Sunday, June 10, 2007

An Adventure Begins!

Hello world (read: bored high school students looking at this web site because their mom told them to and all others who are reading specifically because they love me).

As you may or may not know, I am in the early stages of a summer internship with the Smithsonian in D.C. Centenary College of Louisiana has been generous enough to A) pay me money to write about all of my amazing (and not so great) experiences and, more importantly, B) publish it on the web so that all of you can read and decide if a place like Centenary might be for you. So waita go lil' Cent. But enough introduction.

I got to Virginia, where I'm staying with a family of three, on Thursday. I gotta say it's a great place to be. They are all really nice, have a beautiful house in an upscale country club, and, best of all, they aren't making me pay a dime. Although they warned me that the commute might be difficult, I went ahead and decided to stay here.

Friday I did a practice run of getting into DC. It was relatively painless and didn't feel as long as it actually took. The best part is the train drops me off right by the building I'll be working in. Specifically, I'm working with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, which is a division of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The office is just south of the Mall: here's a link to a google map of exactly where I work. You can't really tell it from there, but the building, Capital Gallery, is one of the nicest in the area.

On Friday I met John Smith, head of International Sales & Marketing, who is my on-paper supervisor. We basically chatted about what's coming up and he introduced me to some other people I would be working with. The entire office was really laid back; many people wore t-shirts or shorts, and everyone was friendly and approachable. Since a couple of people had expressed feelings that I should wear nice clothes to work but I told them that I would probably be fine, I felt a little vindicated after seeing one intern in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Here's to hoping I never have to grow up and wear a shirt and tie!

I don't know much of what I'll be doing, but everything John Smith (I know, what a name) talked about sounded fun. One thing that is going to be really cool is working with the annual Folklife Festival, which is a huge deal every summer when they bring in all sorts of musicians, craftsmen, and storytellers from different cultures around the world. This year there are three groups: the Mekong River valley in Southeast Asia, Northern Ireland, and historic Virginia (it's the 400th anniversary of Jamestown this year). John said something I would need to do here would be documenting stages, recording performances and taking notes on it all. Being a Centenary DJ with a special interest in Americana music, this is going to be a blast. The music from Northern Ireland should be especially cool, because one of my favorite genres, Bluegrass, traces its roots back to Celtic folk music.

Needless to say, as a history major who would really like to be a teacher or professor, but also has a passion for music and a secret desire to work with it as a fun job, this whole experience is going to be great because it will show me some different options for a career. One person that works there is an ethnomusicologist - how cool is that!

Anyways, I think that's enough for one day. I'll have a lot more once everything gets going here. I didn't take my camera to DC, but I do have a picture of the view from my bedroom here at Casa Melson.

(you can click both of these pics to get a fullsize image)

room with a view - click to enlarge

And here is a pic of the family dog, Old Salt Sandpiper by the Sea, aka Sandpiper, aka Sandpipe, aka Piper, aka Pipe, hanging out on my bed while I type this blog. She is a Portuguese Water Dog. If you look close there is a hat and glasses, but I'm not sure who those belong to...

piper on the bed - click to enlarge

Okay kids, keep enjoying the summer, because it's going to be gone before ya know it. Holler!

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