I had always wondered, when do I stop being a tourist and actually become a member of the city? Was it when I rode the metro to work, or had no interest in walking the mall for the 100th time, or was it something else? One day, I finally realized it. There’s an unwritten rule in DC, that when you’re riding the metro and using the escalators to go in/out of a station, you walk on the left, stand on the right. And for the first time, I got frustrated with someone for standing on the left side of the escalator. Now, I was also running a bit late to work because the trains weren’t working, but nonetheless, I had done it. I had internalized one of DC’s unwritten rules. So, I stopped becoming a tourist because of a lot of things. I had been able to give directions to strangers, I gave mini tour guides to friends that would come by, I could finally recommend good food in DC, but all in all, I had finally realized it when I got mad someone was breaking an unwritten rule. But, once I realized it, I just smiled and kept going into work.
Fortunately for me, however, it’s still not super hard for people to tell I’m from the midwest. Whether it’s the “midwestern” charm, or the fact that I constantly wear University of Michigan attire or insist football is the best sport known to man, although I’m in the big city I still carry some of home with me. This, I suppose is one of the benefits of an internship I had only thought about a little bit, just how much of the culture I get to see in DC, the people I see and talk to, and every other thing outside of work. It’s also worth saying that I’m no longer a “tourist” at work.
I know where everything is, I’ve hit my stride and I have a constant, steady workload that keeps me busy when I am at work. And, I’ve learned more about what it means to be an attorney, what it means to work for the government, and other things about office work. As my internship hits the halfway point, I’m excited to see how it all shakes out