An American Girl in Washington

In defense of teachers

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 31 March 2011

The latest news by the stunningly good report from USA Today (was anyone else surprised) that the much-touted success of DCPS in recent years was probably the result of cheating on a massive scale has brought our favorite TFA heroine back into the spotlight.  Fresh off a billion dollar fundraising campaign for her newest venture, StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee was her usual arrogant self when giving a response to those who dare, dare!, investigate, question, and report anything that she has ever been involved with ever.

I have been reading the responses to both the study and the inevitable Rhee-reports into which they evolved.  After a while, I just couldn’t take it anymore.  As one brilliant commenter on VSB put it this morning, I’m putting down the popcorn and picking up the microphone.

One of my favorite things about being a Democrat, and perhaps the sexiest of our President’s many, many sexy qualities is that we understand nuance.  We get that, contrary to popular belief, matters of national and international importance have, shall we say, depth?  They’re not black and white.  There are not two sides, but 20.  Now, as Democrats we are genetically incapable of communicating such nuances, but at least we know they exist.  This doesn’t make us popular.  Michele Bachmann is a viable candidate for President *shudders* because she is the queen of the one-liners, false as they may be.  The Tea Party has made an industry out of selling signs promoting ideas that are batshit crazy, yes, but also easy to grasp.  And the GOP has made themselves rich enough to grant themselves tax cuts by totally ignoring the possibility that grey area exists, anywhere at all.  Nuance does not make for popularity.  Americans, wonderful as we are, do not like to think.  Hard.  We like simple answers, one liners, good vs evil, ying and yang.  We prefer the Marvel comics approach to politics and policy.  Feeding into that is a very, very easy way to get famous.

Michelle Rhee figured this out pretty quickly.

Rhee’s entire life’s work is based on the idea that the entire education system of the most powerful country in the world lands squarely on the backs of a few sad teachers.  Shall we call them Atlas?  Her theory, one that has made her so popular that in this, the most partisan of times she can call both Arne Duncan and Rick Scott her friends, is that all a child needs to succeed is a good teacher.  And, alternatively, that a bad teacher can lose them forever.

I’m going to ignore the obvious questions here, the questions that sent me to law school after Teach For America, the questions we don’t like to ask because they would actually be challenging to fix.  There’s no need to go into all of the ways that the personal life of a six-year-old can affect their ability to memorize sight words.  There’s enough to talk about just sticking to the sad belief that only teachers are at fault.

As a teacher in South Louisiana I worked with teachers who shouldn’t be fired, they should be taken out back and shot.  The alcoholic second grade teacher who kept a bottle of Jack in her desk drawer and made the kids stand – STAND!- on their desks all day.  The coke-snorting principal who was finally arrested for stealing from the school 20 years too late.  The pre-K teacher he stole with.  There isn’t a teacher in the country who hasn’t taught with someone they’d like to suffocate with chalk dust.  And this is where a lot of this vehemence comes from.  Now that the first generation of TFA alums is getting a little power, they are reacting to what was the most jarring, most emotionally scarring, and most simple thing to fix when they were teachers:

Some teachers suck.  Fire them.

But here is something that is seldom, if ever discussed, and something that I personally have never heard Rhee talk about (but please, correct me if I’m wrong):  What does it take to be a good teacher?

I will be the first to shout from the rooftops that Teach For America is an incredible organization, that I have never been more proud of anything than my two years as a corps member, and that my first graders kicked the third grade level’s ass.  TFA teachers are incredible and show remarkable results, as do those of KIPP, The New Teacher Project (which Rhee started and which propelled her to where she is now) and many, many other incredible teachers who may or may not be affiliated with a program.  People talk all of the time about the fact that we’re so good.  But they almost never talk about how.

They don’t talk about the fact that the first things I bought when I saw my classroom were tiles and a hot glue gun so I could clean out the mold in the jagged edges of the window seal and cover it up.  And how I then had to buy a stapler, and tape, and pencils, and crayons, and paper, and a carpet.  And then I had to email my college community and my mother’s friends and anyone else I knew to raise money and collect books for the dusty library with 12 copies of Nancy Drew and a couple of Berenstain Bears books.  They don’t talk about driving 45 minutes to Kinko’s every week to make copies of the textbooks because there weren’t enough, memorizing which dollar store had the best school supplies for when I ran out, writing grants so my kids could have paint and books to take home (thanks Donors Choose and First Book!), lesson planning on weekends, getting to school at 6.30 every morning, working as teacher (academic, gym, and art), pe monitor, lunch lady, dominatrix and snot collector until 5pm, going home for a frozen burrito and an apple, driving 40 minutes to the mall for my second job so I could afford said burrito and apple, and getting home just in time to watch Jay Leno’s opening monologue, cry a little, and go to sleep.  And then getting it up to do it all again.

