Friday, August 1, 2008

Last day in Washington, DC

I've had an excellent last day here in Washington, DC and really couldn't be happier. After some research and 15 minutes spent in the queue of Lufthansa's call-center I managed to change my flight back to tomorrow. I'll be leaving in the late afternoon on a flight to Paris CDG where I'll switch over into a plane to Vienna which is about as far away from home as Munich. So overall I'll be home a couple of hours later than originally planned but that's still significantly better than getting home on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, apart from figuring out these details the day was certainly well spent. It started off with visiting the Afghanistan - Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. This turned out to be an excellent decision as it was a great exhibition which I'd definitely recommend anyone going to while in DC! Some of the pieces on show were simply stunning, the whole thing was very well set up and informative and with the entrance fee being $0 it's hard to beat it in terms of value.

I proceeded to pay my former neighbors a brief visit and even though I only saw two of them it was good to say our good-byes in person, something which hadn't quite worked out in June. It was also good to have one more chance to walk the well known route from the Metro station to what used to be home for 3 months.

Afterwards I went to see my former colleagues at the embassy and even though I had initially feared it was going to be awkward to get back there after a month it was a great experience. To some degree it was also the final closure for me as my first departure in June was totally crazy due to the large amount of work I had to deal with in the last couple of days. Leaving the office and then being on-the-road the next morning didn't really allow me to process my experiences.

I realized just how happy I am to have had this month in-between finishing the internship and flying home. Not only for the obvious reasons of having the chance to catch up with old friends, hang out with new friends and generally travel to cool places. Also because this gave me some time to reflect about my experiences in the past few months. This process is obviously still going on it but I certainly wouldn't be as far if I had gone home at the beginning of July. I would probably be too busy with a million other things and wouldn't allow for the necessary mental bandwidth to deal with this process.

After two hours of catching up with many people at the embassy and realizing just how well I had gotten to know some of them over the course of my internship we went out for some beers. Unfortunately we initially made the mistake of heading to the German Embassy's Happy Hour which was just as boring and cumbersome to get to as back in June. However afterwards we still went to one of our favourite bars close to Dupont Circle and so the evening turned out pretty great!

Now I'm off to pack my stuff and then grab a couple of hours of sleep as I still have a somewhat busy day ahead of me and also want to get up early in my efforts to counter jet lag.

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