Fun at Winterthur, Week 9!

I’m back after a bit of a weird and wild weekend! I left work a little bit early on Friday to drive down to D.C. Apple Maps said it would take me 2.5 hours to get down. That might have been true if I counted arriving at the D.C line as arriving at my destination. Once I got there though, I inched through traffic for a full hour and a half before finding a spot to park and running into the game. It was a lot of fun, no thanks to the actual baseball involved! I woke up on Saturday and decided to go to Mount Vernon since I hadn’t been in a while. Alas, I had forgotten that it was summer tour season, meaning that each guest got about a half second in each room before being shoved onward by the crowds as the guides in the middle of the room shouted obvious facts about Washington. Not gonna lie, the house was a bit underwhelming since I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know and I was smashed in there with several hundred total strangers. However, the new exhibit on slavery at Mount Vernon was fantastic. It was really well executed and had great information. Unfortunately, that was the least crowded place I encountered on the estate. After Mount Vernon, I headed on down the road to Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason. I think Mason is super cool, and I read a lot of his correspondence and personal reflections on the Constitutional Convention for some of my past research. His house was the last of the big Virginians’ homes that I had yet to visit, and it was fantastic. I really liked his overall style- ostentatious, but tastefully so. The only downside of the tour was that it was populated mostly by Northern tourists (shoutout to those who have heard my earlier rant on Northern tourists). One guy liked to talk over the guide and use terminology that sounds fancy to those who don’t know anything (like himself, arguably) but are just basic descriptive words to people who actually know anything about decorative arts. After Gunston Hall, I made possibly the worst decision of the weekend- taking I-95 up to D.C from essentially Woodbridge on a Saturday night (also Nats game night). Unfortunately, my phone had died, and I didn’t want to get lost. I know Northern Virginia reasonably well, but not well enough to get back on the backroads that would get me around 95 without a GPS. I sat on 95 for 2 whole hours to get essentially 30 miles. Once I got back into the city, I got to have dinner with my Dad and brother. The next morning, we got breakfast before they left. I accidentally went to Arlington Cemetery because I got into the wrong lane, but once I realized where I was going, I was down. I decided to go to the Confederate Monument in Arlington, because I had read a lot of scholarship on it. It was nearly 2 miles (walking, since the trams didn’t go there) from the gate, but the monument was worth the walk since it was so fascinating. I decided to go to check out the Papal Tiara at the National Shrine, and walked in on a Mass, so I decided to stay for the service. After Mass, I headed out, back to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it took me almost 4 hours to get back, 2 and a half of which were spent inching from Annapolis across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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Summary

After 10 weeks of research design and lab sessions, I am at a stopping point for the summer. At this point, I have run 26 participants, and I know that most of that data was collected without difficulty and will be a part of my final result, a concept which I find very exciting.

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Summer Reflections

This summer has been very different from what I thought it would be. I’ve been working by myself most of the time, and often a 40-minute hike into the middle of the woods. The kind of identification I was doing out in the field was not something I had ever done on my own before, without anyone more knowledgeable there to direct questions to. I’ve definitely become more self-sufficient, or at the very least have more faith in myself that I can do this kind of work alone if need be. Now knowing the scientific names for many of the plants in the College Woods is also a plus.

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textures of Seoul; six weeks in retrospect

I’ve been thinking a lot about the modest ways in which our impression of a place can be immediately recast. Something so uninteresting as finding the all natural, health conscious grocery store that I did last week dented an impatient and ceaseless bustle that I had chosen to be a hallmark of Seoul.

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