Saturday, March 27, 2010

White House

Our Semester in Washington Program group had an early morning appointment to tour the White House. So I woke up extra early to curl my hair, put on a nice outfit, and get ready. Then I realized it was pouring rain outside and I couldn't find my umbrella. Great. So I grabbed a Washington Post on the way out the building and used it as a makeshift head covering. Who says newspapers are worthless? By the time I got to the metro as pictured below, my hair was dry but the rest of my body was soaking wet...I guess that's why people use umbrellas and not newspapers. 

So after waiting an hour or so outside in the pouring rain, we finally get inside the White House. I had already taken a tour on a previous trip to DC and we also were in the East Wing for class earlier this semester, so I was itching to see something more than the same tour route of the bottom floor everyone gets taken on. I really really wanted to see the kitchen actually. 

As you walk through the different rooms (state room, library room, yellow room, etc) there's a secret serviceman in each room standing there answering question about the room and about the White House. Granted they're not always doing this kind of museum curator-esque work but when they are, it's easy to forget they're secret service. They just kind of look like security guards, standing there making sure no one touches anything. Mental note: fight the urge to refer to them as security guards. They are VERY offended by this. One of them tried to start a conversation with me so I played along and eventually it led to me asking how cool it was to just hang out in the White House all the time. He responded non-challantly saying it was just another day at work and not that great. So I said, "Well I'm sure there are worse places to be a security guard." He looked disgusted and exited the room. Oops. I tried to dig myself out of that hole but failed miserably, and then got a lecture from another secret service man on all the training they go through that makes them cooler than security guards. Lesson Learned.

Next we had an appointment to meet with someone who works in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. There are about 30 or so people that work in the East Wing, 40 or so that work in the West Wing (the President and his personal staff mostly), and then everyone else in the executive branch, ie: the other few hundred people who serve on all the Councils, the Press staff, the interns, etc. all work in the EEOB (pictured below). 

If you go around to the other side it's actually completely under construction on the exterior because apparently it caught fire in 2007. I guess three years later they're finally getting around to fixing it? Then I walked home...yes I live that close to the White House. Sometimes I forget that. 

FIVE WEEKS LEFT! Still waiting for this "beautiful spring weather" everyone keeps promising...I'm starting to regret taking home my winter coat and shoes over spring break. 

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