An American Girl in Washington

Getting the Hell out of Albany

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 31 January 2011

The last time I was in Albany it was for the bar, so I didn’t want to judge the town based on one of the worst experiences of my life.  But this time, I’m here for one of the best experiences of my life and so I can definitely say for certain, Albany sucks.

First of all, getting here in January is a bitch.  The weather sucks and the morning I was trying to get here flights were cancelled, MegaBus (a paragon of suckiness itself) cancelled my buses, and I had to take the amazing Bolt Bus (which is the only bus line I’ll ever take again) to NYC and then buy a $38 Amtrak ticket at Penn Station.  $38 isn’t that much unless you’re broke, then it’s a shit ton.

When I finally got to the Albany train station, I walked outside expecting to see a line of cabs.  Ha!  There was a line alright, of people.  And one very angry cab guy calling all of his cars in (all three of them apparently).  We waited in the freezing sleet for 15 minutes before a van finally showed up and piled us all in.  This would not be the first time that I was forced to share a cab.

Of course, they didn’t bother to tell us how much the ride would be and there are no meters in Albany (something else I have become all-too-familiar with in this town) so I just rode blind with twelve other people until they finally dropped me at my hotel.  It cost me $10 for a two mile ride in the middle of nowhere.

I finally got to my hotel, the same hotel I stayed in during the bar (my stepfather liked the poetry, I liked the big suites and the kitchens) and was immediately reminded that this must be a trainee Marriott because the employees here are about as good at their jobs as those Cirque du Soleil outposts in places like Orlando where it’s obvious the acts are still learning how to do cartwheels.  Whatever.  I settled in, ordered a late pizza (delivery actually works quite well in this town, we also had excellent Chinese, good Mexican and surprisingly amazing BBQ -all delivered- during our visit) and chilled out before my interview the next morning.  Right before going to bed I called every single cab company (4) on the list that the hotel gave to me.  Not a single one of them would make a reservation for the morning.  They just didn’t know where their cabs would be.  Awesome.  The rest of the visit would pretty much be a repeat of the cab situation.  No wonder NYC basically runs itself.  Albany is useless.

The character and fitness interview was a bit of a joke, just a really nice dude who said that of course my application is fine, shows no evidence of any ethical conflicts (apparently they would have called me weeks ago if it had) and gave me a nice lecture about not putting my legal reputation in jeopardy by blurring the lines between black and white.  3 minutes and I was out of there.  However, the swearing in part of the week was actually pretty great.  It was an actual ceremony with justices and everything, totally designed for moms and mine was very happy and teary-eyed through the whole thing.  In the end, I got my certificate and a couple of lectures on legal ethics that I’m sure will be useful if I’m ever actually employed as an attorney, and I left Albany no longer a fledgling JD, but a full grown ESQ.  Holla.

I spent the next two days in Manhattan, seeing some law school buds I haven’t seen in a few months and hanging out with the Rev, who was devastated by the totally unjust Bears loss.  On the plus side, I had amazing Thai and beef chow mein.  Yaay for food!  At the end of a late and freezing Sunday the Rev and I gratefully boarded a BoltBus out of NYC and back to DC.  It was great being in the city again and once it warms up I’ll have to visit a lot more often, I was sad to drive away from that gorgeous skyline, but it was really nice coming home.  One of my favourite things about DC is that I can live so close to New York City but still walk by the White House every day.  It’s the best America has to offer.

Have you Bolted to New York recently?  I highly recommend it.  Just stay the hell out of Albany.





Southern belles come to town

Posted in All about moi, Cocktails, again, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 18 January 2011

I have been looking forward to this weekend for months because my two besties from my TFA days were coming to visit ! Meka and Meyers live in Winston-Salem and Atlanta respectively, and we were all teachers in South Louisiana together back in the day.  Although we have now moved on we tried to see each other at least once a year, and this year they came to visit me!  They refused while I was in law school (southern girls don’t like snow and I lived in Michigan) so this whole “once a year thing” is really only two years old.

It’s so exciting living in DC now, for one because it’s the first place I’ve ever lived where everyone wants to come to visit (and can afford to, living overseas doesn’t count) and it’s also the first place I’ve ever lived where people are always coming through here anyways.  It’s also one of the few places I’ve lived where I am extremely proud to show off my town.  All that to say, I love love love have friends come to visit.

I took the girls to Afterwords for brunch, of course.  So far I think it’s the best breakfast in town, and it’s so full of calories that I only allow myself to have it when I have guests.  After Afterwords we were so full that we wobbled back to the house and ended up talking ’til it was time to go to the happy hour I had planned.  Unfortunately, this was not my best laid plan.  I had invited people to go to Ben’s Next Door, not thinking about the fact that not only was it a three day weekend but it was also the Saturday night of NFL playoffs!  So, the place was crowded and luckily I didn’t have a huge crowd at the happy hour.  But I love me some Ben’s Next Door and the happy hour included $3 drafts, $5 wine and rail drinks and $5 food from Ben’s.  Yup, that’s right, $5 chili half smokes, chili cheese fries, buffalo wings and so much more.  Yum.

