These are a few of the highlights of living in DC for the summer, outside of working at IUCN (which has been pretty fantastic so far):
One of the highlights of living in DC so far has been discovering the large Indonesian community here in DC and in nearby Philadelphia. My husband is Indonesian, and I spent several years living in Indonesia before coming to MIIS, so this is especially exciting for us. A few weeks ago, we were invited by a lady we met on the metro to an Indonesian festival in Maryland, where we were shocked to find an authentic Indonesian street fair set up in the backyard of a house in the suburbs! Probably a couple hundred people were there.
We had an eye-opening experience when we visited an Indonesian family friend in Philadelphia the other weekend. She lives in South Philly in an area known as “Little Surabaya”, where there is estimated to be over 5,000 Indonesians, mostly undocumented workers, who provide much of the labor for the factories in the surrounding industrial area. Overall we had a great visit, got stuffed silly with amazing Indonesian food, and learned a lot about the history of Indonesian immigrants in the US.
The Indonesian Embassy organized a big festival on the mall with the highlight of the event being an attempt to break a world record for largest angklung ensemble. The angklung is a traditional Indonesian instrument made from bamboo. We broke the record on the second attempt, with a total of 5,100 people.
Forth of July:
We were warned that the national mall would be complete chaos, but decided we had to try to watch the fireworks there anyway. You may have seen “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS – we were there, watching that concert on the lawn of the capitol building. I have to say, it was a lot of fun, and the musical lineup was very impressive. It wasn’t the best spot for actually watching the fireworks though, since the wind was blowing towards us and the view was partially obscured by smoke. But it was a memorable night nonetheless, and not nearly as chaotic as I had feared.
Summer in DC is awash with free concerts going on all over the city. A few of my favorite events have been Jazz in the national sculpture garden every Friday, the blues tent at the Folk life Festival, and the free nightly free concerts on the Kennedy center’ millennium stage. We also won free tickets to see OkGo at the Kennedy center! Not bad DC.