That teacher with the Jack in her desk drawer?  She’d been teaching for 20 years and sold shoes after school.

Teaching is hard.  It’s exhausting.  And doing it well is excruciating.  It takes time, patience, constant continuing education, diplomacy, comfortable shoes and an intimate knowledge of Excel spreadsheets.  It takes a keen ability to lie, to pretend you couldn’t be happier to be learning contractions when all you want to do is drink a margarita and go to bed.  Teaching at the level that gets TFA-touted results is exhausting for high achieving 21-year-old college graduates still naive enough to think that helping a 12th grader master calculus is going to save the world.  How do you think it feels when you’re 45, have a family- or not, a lot of teachers are single for a reason- have no hopes of retirement, and still spend 1/3 of your paycheck on school supplies?  And now some snot nosed hedge fund managers and pseudo politicians want to blame the failure of the American education system on you????

It’s amazing that we haven’t had a rash of teacher suicides.

It’s really easy to point a finger at the people who spend more time with your children than you do.  It’s easy to say they’re the problem, fire them, hire a new batch of 22-year-olds every two years and pat yourself on the back.

Oh wait, it’s not.  That’s why Rhee cheated.

And you know what?  Easy or not, it’s wrong.  Teachers work their asses off.  Yeah, there are some bad ones.  There are some bad everything.  We had a bad President for eight years.  Why aren’t we blaming him for the fall of the American school system?  Most teachers are good.  Scratch that.  Most teachers started out good.  They wanted to be the best damn teachers out there.  But you know what?  The system caught up with them.  Life caught up with them.  And now they’re tired.  And that bottle of Jack is the only thing keeping them from beating your badly behaved child’s little ass.

So leave the damn teachers alone.  Find another scapegoat.



Lessons from Bill Cunningham

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 29 March 2011


Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist Films

Last night I went to my favorite DC theatre, the E Street Cinema to watch Bill Cunningham New York.  Like most people not in the fashion business, I had never really heard of or thought about Bill Cunningham beyond reading his Sunday styles section and occasionally wondering why the NY Times videos feature an old man talking about fashion.  Well, after watching this wonderful documentary, everything is illuminated.  Here are a few of the lessons that I learned from Bill Cunningham:


1.  Pay your dues

Paying your dues may be unfashionable for my generation, but there’s a reason you have to do it.  I am an honest believer in starting from the bottom and working your way up.  This isn’t something that most 20-somethings want to do, mostly because we grew up in the Mickey Mouse Club generation, when it seemed all too easy to make your first million at age 12 and if you hadn’t published a book by your freshman year in college, there was clearly something wrong with you.  But for those of us who are interested in substance over style, who are interested in quality and intellect and careers that last longer than the latest pop craze, and in actually making a difference, there is nothing more valuable than learning from the best, working from the bottom, and paying your dues.  Bill Cunningham worked 24 hours a day for 60 years, and it shows.  He’s the best, and that’s how you get there.

2. When you’re comfortable with who you are, people will always assume you’re someone.

It cracked me up that people who had known BC for decades upon decades knew nothing about his personal life.  They all assumed that since he lives like a monk and is friends with everyone from the well-dressed bum on the street to the fabulous Brooke Astor, that he must have grown up wealthy and aristocratic.  He didn’t.  He just doesn’t walk around asking permission and cowering and standing in awe.  He isn’t trying to prove anything to anyone.  He is who he is, he does what he does, and he gets along with everyone because of it.

3.  When you love what you do, you want to do it all of the time.

When BC was in Paris being presented with the coveted Chevalier des Arts (my professor got one while I was in college and he loved it more than his only child), it was hilarious that he a) wore the same street worker’s smock that he’s been wearing for decades, b) seemed to think that everyone in the room was more deserving than him, and c) kept working while he was at his own ceremony!  He was snapping pictures of people when they were supposed to be taking pictures of him!  It was divine.  And his speech was marvelous.  He clearly hadn’t written a thing, he just spoke from his heart.  About what?  The clothes.  Because that’s what he cares about.  It is the rarest thing in the world to find someone that passionate about their work, so much so that it consumes their whole lives, but boy does it consume BC’s.  And while I would never sacrifice as much as he has for his art, I can’t help but admire that singular kind of passion.  Which takes me to number 4.

