WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arriving in a large city can be a culturally daunting experience that affects all aspects of one’s life. As I emerged into Washington, D.C., immediate differences and similarities between California and Washington were apparent. The first major contrast was the metro system.
Stepping up and out of a tunnel in the ground, the stark atmosphere of the metro could still be felt. The crisp air licked at my extremities and chilled me to the bone. The air hung full of moisture, which made for a weighty bitter bite.
Realizing that the D.C. transportation mode would take me almost anywhere in the city and that buses would fill any gap thereafter was quite a wonder to this Southern Californian. It is amazing to move out of a tunnel and be adjacent to some of the most historic and well-known places in D.C., such as the U.S. Capitol, White House or the Smithsonian museums.
In my personal experience, this phenomena of efficient rapid transit is not a first. Several years ago Paris, France provided me an absolutely smooth and seamless time of movement in a very large city with the use of the metro.
Getting around rapidly is just the beginning of understanding this city that seems like the center of all that happens worldwide and in the United States which makes recording, reporting and observing all that occurs here important. As a result journalistic efforts are like the living breathing organism on which everyone depends.
Conversation in this city centers on the fact that politics are the hub of all things large and small.
It seems as though history is pouring itself into the mind set of all who casually or mindfully observe the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian, Library of Congress and the Capitol building. These landmarks evoke pride of country even when only in pictorial form when living somewhere else in the country. Even a mere tourist can’t escape the fact that while these sites are historical, they are much more than symbols, they are workplaces that move the shape of history.
As a student and tourist, this city has evoked a full range of emotions, and this experience could not be fully understood as described without being here in person. In many ways it seems like I have entered another culture replete with an entirely unique language, viewpoint, priority, and place in history.
Perhaps my reactions are enhanced by the purpose for which I came. Hoping to attain an internship to learn a skill set and at the same time allow God to direct this learning, all things are of particular interest.
Already the assignment to serve with a pregnancy center has revealed a side of the city not anticipated.
As a Christian I am quite certain that these questions have relevance and should be addressed on my individual level and also collectively. This reality is not in contrast to any city in the world, perhaps just more poignant in the potentiality of power to make changes that attend this place.