Monday, January 31, 2011

Exploring the City

So I realize that I haven't updated this in a while =/. Can't promise to keep this short but I will try and make it sweet! For the past 2 weeks I have been determined to be more productive and visit more things. I would have to say I've been pretty successful.

I haven't written much about my Washington Media class that I am taking. My teacher used to cover the White House for Time magazine. He is very knowledgeable and tries to keep things interesting for us. Two classes ago, we held a mock press conference where he posed as Press Secretary Gibbs. We were all assigned different media outlets and I was assigned the New York Times. It was nice to sit in the front row and be able to ask more questions. I really enjoyed the press conference because it gave me a little feel for how cut throat journalism can be.

The next day, I had my Washington Seminar class. My original professor was sick and was absent up until the last class. We finally met him and he seems to be a great teacher. He was genuinely interested in our experiences with our internship and took time to get to know every one of us. After class, I went with one of my friends to her internship site to get something signed. We were in Tenleytown which is near American University. It was cool compare college towns. I wish there was a metro system running through my campus! That night we went out to Adams Morgan. Apparently the taxi drivers here do not mind packing people into their cars. I think we squished 8 people (including the driver) into a normal sized taxi. Interesting taxi ride to say the least.

On Saturday, my friends and I had made Restaurant Week reservations at Jaleo. This restaurant was suggested to me by the intern I work with and was absolutely amazing. It was a Spanish tapas restaurant and I could pretty much say the tapas were better tasting than the tapas I had in Spain. They even had homemade hazelnut ice cream which was to die for. We wanted to squeeze in a museum after but we were way too full.

Sunday came around and I was left with a lot of chores and errands. I took the 10 block walk to Trader Joes and forgot to pull out cash so I walked back with my arms pretty much died. I came home and made lunch and got ready for bikram yoga. I had been wanting to try this for a very long time and I'm so glad that I finally did. For those of you who don't know what bikram yoga is, it is a form of yoga that is done in a room that is kept at 110 degrees. It is not traditional in the sense that there is no flow. There is a series of 26 poses that you go through and you basically just hold each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. I really enjoyed the heat after being in such cold weather for so long. It was much more bearable and enjoyable than I had expected. My friend and I were so excited about it that we went back on Monday. We had a 1 week introductory fee and were allowed to take unlimited classes for a week. Unfortunately, I got so busy after Monday that I wasn't able to go back =(.

Later that week D.C. experienced a bit of snow. It was enough to disrupt work for many. I had the day off on Thursday and even left work early on Wednesday. I heard some people had spent up to 6 hours commuting back to their homes. I don't think I would ever be able to tolerate driving in snowy conditions...I can barely tolerate driving in L.A.!

On Friday, my friends and I started the day off at Ben's Chili Bowl. This is a famous restaurant and I think Obama ate there before his inauguration. It was pretty good but we were all too full after. After, we went to the National Air & Space Museum. It was interesting but I didn't really have the attention span to really take it all in. We played in the snow on the way to the metro and had a blast. The mall was covered in snow and the view of the Capitol and the Washington Monument was beautiful.

The next day we intended on going to the National Gallery of Art but instead we went to the National Portrait Gallery. I enjoyed this museum more than I had expected. It houses all of the Presidential portraits and they also had many different types of exhibits. We were not allowed to take pictures but I took one on my phone and made it my background. I just couldn't resist! After the museum, we had an early dinner at Lupe. It was the first Mexican restaurant we have tried and it was pretty decent. Definitely not as good as California Mexican food but it was good enough. That night we went to Georgetown. It was the first time I had gone at night and I had a great time.

On Sunday, I had one of the most productive days to date here. I woke up somewhat early (9 am) and got ready. We had planned on going to the Eastern Market before our lunch reservations at Oyamel. I was surprised that it actually happened. I really liked the street the Eastern Market was on and could see myself living there..but apparently its not the best part of town haha. Oyamel is a Mexican restaurant that is in the same chain as Jaleo, the Spanish restaurant I had gone to before. It was also highly recommended. Since they were still doing restaurant week, we got to try a good amount of the menu. Our waiter liked us so much that he surprised us with one of their delicacies: grasshopper tacos. I had read the reviews on this restaurant and heard a lot about it so I decided to try it. It wasn't too bad as along as i didn't look too closely haha. After lunch, we went to the National Archives. it was really cool to see the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Magna Carta. They also had letters to past presidents on exhibit which were quite hilarious. After, we hit the grocery store to pick up some groceries for the week and for dinner that night. One of my friends invited us all over for a "Jewish" dinner. She made latkas, matza ball soup and chicken. It was fun to have dinner with everyone. This was one of the many reasons why I have lagged so much on this blog post!