The next day I had to work and the girls went off and did their independent thing.  Then they met up with me at Sweetgreen, which of course they loved.  M & M loved how many salad places we have around here, there are no restaurants full of salad in Winston-Salem!

It was a short weekend but a great one.  A chance to catch up with old friends, remember the past and, oddly enough, see how much they have grown and how much I have changed too.  The weirdest thing about seeing people you haven’t seen in a long time is that you can see yourself in the way you see them.  It was strange seeing how much I’ve changed since I was 21 and just starting Teach For America.  I’m 27 now and just starting life and I couldn’t be more of a different person.  I see that sometimes on my own, but all of the time when I’m with the girls.  I guess that’s part of the value of keeping old friends.  Wow.  The things you think of when you grow up.

Now I’m on a BoltBus to New York to get sworn into the bar!!  It’s the first time I’ve left DC since I got here in August and I’m excited to see my friends and NYC again but was definitely a little sad driving out of the District.

See you soon!


Apartment Hunting in DC

Posted in All about moi, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 12 January 2011

To add to my job search, I am now in the midst of an apartment search in our fair city.  This basically means that I refresh Craigslist every five minutes, email my future roommates every time something looks even remotely interesting, and visit house after rowhouse after brownstone.  On the plus side, I’m meeting lots of great people and seeing a lot of DC.  (Okay, of NW).  On the minus side, finding an affordable three bedroom in this town is more difficult than we had imagined and it may take us a little longer than we originally thought to move.  But I don’t mind.  Although I am getting more and more anxious by the day to leave The Palace (Isn’t it funny how that works?  This place was perfect until I had to leave and now all I can see are the faults.  The mind is an amazing thing.), I am perfectly happy to wait to find the perfect place.

Meanwhile, between interviewing at legal temp agencies, pretending to get ready for my week in New York next week and refreshing Craigslist, I’ve also been working a lot at Local Department Store (which has gotten mind-numbingly slow after the holidays.  I know, I’m never happy.)  and meeting with and scheduling lots of informational interviews with pretty awesome and helpful people.  I also contracted Ebola last week which knocked me out for days and had me doing nothing but blowing my nose, inhaling cough drops and watching Six Feet Under.  That show is so depressing though, I think it kept me sick for an extra day.

So that’s my life at the moment.  It’s not bad actually.  Hanging with friends, looking for apartments, working, writing, sleeping.  I guess this is what “living” in a place is like?  I wouldn’t know, being new to the real world and all.  The last time I was in the “real world”, it was in a small town in Southern Louisiana and wasn’t actually real at all.  So I have no frame of reference here.

One thing I have discovered is that I really enjoy this whole “freelance” lifestyle of mine.  Well, 80% of the time, which is all I ask.  I like writing and scheduling my work hours so that I still have time to work out, volunteer, and meet with people during the day.  I like having a lot of different sources of income (I think I have like four part time jobs now) so that I’m not totally dependent on just one.  I like the idea of adding more projects and jobs that are short-term but allow me to add to my resume and experience without signing my life away.  I’ve never had a 9-5 office job that hasn’t made me want to kill myself.  Working as a freelancing consulting type girl might be fun.  Of course, I hate the uncertainty of not having a steady, dependable income every month.  And the fact that if one of the jobs falls through I may not be able to survive.  I hate not knowing if I’ll have something to do two weeks from now and, that if I do, it may not pay enough.  And now that I’m moving somewhere where I’ll have to pay rent and bills, I’m not sure this free and easy life will seem as sweet.  I also really hate not having health insurance.  And the fact that my student loans are going to be due pretty soon.  Shudder.  BUT, if I can find a couple of steady projects that pay the bills (like my writing and hopefully this legal temping if it works out), then I can have enough work to know I’ll survive at the very least, and have time to do all of the things that will help me build the kind of experience and career that I want to.  It’s worth thinking about.  Especially since I have yet to find a single job that actually looks interesting.  It’s so weird.  I’ve always been so focused and hard working and goal-oriented.  I’ve always had my shit together.  And now there’s nothing that I want to do with my life.  What happened to me?

Anyways, regardless of my lack of ability to succeed in life, for the moment, things are plodding along.  Oh!  And I went to Busboys and Poets for the first time last week.  I thought I had been there, I hadn’t, it was awesome, I will be going lots more.

Back to refreshing Craigslist!

Have a great rest of the week,


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