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The Start of Something New...

Arriving Weekend: 5/25-5/26

A collection of pictures describing my first two days in Washington DC!!

Saturday 5/25: Boarding two planes and meeting Patrick, Virginia, and my fellow interns.

On this day, I woke up at 3am and headed to the Bakersfield airport and let me say I was super nervous. I had never been on a plane before and to my surprise, I loved the plane ride! I boarded my first flight at 5:50am and that's when it hit me "I'm going to DC!!" Let me mention, the airplane cookies were amazing! I then landed in Texas and waited for my next plane to arrive at 11:30am. I shall add that because I stopped and bought McDonald's I was almost late to my second plane ride. I thought to myself "wow that was close" but I boarded and enjoyed the ride. Once arriving in Washington I was greeted by fellow interns and most importantly our amazing leaders Patrick and Virginia. After waiting almost an hour for our bus we headed to Hotel Hive where we would be spending our first night. The hotel was great! Due to all the excitement we all felt it was necessary to explore and so we did, we walked to The White House and the metro station where there was amazing architectural buildings. After, we headed back to our hotel and that was the end of my first day in DC.

Sunday 5/26: Receiving our dorm key and exploring more of DC.

Today was officially going to be my first day in DC as a HEP/CAMP intern and boy was I excited. We woke up early and headed to our new home for the next two months. After checking into GW we headed to Foggy Bottom- GW station where we purchased our metro cards. I'll add that I was a bit nervous; this was because I had never been on a metro and after seeing the metro map, learning about the rules I was in shock. I felt like it would be impossible to learn how to get around in metro. However, I feel like I learned a lot that day and with the help of Virginia we got onto the metro, transferred, and headed towards Target.

Once we boarded the metro and stopped a few times I was confused! But, we arrived at Target and I quickly learned that in DC it is a commonality for people to jaywalk whenever it is safe to do so. To me it felt illegal to jaywalk because in California it is illegal to an extent of being hazardous. On a side note, we bought groceries and headed back to our dorms. Once we arrived we were welcomed by CHCI staff and fellow interns. I was able to meet other individuals who like myself are first-gen, of latine ancestors and have had similar economic, racial, and educational experiences. Today I was able to learn more about the people who will help make an impact in this world and increase the rates of latine in congressional positions. To our past, present, and future success!

Memorial Day: 5/27

My personal Memorial Day in DC experience.

Monday 5/27: Today we started our day by visiting a couple historical monuments and museums. Let me start by mentioning that we took over 10,000 steps today!! Even though we were all super tired by the end, today was great. We began our tour around the national mall by walking to the Lincoln Memorial Building, then World War II memorial, the Washington Monument, National Museum of the American Indian, U.S. Capitol, and finally the U.S. Supreme Court. The list goes on but from these few I can say my favorite was definitely the National Museum of the American Indian because within it there are various art galleries that contained various pieces of art about the Trail of Tears, Pocahontas, and Color by Robert Houle.

After visiting all these amazing locations within the national mall it hit me that I'M LIVING IN DC FOR THE NEXT TWO MONTHS!!! With everything I've learned so far I'm hoping to become a pro at using the metro and hope to visit more amazing places such as the botanical garden, Holocaust museum, spy museum, New York, and possibly ChinaTown. To the next two months...

Week One: In-Person CHCI Orientation

My first day as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute intern.

Tuesday 5/28: Before starting with what I did today I think it's important to mention that I was super nervous last night because I knew that the next day I would meet new people, learn a lot, and network. Today I met Marco A. Davis (president and CEO of CHCI), Caroline Gonzalez Scott (VP of programs and alumni affairs), and many other pivotal members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. After meeting Marco and Caroline CHCI provided us with the opportunity to share a story about ourselves. To this show and tell activity I brought a 3rd place bronze medal and I shared that through this medal I was able to determine the career I want to pursue. I shared that I won this medal after competing in a county Anatomy and Physiology competition during my senior year of high school and I decided to bring that item to DC because the day I received it was the day I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

To me the medal meant that I was capable of anything and that medicine would be the way in which I could go on to serve my community. After finishing our first programming day with CHCI, Virginia and Patrick took us to meet some of our supervisors who we will be working with. At the dinner, I met many great individuals and was able to exercise my networking skills. I was able to start conversations with inspiring individuals and learn more about the possibilities that exist within DC and on Capitol Hill. After this dinner I felt grateful and realized that networking and making genuine connections can make a big impact in your life and in your profession. I hope to meet these individuals once again and partner with them on issues that are of my interest with the goal of learning new things and taking them back to my community.

The Molina Family Latino Gallery located within the National Museum of the American Latino.

