My philosophy is that you don't really know someone until you’ve seen that person go through multiple situations that elicit multiple emotions. The same theory applies for places; you have got to see the place go through the seasons to know it. It's essential to see the best and worst of what the place has to offer in order to get a real feel of it instead of simply being a visitor.
Since my arrival in Washington, DC in September's 80 degree weather until now in December when you can easily wonder if you're in the Arctic, I've been fortunate to fully experience this place. I've eaten at some of its best restaurants (i.e. Chef Geoff's Downtown). I've partied at some of its renowned bars and clubs (i.e. Ultrabar, McFadden's, Capitol City Brewing ). I've gone to some of its world famous museums (i.e. International Spy Museum, Marian ). I've gone to the top of the Washington Monument to be mesmerized by the city's view. I've even been able to meet and listen to some world class orators (i.e. Pres. Obama, Bob Schieffer).
For the last couple of weeks, however, I've been exploring a different side of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Last week, the Science, Technology and Society program took a trip to Montgomery County's Recycling Center to experience the recycling culture here. Before taking that trip, I never thought there was so much money in recycling. The single stream center at Shady Grove cost $8.5 million to build to serve about 951,000 people. It usually costs $3.2 million annually to run and generates about $3.8 million in revenue. Anyway, it was cool too see how everyday items are recycled and get back on supermarket shelves as containers, soda cans, and boxes within weeks of avoiding their landfill fate.
Today, I took another recycling trip, but this time, to the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA). It was really nice to go to "the end of the sewer" where sewage water is processed and then emptied out into the Potomac River. The processed water was actually clearer than the river's natural water. Even though the stench of that place was unbearable, we still toured the 150 acres facility. WASA can treat up to 1.076 billion gallons per day thus currently holds the title as the world's biggest advanced treatment plant.
On another note, I'm kind of excited to be done with my projects at my Safe Kids Worldwide internship. The pressure to have all my research completed is overwhelming because if I don't do a good job, I can just forget about my future with the organization. Nevertheless, only God knows where I'm going to end up geographically and professionally in the next few years so I might as well enjoy the ride through programs like The Washington Center.
Until Next Time,