Week 3: Life and Science in DC

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Friday, June 28, 2013


Alec Lindman

This week has been both productive and enjoyable – it’s my favorite week thus far, and given the prospects of my project, the trend looks like it will continue. We are advancing towards a final design as we identify and quantify the parameters most critical for our project, and I’ve been doing a number of experiments to validate our assumptions.

I’ve been interacting more with many of my mentors, and I reached the point earlier this week where I started to really comprehend not just the specific recommendations from my group, but the context in which that knowledge is valuable. I’m looking forward to making more substantive and independent contributions as I continue learning.

Of late I have taken to leaving International House earlier in the morning to walk to Whole Foods for breakfast. It’s very calming to get outside early in the morning and see the city slowly waking up around you. The metro stop is only around the corner from Whole Foods’ sidewalk tables, which is a nice change from the distance to I House, close though it is. Speaking of I House, it turns out there is an organic drycleaner’s located just a couple of blocks over in the Watergate, and I dropped off some shirts there on Thursday. It’s quite the experience to go through the motions of everyday life in a place so infamous for its history – but then again, when I pause to think about it, that’s true of many places I frequent in DC. I’ve unwound the last few days by walking along the Potomac, and around the Kennedy Center. Contrary to the warnings of friends who have spent time in DC previously, the weather has been quite amenable to comfortable outdoor activity so far, and I hope it continues to be so. I tried to make it to the free nightly concert at the Kennedy Center one night this week, but the commute gets in just a bit too late. Another night, we went to the café on the roof for dinner and saw a spectacular sunset on the summer solstice.

I’ve never lived in a city with good public transit for any period of time before, and it’s one of my favorite parts of DC. As I witnessed the first few days, driving is impractical, and it’s downright fun to take the metro for a train buff like me. I’m especially lucky in that respect because the orange line, on which I commute, runs parallel to the Amtrak and MARC route from Union Station northbound. I see the Acelas going past everyday, and it always startles me how they make the metro look like it’s standing still. I even took one a couple of weeks ago, and barely had time to get comfortable before we arrived. High speed rail is the only way to travel, if you ask me.

Washington is turning out to be a much better place to live than I anticipated: it’s both exciting and relaxing depending on what one is looking for, and it’s incredibly easy to get around from one destination to another.

Alec Lindman