Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Life in D.C.: Part 2

In the first post of this D.C. series, I talked about our first year living in our nation's capital (August 2005 through August 2006). In that year, we moved to D.C., started school, I found a job, we got engaged and Eric worked for a judge in Florida for the summer. It was good times. Today I'm going to talk about Year #2, which covers September 2006 through August 2007 and brought many more great changes for us!

As our second year in D.C. got underway, we pretty much picked up where we left off in May. Eric returned from his summer in Ft. Lauderdale so all three of us were back in the apartment again, the boys got back into school schedules (I had been going all summer already), I was still working my receptionist job and we were working on wedding plans. Life was good, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves that fall. We got to go back to Gainesville for a Gator game, had a fun Halloween with Jeff and his friends, and enjoyed the colorful leaves of the changing seasons.

Back in Gainesville for UF v. Alabama, 2006

Eric and a bunch of his Kappa Chi fraternity brothers at the game

Lois Lane and Clark Kent for Halloween

Poor, sad cop dog and our Gators pumpkin

Fall at the Korean War Memorial

Beautiful leaves surrounding the Washington Monument

All three of us spent Thanksgiving together in D.C. that year, and tried our hand at cooking just a little bit more ourselves! No pre-ordered dinners this year, although there were probably some frozen veggies and instant potatoes (for shame!).

Cool guy checking the turkey (I did not let them throw this one off the balcony, in case you wondered. I think I used it to make soup.)

Roommate Thanksgiving dinner

Winter was soon upon us. We celebrated Eric's 24th birthday with dinner at the Hard Rock and some games at ESPN Zone, we caught some shows at Ford's Theater, and I got festive with my co-workers (it was tradition for several of us to dress up all Christmas-y and pass out Honeybaked Hams to all the building tenants each year, during which drinking on the job was not only condoned but expected - so, good times).

Eric's birthday at Hard Rock

By Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater

Holiday fun at work

We went home to the warmth of Florida for Christmas and New Year's, but when we got back we soon got a pretty decent snowfall. My two Florida boy roommates had a blast pelting each other with snowballs and building a snowman in the grassy area behind our building. My Florida dog, however, was not so enthused.

Snowball fight! (Jeff is on the left, Eric is on the right)

Gators snowman, obviously.

Poor, cold dog. (Yes, he's wearing a scarf.)

That March, Eric and Jeff went to the Final Four in Atlanta. Both Georgetown (Eric's law school alma mater) and Florida were in it, and it took place in Atlanta (driving distance), so off they went. Of course, that means they were there to see Florida win the Championship! Go Gators!

Eric is pretty Gator-ed out, but he does have that Georgetown polo on top to cover all his bases.

Eric and Jeff at the Championship game

Professionally, that spring marked a very important career step for me. As part of my Masters program, I was required to do an internship for one semester. I was still quite interested in jury consulting, so I researched jury consulting firms in the D.C. area with the hope of finding one that would be willing to take me on as an intern. I found one local consultant who was one of the first consultants in this field, who not only had an office in Old Town Alexandria and did they type of work I was interested in, but also was a fellow University of Florida alumna. I got in contact with her, and she agreed to let me intern with her. It was unpaid, of course (other than the school credit I got), but the experience I got working with her would be invaluable. So, I bid farewell to my receptionist job and hello to the world of jury consulting.

My very first week on the job, over 300 jury questionnaires were delivered to the office, for a capital case against an alleged "enforcer" of a D.C. gang. We spent many long days going through each and every questionnaire, flagging items for follow-up and noting which jurors were particularly concerning. Right away, in my first week, I learned about many of the important issues to address in a capital jury selection, how the death-qualification process ideally works, and what a consultant should look for in a juror, both good and bad. When jury selection actually got underway, I was able to go to court and witness the whole process up close and personal. I was also able to assist in writing the voir dire questions that would be asked of the jurors during jury selection. I really was forced to just jump right in with both feet, and just like that, I was hooked. It was exceptionally interesting work.