4.   There’s sacrifice, and then there’s sacrifice.

BC is remarkable for many reasons but they all come down to his singular commitment to his craft.  He is so committed to his voice and vision as a photographer that he has forsaken everything from huge paychecks from Conde Nast (when they pay you, they own you) to even a glass of water at a society event (I don’t want to be wined and dined).  This man is the Mother Theresa of fashion.  He even forsook the opportunity to have a family over his career, although he didn’t see it that way.  Nothing but his work ever even occurred to him.  This is unrealistic for 99.999% of the population.  But it’s incredible that even one human being can be so dedicated and so ethical and so remarkable at this, or any, time.

5.  Always look your best.

I ask myself every day before I walk out the door, “Would The Sartorialist want to take a picture of me today?”.  Nine times out of nine the answer is a resounding “no”, but I’m trying.  Unlike the people who both the Sartorialist and the original Sartorialist (BC) stop on the streets, I have yet to fully realize my personal style, and the style that I wish to attain is too caught up in insecurities about my weight and the shallowness of my wallet to bring to fruition.  However, I at least try to look good enough that I wouldn’t be humiliated if died in that outfit, that I would be comfortable flirting in it with my future husband, should he cross my path, and that, if my future husband were to cross my path, wouldn’t send him screaming in the other direction.  I feel that is the best I can hope for at this stage in my fashion development.  But I’m okay with that.  Because even if I’m not yet the Grace Kelly of my dreams, dreamily waltzing around town in poofy skirts, kitten heels, a Scarlett O’Hara waist and a cone bra, at least I’m trying.  And the idea that Sartorialists are out there gives me that little extra motivation to keep trying a little harder not to be boring old me.

I highly recommend Bill Cunningham New York.  See it, and then tell me if you learned any lessons of your own.



It didn’t snow this weekend!

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 28 March 2011

How glad are you that there was no snow this weekend?  I, for one, am thrilled.  So thrilled in fact that I pulled out my white trousers today in celebration of what I am convinced will be an absolutely divine spring and summer.

This weekend was a blast, but as usual, almost nothing went as planned.  I was supposed to meet my friends for a birthday dinner at Matchbox but when they were over AN HOUR LATE, I ordered a pizza for take out and ate it at home.  I was halfway through my third slice and a quarter of the way through Cleopatra when they finally got to the restaurant.  Sad.  But I was happy.  It was late and I was tired anyways and Matchbox pizza is so good, it was worth a metro ride to get it.

On Saturday my undergrad alumni club went on a tour of the Corcoran.  Since the Corcoran is not free, I have never been.  I can never get over paying for an art museum when there are twelve free ones right across the street.  But, this tour has me thinking about becoming a member.  The collections are gorgeous, the museum is peaceful and sophisticated and it hit me halfway through: price of admission = NO TOURISTS!  What?? No school groups and fat men in fanny packs and lost little old ladies with giant cameras?  Sign me up.  I’m joining the Corcoran A.S.A.P.  Plus, I just found out about an annual event called Artini which sounds amazing and which I am definitely going to try to attend next year (it’s sold out for next month).

After the Corcoran I was famished so I went home and made the most delicious lunch.  Between reading Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and getting my groceries (and now meat) delivered by Washington’s Green Grocer, I am trying hard to eat food that is not a) filled with antibiotics, b) basically corn in a hundred different forms, and c) contributing to America’s absolutely atrocious food policy.  So I made pan friend chicken with bacon and Portobello mushrooms, sweet potato fries with cinnamon and nutmeg, and an arugula, carrot and broccoli salad with oil and red wine vinegar dressing.  All organic.  All from WGG.  All delicious.  It was probably the healthiest meal I have ever had in my life.

