Yard" cookout for the fishies at University Yard but Rebecca is like me in that she wasn't that interested in mingling with a mind boggling number of our fellow fish. So I grabbed a burger (which by the way was in fact cold) and we got out of there. Though not until after we grabbed a few handouts including a target money pouch and some pretzel M&M's. I met the guy that's in charge of Target Takeover which I am working Wednesday. I was expecting an adult but I think he's like a Senior or something. That's cool.

Rebecca is by far the BEST suite mate EVER. We have so much in common; whereas Agathe and I will probably only see each other in our room and never really be best friends in real life, Rebecca and I are definitely (I feel) on our way to becoming close friends. I would room with her any day. Don't get me wrong - I like Agathe a lot; but she has more in common with our other Suite Mate Caroline - they enjoy going out late and being with other friends all the time and Rebecca and I are more chill. We relax together and enjoy the same ethnic foods (yes she loves Indian food) and we are going to do some exploring of the City together and maybe hit some museums. I love her. She's a great listener and has great things to say to. It's perfect. We talk about home and just everything we miss. It's so great to have her here. I feel like she's the first friend I've made that I really hang with. My family at the Depot is wonderful but I only really see them at work, except Hugh but he's a character. He believes I talk more than anyone he knows and it bugs him sometimes. With Rebecca friendship is WAY more effortless. I love it. 

So that's all for now. Sorry it's so much. But I'll have even more later. I miss you guys... 
Love you all,

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