As my internship continued that spring, I was also able to work on a mock trial for a civil case in Georgia, and did more juror questionnaire analysis for a terrorism case in Miami. My internship then drew to a close, and I did my final presentation for my internship class at school (I discussed the death-qualification process in jury selection and the research concerning whether death-qualification results in a more conviction-prone jury). Much to my delight, the consultant I was working for asked me to stay on as a paid research associate. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity, and soon moved into my own office in the small Old Town Alexandria building. Fascinating casework continued to keep me busy, and I was quite happy as my experience base continued to grow.

In front of my office building - my office window was the one on the left, on the second floor.
(My mom took this picture when she came to visit for a weekend - I didn't make a habit of wearing Indians hoodies to work, in case you were wondering.)

My office (I did eventually fill those bookshelves with files)

Working hard, or hardly working - who can tell?

Meanwhile, Eric was searching high and low for a summer associate position with a law firm. He interviewed with a couple different firms in New York, before finally being offered a job with his current firm. Hooray for Eric!

Celebrating his summer job offer with champagne!

So, we made the most of the remainder of our spring before Eric would head out of town for the summer once again.

At a Nationals game with Jeff

Date night before Eric left for the summer

When the spring semester wrapped up, I went up to NYC with Eric to help get him settled in to his rented room in a Harlem apartment. I would visit him several more times that summer, and I will probably dedicate a full post to those visits another day, because those visits made the summer of 2007 one of my most favorite summers ever. I would take the bus from Chinatown, D.C. to Penn Station, NYC for the weekend, which took about five hours. It cost only $35 round trip and was always about as sketchy as you would expect, but it got me to my fiancé! Each time I visited him, we had a wonderful time touring New York City, and I fell in love with it.

Eric's block

Eric's tiny little rented room

Eric's office building


Times Square smooch

Meanwhile, back in D.C., I was quite busy. Academically, I was studying for my final comprehensive exam for my Masters program, which I took (and passed, of course) the week of July 4th. With Eric gone and a big exam looming over my head, I once again skipped the Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall, but did spend the Fourth at our friends' Chris and Leah's apartment, watching the fireworks from their rooftop. In addition to my hardcore studying, I was also tying up all the loose ends for our wedding plans. The day was fast approaching!

When Eric returned from New York, we packed up our apartment. Because we were about to be married, we decided to move to a new one-bedroom apartment (within the same building), so our roommate days were over. It was fun, Jeff! We packed up our stuff and moved it down to our new apartment, basically just dumping it on the floor before heading to Florida for the wedding festivities.

We spent the week before the wedding having our various shower/bachelor/bachelorette parties, hanging out with friends, and finalizing details. We were married on August 18, 2007 in a beautiful ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, FL, followed by a fabulous (if I do say so myself) reception at the Mahaffey Theater. I was just beside myself to finally be married to the man I love.

Our wedding ceremony

First kiss as man and wife!

I think this picture pretty accurately sums up how happy I was!

After a week's delay thanks to an unexpected hurricane, we spent a relaxing and romantic week in the Cayman Islands for our honeymoon.

Happy honeymoon!

After the honeymoon, we loaded up Eric's car with all of our luggage and wedding gifts and drove back up to our new apartment, ready to begin our first year as Mr. & Mrs., and our final year in D.C.!


Anonymous said...

Love all these pictures girl, and hearing your story as a couple! That wedding picture of you smiling is gorgeous, you have the same smile as Heather!:-)
ps- how did I not know Eric was a frat boy??!

KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

Sounds like a great year! I especially love your wedding pictures--so pretty :)

I don't know why but I am always surprised when I hear other couples had periods of long distance when they were dating too...guess it comes with the territory of law school, huh?

Jessica Renee said...

Again - love love love reading your story!! And your wedding pics?! Gorgeous! You were GLOWING!! :)