There is nothing better than being home for the holidays! Being new to the area in 2011, I spent last years Christmas entirely alone. It was an incredibly lonely feeling, but I’m glad I went through it. I had never experienced Christmas alone and I never realized I took the family aspect part of the holidays for granted. But after getting a dose of solitary confinement for Christmas, I appreciate my family ten fold now. This year, I was able to take off a week to fly home to Virginia for the holidays. It was wonderful! I got to spend quality time with my family and friends.
I grew up in Stafford County, a suburb of Washington D.C. about 35 miles away from the nation’s capital. But if you’ve ever visited the city, you know the beltway region is one of the most congested traffic areas in the country. As a result while I was growing up, my family and I would only visit to bring out of town guests to see the sights. We would never really make special trips up there just to hang out. But living far away in Louisiana, made me realize that I really missed out on seeing some of the sights. For instance, I had never been inside the congress building, which is a travesty since I am in love with politics, so I made that a goal for my trip. Me and my boyfriend Clay, (who I brought from LA to show around D.C.), visited our Louisiana congressman’s office in the Cannon House to pick up tickets. The Cannon House was so cool to see as a journalist, because in the rotunda of the building is where all fo the networks have their reports stationed to do live shots and stand ups. I wanted so badly to go pick their brains, but refrained because I knew they were working. Instead, I continued down the hallway in search of my congressman’s office. Once we found it, I thought it was neat that is as soon as we opened up the door to U.S. Rep. Alexander’s office, we were immediately transported from D.C. back to Louisiana. His office was filled with Louisiana staples like fleur di li’s and sports memorabilia. After we picked up the tickets, we headed to the Congress building and once we went through several security measures and surrendered our electronics at the door, we got to sit in the Congress gallery and watch lawmakers argue about the fiscal cliff. It was so cool, I was geeking out!
I also had the opportunity to go on a private White House tour, which was amazing. One of my parent’s friends from church actually works in the White House, so he sees the president on the regular. He was the one who showed us around and I am forever grateful for him taking time out of his day to do it. The first thing I noticed when walking in was how regal everything looked and how everything smelled of fresh pine needles because of the Christmas decorations. There are stunning photos lining the walls of President Obama and his family that get updated every few weeks so all of them are very current. I got to see the Oval office, the fancy dining room, the Situation Room, and most importantly (for me) the media briefing room! I sat in the CBS chair and imagined myself asking the tough questions just as Nancy Cordes does now! It was certainly a geek out moment for me since I one day would love to be a political correspondent working in the nation’s capital.
Another highlight of my trip was being able to visit with a friend and mentor from my internship at WTKR, Van Applegate. He took me and Clay on a tour of where he works now, the D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA. It was amazing to see what a station in market 9 looks like. It seemed so glamorous and with the man power that works at their station it seems as if they work so much more efficiently than smaller stations with skeleton crews. I was in awe the entire tour and the experience certainly inspired me to dream bigger to one day work in Washington D.C. I even got to pose for a photo at the main anchor desk with Clay. Sitting in that chair made me feel the possibilities that one day maybe just maybe I could be sitting there as my job. But don’t worry North East Louisiana folks, it will be a long while before I have enough experience under my wing to get to that level. My trip home was not only beautiful because I got to visit with my family, but the experience also inspired me to put a kick in my step and work harder to achieve my dreams of one day working in Washington D.C.