However, on Saturday night I did my best to destroy whatever good had been done by that perfect meal.  My friend Toya came over and we made tacos and watched a few episodes of Nip/Tuck.  Then we headed out to Shaolin Jazz (see below) which was completely awesome. Palace 5ive is the cutest little skate shop and if I ever need to buy a skateboard or a pair of Vans for a teenage boy, that’s exactly where I’m going.  I love mixed-media events and having a WuTang/jazz listening party in a skater shop was absolute genius.  The free Heineken didn’t hurt either.  Toya and I had fun but realized we were old when we got tired or standing around listening and decided to go home, get some ice cream, and watch more Nip/Tuck.  Sad.

On Sunday I went to Napoleon for brunch, definitely one of my favorite stops.  The French Pear champagne cocktail is absolutely delicious and the Dali omelette with spinach and feta cheese is to die for.  Definitely one of my favs.  I also love going there to pick up a copy of DC Mag since I can no longer pick it up at my gym.  I love that magazine and it will definitely keep me going to Napoleon at least once a month!

After brunch we headed down to the AdMo PopUpShop on 18th.  I was really excited to see what they had and even though it was small, there was a lot of cute stuff!  There were a couple of artists who really caught my eye.  Yang Ku Designs’ handmade cufflinks were adorable and I seriously considered buying a pair for each of my guy friends.  Cosmic Girl’s jewelry was also adorable and completely unique.  However, fittingly for my DC obsession, I found the most amazing print of a DC flag that has every DC neighborhood making up the stripes!  It was so perfect, it had to come home with me.  Especially since Adams Morgan is first and I can’t wait to get back there!  The print was made by Grey Moggie Designs and it will be a perfect companion piece to my DC Ork poster that just came in the mail!

On Sunday night I was embarrassingly late for a book club meeting (not being able to read has its downfalls) and then I went home and hid in my room with Christian Troy and his adorable rear end.

And thus, the weekend ended.

Did I miss anything interesting?


Food truck Friday!

Posted in Food Tastes Better on a Truck by AGinDC on 25 March 2011

Oh how I love the springtime.  The birds are singing.  The cherry blossoms are blooming.  The tourists are arriving… okay, maybe I don’t love that part.  But the sudden proliferation of food trucks in the downtown area is a more than welcome sight.  My usual 10am foodtruckfiesta check left me agog at all of the options available for lunch today!  Franklin Park is so full of food trucks there’s no room for black squirrels and lost fat men in Hawaiian shirts and fanny packs.  Happiness, thy name is food truck.  There are so many options today, from Dangerous Pies to Eat Wonky to the famous Fojol Brothers, I may have to spend the afternoon eating rather than working.  Even the Lobster Truck is out, and you can only go to the lobster truck on sunny days because no one wants to stand in a 30 minute line when it’s raining…

I know I have been eating way too much lately, my Oink Oink from Meathead yesterday almost killed me with deliciousness.  But I just can’t help myself.  There’s too much good food in DC, and now that Washington City Paper’s 2011 “Best Ofs” are out, I may have to just give up and put Richard Simmons on retainer.  It’s a good thing dating in DC sucks or I may actually be worried about weight gain affecting my love life.  Hahahahahahaha.  Sigh.


I haven’t decided what I’m eating today, but I know it will be delicious.  Any suggestions?

Happy Friday!



Another great DC weekend

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 24 March 2011

This is another one of those weekends that makes me so happy to be in DC.  There are so many great things happening here, it’s hard to keep track!

Here are a few things I’m going to do my best not to miss:

Friday.  Brightest Young Things is throwing another Night at the Newseum bash!  If you like seeing the hottest young dc-ites in one of our greatest museums, this night is for you.

*UPDATE* Just found out about the opening of Bill Cunningham New York at E Street tonight.  If you love fashion and have ever read the Sartorialist blog, you will love this documentary about the original sartorialist.  Or at least, so I hear!  Thanks to Capitol Fashionista for the tip!  I may go to an early showing after work!


SHAOLIN JAZZ - The 37th Chamber - DC Listening Party

Shaolin Jazz (the name alone makes the trip worth it).  A free listening party featuring complimentary Heineken, an art installation by Aniekan Udofia and a blend of a cappella rappers from Wu Tang and jazz instrumentals.  Can you say Amazing?

Sunday.  AdMo PopUpShop!

I am a girl who loves a pop up shop and here’s yet another fabulous one right in my favorite neighborhood!  Featuring unique items from local indie artists, I’m sure to find more things I love than my wallet can handle.

These are definitely my top three events of the week, and along with a birthday party, an alumni club tour of the Corcoran, a brunch, a meeting and a book club, I think I’ll be too exhausted to go to work on Monday!