Wednesday 5/29: Today we got the opportunity to visit and learn more about the Molina Family Latino Gallery located here in DC. We began our day by arriving to this exhibition and diving into the complexity and the hardships of Latine communities and the history that lies behind many of our own cultures. I personally enjoyed this exhibition because I was able to learn more about who I am, my identity, and the impact of the people before me. Initially, I was curious on what we would be learning about and if I would be able to resonate with anything and I'll say that I indeed learned so much and was able to connect with one of the pieces of art within this exhibit. The items, stories, and events told through the artifacts and art within this exhibition were amazing and very moving.

As we discovered more throughout the exhibition we came across a glass box that contained a backpack and a pair of shoes and whenever I laid my eyes on those objects I felt a sense of chills. Not only did these items move me but they brought up feelings and memories within my life experiences and reminded me of why I am here and the impact that I can make for myself and for my community. I hope to make happy all those individuals who had to discover hardships in the country they believed they would find peace in and to their grit, determination, strength, and hope. Overall, this exhibit was very moving and I enjoyed learning more about my ancestors and important figures who strived to make a change, fight for independence, and make it known that latine individuals will grow and obtain the same equal positions as any other individual.

Day on the Capitol Hill- photoshoot day!!

Thursday 5/30: Beeeeeeep! Beeeeeeep! Beeeeeeep! is what I heard at 3am. I woke up to the voice of a speaker within my dorm and lights flashing within the building. All I could hear is "fire in the building, evacuate using the stairs" and all I could think of was "what is going on" as I had a long day yesterday and was sound asleep. I woke up and followed everyone outside and thirty minutes later we were allowed back in. This was the beginning of a very eventful day. Three hours later, I woke up and prepared myself for our professional portraits.

After taking our pictures we headed to the USDA building and met other inspirational individuals who have made it their goal to help communities receive the best quality food at reasonable prices. After meeting with the USDA we headed back to Capitol Hill and were able to hear the stories of alumni students who have now used their CHCI experience and created a career for themselves. After listening to multiple speakers I realized I wasn't the only one who was scared to chase after something because it seems too big but that the rest of my cohort also felt the same. I remember asking myself "what do you really want" after waking up this morning and feeling exhausted. I thought back and realized that what I want is to make this a life changing experience for myself. I want to cross those boundaries, get out of my comfort zone, and be an advocate for myself. And for the rest of the day I tried my best to network and meet new individuals who will potentially teach me valuable skills.

Our last day with Virginia and Patrick, Beat the Bomb bonding activity, Fresno State first-gen newsletter and China Town.

Friday 5/31: Today was our last CHCI in person orientation and all I can say is how happy I am it's over but thankful for Cristian and Juan for putting in the work of getting 30 individuals into one room for the past week. They demonstrated passion, empathy, and hospitality to all of us and I thank them for taking the time to teach the next generation of latine in congress. One of my favorite things that we did today was share how we felt about the past week. From what everyone shared I felt like we all gained so much knowledge and were able to grow; mentally, physically, and emotionally. Having amazing mentors and leaders allowed us to learn and adapt quickly to the spaces around us.

After an emotional programming day, we headed toward a cohort bonding activity. We went to a place called Beat the Bomb where as a team we had to go through a series of rooms where communication, leadership, and confidence was needed. We passed through a television game room, laser room, and after other rooms we ended up in the Beat the Bomb room where we had to play a game and if we lost we got sprayed by paint. WE LOST!!

Today I learned that communication is key to any and everything. I loved that I was able to bond with other individuals in my cohort who I had yet to build relationships with. By the end of the day we ate ice cream with Patrick and Virginia at Captain Cookie. Thank you Patrick and Virginia, for the amazing mentorship and guidance. Before ending the night, I also came across a post that blew me away. It was me! I was shook and decided to investigate and found that my university took the time to write a news article about me. I cried!! I instantly called my family and shared with them the news and we cried again. After reading the news article I realized even more why I am here, for who I am here for, and what I want to make of this experience. Thank you to everyone back home supporting me and cheering me on.

A day at the Eastern Market and Air & Space Museum.

Weekend 6/1-6/2: Today, a group of us headed towards the Eastern Market where there were a lot of fun booths. From food to flowers to hand soaps to amazing gorditas. This market also included an inside meat market. I really enjoyed going to this market today and something interesting I learned is that there can be an infinite amount of soap scents. The creators usually use some type of oil, essential oils, and other scentful items to create body scrubs and hand soaps. After visiting the Eastern Market we headed to the Air and Space museum with Virginia and once we got in we said our last goodbye's. It was amazing having both Patrick and Virginia here this first week as many of us would've definitely been lost. Having them around helped me feel more comfortable. I enjoyed getting on the metro with Virginia, and jaywalking with Patrick and eating ice cream with both. We will miss them!

Thanks to Patrick and Virginia I can say that I feel ready to tackle on whatever comes my way these next nine weeks. By the end of this week, I feel like I truly belong here and deserve to be in this space. I feel ready to learn, take action, and make memories with the rest of my cohort. To the end of a beautiful first week in Washington DC and many more to come!!

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