The fact that I only have two months of interning this summer here in Washington, D.C. has led me to jam-pack my days full in a desperate attempt to make the most of this incredible opportunity. My weekdays always start with me hopping in the shower (shower count: 1) before I quickly cook myself a small breakfast. Well, I say cook, but I essentially just heat up a Trader Joes hash brown on the stove and call it a day. Then, it’s a race against the clock to get ready and throw on a business casual outfit – that I will inevitably sweat through by the time I get to work – before Noemy and I are on our way to the metro stop, which I would like to proudly announce that I can now navigate with an ease that I would like to consider typical of a native D.C. resident.
Dealing with the morning hustle and bustle of the metro always leaves me ecstatic to enter the peace and calm of the HFA office, where the only sound I really hear in the mornings is Miriam typing away at her computer. This always sets my tone for the day, as the typing sound triggers the productive part of my brain and I am able to shift gears and get to work. I’ll open my laptop and begin emulating Miriam’s clickety-clacketying- opening emails, typing out my agenda for the day (I am a chronic planner and to-do lister), and beginning the week’s assignments. Once lunch time rolls around, I will either grab lunch with Noemy or have a moment to myself and eat alone in the park area in front of Union Station, watching the squirrels boldly approach me in the hopes of catching a crumb or two – they’re honestly so cute that sometimes I’ll just toss them something small. Then it’s back to work and back to the thankfully air conditioned office, where I start back up on my assignments and maybe hop in on a meeting or two. Meetings are always fun- the team at HFA is so kind and welcoming despite many of them being in completely different states! It has truly proven to me that a positive work environment is so incredibly important and helpful to productivity- there is such an unlimited amount of encouragement here that I always feel supported in all my efforts.
Once the work day has wrapped up, it’s time to venture back out into the swampy heat and the post-work metro crowd. The commute home isn’t long, but my goodness is it sweltering, and by the time I’ve gotten home, I am yearning desperately for a shower, so that’s exactly what I do (shower count: 2). Then, it’s dinner time, and while sometimes I will stay in and eat something at home, I love to grab a bite or a drink with the new friends I’ve made in this city. This always ends up lasting longer than I expect, but I can’t complain- good company and good conversation is worth the extra time. Then it’s straight back home and of course, the heat will have beaten me once again and I succumb to yet another need to shower, and so it goes (shower count: 3). If Noemy and I aren’t too exhausted from the day, we will always end up gorging ourselves on dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and watching that day’s episode of Love Island, which we are currently criminally behind on. And after that it’s goodnight, getting ready for bed, and getting excited to do it all over again the next day.
— Karina Piu, 2023 Summer Intern