Isn’t that the way it should be?

What are you doing this weekend?


Maximum India

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 22 March 2011

I had a fantastic weekend, from the St. Patrick’s Day fete to a Friday night in Triangle, VA (which included a delicious wine tasting of Chilean wines) to a Saturday blow-out and a home cooked dinner with friends and a Sunday morning bottomless mimosa brunch at M Street Bar and Grill and a Michigan basketball game at Buffalo Billiards (We won!  Go Blue!).  But without a doubt, the best part was my Saturday evening at the Kennedy Center.  Not because of the festival, although the Indian exhibits were gorgeous and I hear the performances were great, but because I saw Ruby, one of my besties in undergrad whom I haven’t seen since we graduated in 2005!

We talk all of the time of course so our reunion didn’t feel like it had been six years at all.  In fact, we were both wearing the New England college girl uniform of black heels, dark wash jeans and a trench coat.  SHM.  We both probably had pearls on too!  But it was so much fun to see her and catch up.  Ruby is from Nepal (hence wanting to go to the India fest) and is planning an epic three-day wedding in San Francisco this fall, which I absolutely cannot wait for.  Judging by the pictures of her jewelry and her saris, I think it’s going to be amazing.

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, I LOVE living in DC.  It’s so much fun living in a town that everyone is blowing through at some point or another.  And with the sun coming out and the cherry blossoms on their way, I couldn’t be happier.

Happy Tuesday!


ps.  Here are some pics of the India exhibits.  Forgive the fuzziness, I took them with my iPhone!

The lawyer in me liked this one...

Tagged with: ,

Fresh veggies

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 18 March 2011

One of the nicest things about living in Michigan is that it’s full of farmland and cost of living is really low.  This means that for three years I got really really used to 2 for $2 berries, $3 bags of apples, and lots and lots of inexpensive fruits and vegetables.  Then I came to DC.  After recovering from the sticker shock of having to pay $1 an apple or $3 for a dozen eggs, I seriously curbed my fresh eating habits and started buying frozen lima beans by the pound. This was depressing.

Thankfully, all of that is now over.  A few weeks ago I discovered Washington’s Green Grocer and if the basic concept of fresh, family farmed fruits and veggies delivered straight to your door hadn’t sold me, their super happy website and ridiculously reasonable prices would have.  For just $32 they deliver a box full of more greens than you can eat in a week, and since I’m single, it’s more than enough for two weeks!  Two weeks of fruits and veggies for $32?  This is a deal that would make FLOTUS proud.  So of course I signed up immediately and today I got my first box of vegetable goodness!  It was actually delivered yesterday but due to my St Patty’s Day hedonism, I didn’t receive it until today.

The box was amazing!!  Arugula, apples, kiwi, shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, broccoli, bananas, oranges, and stuff that I didn’t recognize and have no idea what to do with are now brimming out of my veggie drawer and onto the shelf above.  It’s too exciting for words.  Washington Green Grocer is a part of my life now, and I’m never letting go.

Happy eating!


St. Patrick: Best Saint EVER?

Posted in All about moi, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 18 March 2011

How was your St Patrick’s Day?  Mine was faaaabulous.  The kind that ends with a sleepover at a new friend’s house and getting to work an hour early super thankful that I already have an extra pair of jeans here.  The kind that has me rocking to a pre-release of BritBrit’s new album that is SO GOOD, I am actually going to pay for it when it comes out.  I loves me some BritBrit though.  Circus?  Please.  Genius.  And I have so much respect for her.  She brought herself out of the worst place in the world all alone when everyone not only gave up on her but were gleefully waiting for her to end in tragedy.  But nots my BritBrit.  She came back stronger, smarter, and blonder than ever.  And she’s fabulous. I also love that she has finally given up trying to be a serious artist and is embracing the gay icon that she was meant to be.  Forget Madge, Brits is on her way to Cher-dom.

