Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10 Reasons Why Washington DC Is NOT the South

Today was a day filled with information and revelation. IRD is a complex organization with diverse facets and functions. Our day was a string of short meetings with team leaders from the nine core sectors in which IRD works. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information slung at me, and awed by the massive scope in which IRD has the capacity to respond to disaster, crisis and human need. It’s absolutely amazing! Especially after talking with the team leaders for the Haiti sector and the Relief and Humanitarian Assistance sector, I am now so excited and anxious to be off to Cambodia, working on the ground and seeing firsthand how IRD works with and in local communities. There are so many places of conflict/post-conflict that have needs; I cannot wait to get my hands dirty working toward building sustainable peace and prosperity with these communities.

Sara enjoying a bite to eat at Madam's Organ

But all that informative and impactful morning business aside, I realized something that changes how I view our great capitol, and perhaps even America as a whole. Washington DC is not the South. This profound realization hit me while eating a pulled-pork sandwich at Madam’s Organ – an infamous local haunt similar to the Vortex in Atlanta.  As me and my four other colleagues mused this revelation over, we came up with ten reasons why Washington DC is NOT the South. 

Washington DC  is not the South because…
10.  it has public transit that actually goes to useful locations at regular, calculable intervals
9.  people avoid using expressions like “bless her heart”, “good Lord willin’ and the Creeks don’t rise” and “I wouldn’t piss on her if she was on fire” in public discussion
8. the only tea on restaurant menus is from Long Island
7. public transportation is used by all members of the socio-economic public (like poor IRD interns!)
6. after walking nearly six blocks I still did not encounter a single church, house of worship, church sign or street evangelist
5. there are no old folks in rocking chairs on front porches…because there are no front porches
4. people do not stroll, they power walk
3.  cars actually stop for pedestrians without giving the finger, screaming obscenities and/or having to slam on the breaks halting just inches from where you have legally proceeded into the cross walk
2.  people do not embrace proper grammatical contractions like y’all which make English more efficient and less gender-biased instead they stubbornly insist on “you guys”
And finally, the number 1 reason Washington DC is NOT the South…
People have legitimate, non-fashion related reasons to wear scarves after Easter.

It's been fun so far. I'm excited to see how all the sectors interact and what kind of work is being done on the ground level. And, you know, adventures are fun too. :) 


  1. 1) I appreciate this list. I have been reveling in my ability to use public transportation with ease and my ability to go to the grocery store without engaging in small talk (unless I want to) since returning!! I am such a Northerner deep down, despite my double name conversion.

    2) I got your card today at the church and I was very happy. Mostly because it was a John Wesley card and you sent it to the church.

    3) Can't wait to read/hear all about Cambodia. Peace be with you!

  2. 1) You ARE a notherner despite the double name and the significant and formative years in Texas (which isn't really the South anyway).

    2)So glad you enjoyed Rev. Wesley. You two belong together. :)

    3) And also with you!