Anyway, on to my internship. Since I last wrote, I have come a long way. For the past week and a half we have been bracing ourselves for an announcement that has been a long time coming. The timing kept getting switched which kept us on our toes to say the least. I also followed up with the pitches I wrote. I had been waiting for a response all last week and finally got 2 this morning. I am excited to see where they go and hopefully they will bring opportunities for our clients. I am still struggling a bit with some of my assignments which is frustrating but I have to remember that I have only been exposed to the PR world for about 4 weeks. I have learned a lot but there is still a lot more to learn and a lot of experience to be gained. My week was cut short last week due to the weather. Today, as I mentioned, I received word back from my pitches. They are both still in the planning phase but I think they both have potential to become good opportunities. The big announcement that we have been waiting for is finally set for this week and I am getting excited. The other intern and I received our responsibilities today and I am looking forward to carrying them out.

Sorry again for the lengthy you can see I have been busy exploring the city. I will try and add pictures to the next post. This week marks the 1/2 way point for the program. It hit me the other day that the end of college is really close and it is starting to freak me out! I am going to start my job search this week I think...yikes! Anyway, have a great week!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slowly Becoming a Washingtonian

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed my last post. Since then, many things have happened but I will try and keep its short!

About my experiences:

This past week represented a lot of firsts. I hadn't ventured out more than a one mile radius from where I live and work, but I finally did this week. On Friday, my roommate and I decided we needed rain boots and we went shopping near Chinatown. Now, I've been to Chinatown but I didn't realize that it was practically in walking distance. We went to a huge Forever 21 which was stressful and pretty unsuccessful, which is good I guess. Needless to say, neither one of us found rain boots =(. That night we went out to Adams Morgan for the first time. Ever since I signed up for UCDC, all anyone would tell me to do was go to Adams Morgan. Now I know why! It was very lively. Restaurants, bars, clubs...they had it all. The people were equally interesting. One guy introduced himself to me as "Adams Morgan".....haha very original! At the end of our night we decided to go for oneof  the Jumbo slice pizzas that are so popular in Adams Morgan. They were definitely amazing but we all had to share because they were so huge.

On Saturday, my roommates and I took a tour of the Capitol. I wish I had more energy during our tour but I just didn't. Anyway, it was still cool to be walking around the Capitol but we didn't get to see where the House and Senate meet which is what I was most hoping to see. After the Capitol we were all starving. It was late lunch and my Peruvian roommate suggested we try Peruvian food. We went to a restaurant near our metro stop. It was small and quaint and looked authentic. We had the "Lomo Saltado" dish. It was amazing and kept me full past dinner. That night we celebrated one of our friend's birthday.

Sunday was mostly a lazy day. After being constantly on the move, it was nice to sleep in and not be on a schedule. My roommates and I ended up walking to Trader Joe's to grab some groceries. Apparently we had the same idea as 200 other Washingtonians but the service is so good at TJ's that it didn't seem to matter much. After we got back, I went to the school gym. I have been working on running, which I've hated since childhood. I did about 2.5 miles of running and .5 miles of walking which is more than I usually do!

Monday was MLK Day and we all had the day off. I intended to participate in the festivities happening here but I woke up too late. I ended up meeting a friend from home and shopping in Georgetown (another first). I LOVED Georgetown. The streets are old fashioned and adorable and the shopping wasn't too bad either. I managed to find a pair of $100 Steve Madden heals on sale for $20! The sales person had originally said they only had an 8.5 which was too big but I asked again and they found an 8! Can't say no to that =). Unfortunately, still no rain boots.

On Tuesday, I got up early for work, got ready and went to work only to find out I had the day off. The roads were icey and the people in my office were working from home. This was a pleasant surprise because I had a lot to get done anyway. Needless to say, I didn't get much done haha. I did however go to the gym and run 3 miles! Later that night, I met up with a friend for dinner. We went to an upscale "Southern" restaurant. I enjoyed everything I tried which usually is not the case for me. When I got back, I came home to quite a surprise. The apartment above us had set off the sprinklers! I was told our room was flooded which painted a Titanic-esque picture in my mind. When I got to the room, most of my roommates were sleeping. Somehow none of our possessions were damaged, thank God. The floors were completely drenched along with the roof of our shower. I was (still am) confused about the whole situation. The building hired help and started working on the damage that night which was disrupting for a bit.

Today I woke up to a group of men ready to tear down what seemed like everything in our apartment. I tried not to get in the way  and went to another room to get ready. When I got home from work, they were still working on our room and there are currently about 5 huge fans blowing throughout our apartment. I guess things could be worse.

On to my internship:

Last week, I met the other intern working in the office. We are the same age and she is awesome to work with! She has a lot of experience in the restaurant world and has great suggestions. Can't wait to try them all. I continued doing mostly the same tasks I had done before which was good because the more I practice the easier it gets. I have noticed this already.

On Tuesday, I had the day off but still worked a little from home. I started researching writers to pitch to on behalf of one of our clients. Being away from the office was difficult because of course I had 100 questions. I tired to improvise as much as possible and look things up when I really had no idea.

Today, I continued working on the pitches and actually pitched to a writer. I was really proud with my end result and glad that I was working with someone who was willing to help me along the way. I also did some Twitter monitoring for a client which resulted in a retweet by our client on a tweet I found. Its these small things that make happy! It is really cool to see my work actually become something. Its not like I'm writing a fake letter to someone to be graded or creating a fake powerpoint project. It is actually real.

