Day 6: June 20, 2013

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It’s official: Homesickness is gone and I never want to leave Washington D.C.

I’m going to miss my morning walks so much. I’ve only made the mile-and-a-half walk through the city from our dorm to the ASU Washington D.C. center a few times, and I’m already recognizing certain people that I pass each morning. Security guards, fellow walkers, homeless citizens… one man I walked by and greeted even said, “Nice to see you again.” I was taken aback. I barely recalled this person, and yet he remembered me. (Or else he was just being friendly.) Part of me wishes I worked in this city. That way I could walk up and down these streets forever.

We got to hear four speakers at our center today, and my favorite was a lovely lady who was very energetic and passionate about what she did. (I wish I could tell you what it was!) Her academic knowledge and talent is very admirable, but the one characteristic that struck out the most for me was her willingness to take risks. Apparently, the only way she ended up where she is today is because she took opportunities as they came and let go of the plan for her life that she had drafted. She, in her words, “jumped off the cliff,” and let me tell you, she really figured it out on the way down. Furthermore, she advised us to find a good balance between our careers and the rest of our lives – I will certainly be taking this to heart.

After we were let out at 5, I dropped my school things off at the dorm and changed into casual clothes before heading over to the National Mall again. I never really got to soak in as much of the Lincoln Memorial as I wanted to when I visited it on Sunday with my group, and I wanted to go back before I leave D.C. on Saturday. That, and – in case I never made this fact particularly clear – my very favorite part of D.C. is the area between the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.

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I am just lost for words when it comes to that place where the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool seemingly come together as one. I want to jump and dance for joy when I’m there. I want to cry. I want to kneel and start a conversation with whatever or whomever is up there looking after us. I want to smile and hug every person that walks by. I want to explore. I want to come up with a plan to save the world. I want to sit as still as I can and learn how to observe the world.

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Maybe my goofy expression says it all?

It’s going to be difficult leaving this magical place. It is so incredible to be here, and I cannot possibly say that enough.

Going through the Lincoln Memorial, I took the time to read his speeches that are engraved on the side walls.

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It is amazing to me that someone can say so much by saying so little. I hope that someday, I can have that priceless talent.

Before I left the National Mall, I made the mistake of stepping into the little gift shop that is just inside the Lincoln Memorial. There, I found a relatively cheap book about the history of the National Mall (complete with pictures), so I bought it for myself. I sat down on the steps of the Memorial, National Treasure style, to read some of it, and found that so many influential people have stood in the very same area on which I stood. So many people that have changed the world walked the steps on which I sat. The thought was very humbling.

I hope that someday, I, too, can change the world. But as Abraham Lincoln put it, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here.” “They” refers to the brave men and women that fought for our country, but I see it another way as well. One can say all the things in the world, but it is the doing that really matters. Well, the field of sustainability really is all about the doing. How lucky am I that I found my school? How lucky am I that I found this study abroad trip?

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