Photo courtesy of Mag


I’m not sure how this turned into a BritBrit Manifesto but so be it. What was I talking about? Oh yeah!  St Patty’s Day.  So, my new friend TG, fast on her way to becoming a DC bestie, is on the New Generation Leaders or whatever, young professionals group for the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club and last night they had a benefit at Madame Tussaud’s.  I should say, I HATE wax figures, they are creepy as shit, creepier than clowns.  In fact, the scariest thing in the world would be a wax museum of CLOWNS!  Hold the phone.  That is GENIUS.  I am on a roll this morning.  But I digress.  Benefit.  So much fun.  Totes thought Will Smith was checking me out in the corner.  Sadly, he was the most interesting man in the room.  But I did meet a couple of great new people and another girl and I were drooling over a Chanel Iman wanna be with an amazing Celine tote and snakeskin Tory Burch ballet flats.  She special ordered the Celine from Barneys.  Must be nice.

The night ended with wine and pizza on the rooftop of TG’s Cap Hill building and then all of us crashing all over her apartment.  This morning I woke up super early, showered as quietly as I could, threw on yesterday’s clothes with my trench (thank God for trench coats btdubs) and as I checked my email on the way to Union Station, Jihee and Daniel had emailed me with the first draft of my business card!  And it’s gorgeous.  Completely sleek, classy, professional and so sophisticated. Which only added to my giddiness.  That and the fact that BritBrit was singing “How I Roll” in my ear.

Happiness, thy name is St. Patrick’s Day.  And I didn’t even have any Guinness!

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful weekend.

How was your St. Patrick’s Day?


On Gentrification

Posted in All about moi, Just another day in DC, Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 17 March 2011

First of all, I’d like to give a shout-out to intelligent journalism.  That ish is rarer than a dodo bird these days and I am thrilled that Washington City Paper is home to a writer such as this.  Amen!

Second, now that I live in Columbia Heights (I didn’t feel this way in Adams Morgan) I am constantly aware of being a black girl in Prada flats and a trench coat waltzing by the city’s original residents and wondering where I fit in.  I’ve spent all of my life being the black girl who fits in better in Club Monaco than FUBU (that’s what a Seattle upbringing will do to you) and living in South Louisiana for two years taught me the values of code switching more thoroughly than ever before.  But never have I lived in a city that is changing as quickly, and as starkly, as DC, and never have I seen politics and policy play out so clearly on every street corner.

This has also affected my dating life.

As a black girl who attended a Top 25 private undergrad and a Top 10 law school, dating a brother is hard.  There were three black men in my law school class.  One was straight.  Times was hard.  In fact, I was just laughing with my equally well-educated black girlfriends today because a young man who tried, unsuccessfully, to court me this winter sent me an evite with a completely made up word in it.  And he has two degrees in… wait for it… EDUCATION!  Of course I forwarded it right away and we all had a good laugh, before realizing that this is why we’re single.  Being a complete anomaly is a challenge, to say the least, and whether I date black men with high school diplomas (that didn’t work out so well) to black men with multiple degrees who still can’t grasp the basic concept of proofreading (he didn’t even get a chance), the fact is that my friends and I spend 90% of our time single.  And not just single, not dating.  At all.  We had a long conversation at our all female, all lawyers, all from T14s book club a few weeks ago about how we’re not even meeting anyone to give a chance.

That’s how bad.

And yet every day now I walk past scores of black men, young and old, who are being drowned out by the Target and the Starbucks and the rent that young professionals still need roommates to afford.  And everyday I walk by and have to remind myself to see them.  Because we may look the same, but our experiences are so different, and the author of this piece is right, it’s about class much more than it’s about race, that I have to remind myself on a constant basis that not everyone in this town goes to Buddha Bar for their birthdays.

I know that makes me sound like an awful person, but it’s true.

I often get down on my life, lament at how I’ve never done anything or been anywhere and that I’m so pathetic compared to everyone else.  My mother constantly has to remind me that I have spent most of my life in a bubble where everyone I know is exactly like me, and that if I bothered to look around I would remember how privileged I am.  She has to say this even after I’ve done Teach For America.  If anyone should know at this point, I should.  And I do, when I’m consciously thinking about it.  But that’s not the problem.  I know Japan is having a major energy crisis when I turn on the news, but I don’t think about that nuclear reactor when I turn on the light.  The fact is, it’s easy for us to get so wrapped up in our own lives and struggles and fears and ambitions that we forget at times how lucky we are.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  People have to live their lives.  But when you’re in a city like DC, in a neighborhood like Columbia Heights, where every day you’re living on top of people who can’t attain the life that’s all around them, you really need to think about it a little more.

Or at least, I do.

Thanks WCP, for letting me know that I’m not the only one.


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