Thats my update for now! I know its long again, sorry!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year, New Life

First of all, Happy New Year! I had probably my best New Year to date. I got to spend time with some of my closest friends. The road trip back from SF was another story. The grape vine was shut down and we had to take a 4-hour, snowy, icy, detour! It was all fine and dandy until the last 2-3 hours when we went 5 mph. Anyway, San Francisco was amazing and I managed to keep my shopping to a minimum. I had the best dim sum experience and went to a nice bar. Wish I had pictures on my camera to share!

So I have decided I am going to write about my life outside of my internship first then write specifically about my internship so here goes my experiences:

We took the red eye right after my road trip back from San Francisco. I was quite exhausted and ready to sleep through the flight. Much to my surprise, we went through security quickly and easily. I slept like a baby through both my flights and finally reached D.C. As soon as we got in, we took a trip to Target to buy the essentials. My roommates and I had an interesting time trying to figure out the bus system and got some major attitude by the bus driver =).

During the weekend, my roommates and I did some sight seeing. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the WW2 Memorial and the Washington Monument (which I noticed I can see from a distance when I walk to work!). It was very cold on the day we chose to do this but I did still enjoy visiting them.

We also went ice skating at the Sculpture Garden near Chinatown with our school group.  That was fun for about an hour then it just got cold and so we left and got Chinese food. The Chinatown in DC is NOTHING like the Chinatown in SF. We almost left because it was a bit pricey and we had been spending a lot of money that weekend. Anyway, we decided to stay and eat. I don't remember the name of the restaurant we went to but the service was horrible. We even witnessed a waitress demand a higher tip from the table next to us. Turns out the waitress had charged the customer $100 more than she was supposed to so the customer left a small tip. The waitress said, " 50 cents! 15%!!" and handed back the receipt! We were all in shock! I couldn't believe it. So I'm pretty sure that is the last time we will be going to Chinatown.

At night, we ventured out to the bars nearby. We hadn't realized that we were so close to a fun night life. We still want to visit Adams Morgan and Georgetown but Dupont Circle was a lot of fun.

Yesterday, Rachel and I met up with one of our older sorority sisters who had coincidentally just moved out to D.C. It was awesome being able to catch up and see a familiar face. We went to the Madhatter and enjoyed 2 for 1 appetizers during happy hour. We also witnessed a good amount of snowfall. It was very pretty but I couldn't help but think how cold and slippery the walk home was going to be. I also wondered if people used their umbrellas in the rain....I know stupid question haha. Anyway, the snow fell for quite a while and we walked home in the snow! It was pretty and Rachel decided to throw snowballs and take tons of pictures when I all I really wanted to do was get back so I could get in my pj's because I had a looong day. I did realize that I will be needing to buy new boots to brace the snow so I don't fall in the middle of the street! Yay!

Onto my internship experience:

On my first day at my internship I met one of the three people working in the office. The office was smaller than I thought but I quickly came to the conclusion that I liked it better that way. I feel like I will be getting a much more in depth experience. Turns out my first day was one of the busiest. One of our clients had a press release that was sent out that morning and it gained a good amount of attention. I was able to see the whole process of being contacted by a reporter, to listening in on the interview, to viewing the completed article online the same day. It was very exciting for me because I was able to help with the whole process.

My second day was a bit less exciting. I was assigned to look up awards for one of our clients to apply for. Since our clients are tech companies, the language is still a little above my head. It was difficult to find relevant awards because I couldn't really decipher what was relevant and what wasn't. Anyway, I did what I could and called it a day. When I got in on my third day, I was told the award list was due that day! I was already a little discouraged because the task seemed so easy but was so difficult for me. I powered through the day anyway and ended up finding the perfect resource for my project. I skipped lunch to get it done and was so happy to turn it in. It was such a great feeling when my supervisor said, "Good job on this!" Even though its not that big of a deal, I was happy to hear that I'm doing a good job.

Today, I was monitoring Twitter for 2 of our clients. This is another job that seems easy in theory and is somewhat easy, but still challenging because I don't have the language down yet. Although, I have made huge strides within my first few days in terms of learning the language and familiarizing myself with our clients and practices .

All in all, I am very happy with my internship. It is exactly the experience I was looking for and a really great learning environment for me. All of my co-workers and supervisors are friendly and helpful. I can't wait to continue learning and challenging myself.

And now for some pictures! This is a huge feat for me because I am not much of a picture taker/downloader/ poster. Some of these pictures are borrowed from my friends.

This is the room I share:

Typical White House Pictures

The cold and windy day we picked to see the monuments!

It is a little hard to read but it says "Freedom is not free"

At the bars

This picture is out of place but this is from the monuments

Ice skating at the Sculpture Garden. Don't laugh at my furry headband! It keeps me warm =)

That is all for now! I tried to make this entertaining but I'm using this blog mainly as a journal for my memories so my posts are long and a bit boring. Sorry! Hope you enjoy the pictures.