Warmed Up in Wintry Washington, DC


What an appropriate first trip to the United States! My office sent me to its capital, Washington, DC. I would’ve wished that it was for holiday. But that was for training. I worked for the U.S. Government early on in my career and every newbie in the team gets to travel to DC to learn more about the office as well as the job dynamics. What a blessing! Although I could bring my family, the timing was not right. My son had school, and my husband could not immediately take a leave. We needed at least two weeks. So, off to DC, I went alone! 

Onboard the plane, I was seated beside another Filipina. She was set to meet her future husband (also a Filipino) and some of their friends. I met them when we landed at Dulles. They were so kind to bring me to my hotel aboard their comfy Lexus. I felt God knew the first-timer in the U.S. needed help. It was winter and raining, and the ambiance was really gloomy. I was already missing home. I was booked at Arlington Court Suites. My dimly lit room was way too huge for a single person. There was a kitchenette, a large TV, a small living room corner, and a large bed! The room could comfortably fit in a family of four! And there I was, like a small pool ball being rolled in every corner of the big pool table.  

As a first-timer in the U.S., I had all that I needed to warm up in that cold. I said to myself that I will make sure to learn from the training. True enough, I was able to adapt a best practice from one of my co-trainees. We implemented it in the Manila work system. 

But I think the more rewarding part is that I gained new friends and learned a great deal from them. They came from all over the world and have certain perceptions about Filipinos. Some of them were surprised to know that our pop culture, our Filipino lifestyle, and our habits are largely influenced by the U.S. It is also interesting to note that among the Asian participants, it seemed that I was the most “Americanized” on certain aspects such as language, education, and pop culture, obviously. Not many of them knew that the Philippines was an American colony after the Spanish rule in the late 1800s. Our education system was mainly American. It is interesting to note that a Belgian and an Israeli friend openly expressed their admiration that I understand and speak some Spanish and a little French. They involved me in their conversations because many of them are polyglots. The truth was, I was only uttering very simple expressions and I responded only to the topics I understood. Ang dali nila ma-impress! Haha! 😀

Aside from the great company, I enjoyed a variety of foods. Name it and it is in almost every corner: Italian, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Japanese, etc. There was a time we dined at the State Department cafeteria which looks like a mega food complex. Everything was there! I think every country that the U.S. has ties with is represented in that food court! The dilemma was it’s so large that it was hard to pick a meal. Too many good choices.

We had to travel to Kentucky and Texas after this Washington, DC leg. More about the KY and TX legs in my next blogs.

Some parts of Virginia/DC are still on ice.
Outside view from my hotel window. It was brrrr all over.
I arrived in DC when it was cold and damp. I walked outside my hotel but got back in quickly.
It was quiet and gloomy I was missing home.
The Capitol. DC’s most iconic building housing the USG’s legislative seats. DC is the U.S.’s government center. Many foreign embassies, diplomatic residences, and offices are also situated here. (My hand was shaking from the cold hence the slanted shot. Hehe…)
A moment at the Washington Monument. The obelisk was built in honor of, you guessed it right, George Washington, the first U.S. president. As for me, I remember that scene at Forrest Gump where Forrest was reunited with Jenny. 😀
It was a must that I eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl. I watched a food show that featured former President Barack Obama dining at this famed fast food. The serving of fries and hotdogs is good for two persons with a “normal” appetite. When inside, you could see photos of famous people who dined in there like the late Anthony Bourdain and Bill Cosby (who eats there for free as long as he lives), among others. Too bad I couldn’t take a good photo as the place was crowded!
 The Lincoln Memorial is another obligatory stop to say that you were indeed in DC. Try to read the inscription. Sorry for it was not bright enough.
My first time to spot a squirrel.
This was taken on a street corner. They’re pretty much a common sight in residential areas. Much like our rodents.

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