city living

Revisiting the Country Mouse

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By Kelsey Sollner

As my semester in Washington, DC comes to a close, I’ll get a little reminiscent about what a great time I had. I wrote a post when I first arrived and would like to update you. Initially anxious and mystified by city living, I now think of it as second nature.

I could walk or use public transportation to get anywhere I needed to go, and I could sleep more soundly at night knowing I was doing the environment some good by leaving my car at home in New Jersey. Speaking of sleep, I can now fall asleep to urban noise, and I wonder if I’ll miss it. I will admit: my body took a while to get used to city air—I was sneezing and coughing a lot those first few weeks! But I toughed it out; I wouldn’t let a little sinus trouble keep me from getting outside and soaking in the hustle and bustle of DC.

I was never bored. In the nation’s capital, monotony was one thing I never had to tackle. To make sure I was making the most of my time here, I used an old trick to adapt: I gave myself something to look forward to every day. I kept a calendar of big and small upcoming events (friends visiting, community service opportunities, street festivals, holiday events, neighborhood gatherings) and lived one day at a time, enjoying the present.

My internship sharpened me up, too. I felt that my work and I were fully engaged in the EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. I am proud to be part of such a creative, dedicated team. I’ll carry everything I learned from them with me for the rest of my life.

One of the best semesters I’ve ever had culminated with a meteor shower that, even with a view clouded by city lights, I was able to enjoy from my balcony. It was the perfect finale for an eventful semester studded with valuable life lessons and hard work. Nonetheless, now I can look forward to stargazing under my familiar country sky.
DC, I’ll miss you, but I know I’ll be seeing you soon!

About the author: Kelsey Sollner is a senior from Susquehanna University majoring in journalism. She works as an intern in the EPA’s Office of Web Communications.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

The Country Mouse

By Kelsey Sollner

In my 21 years on the planet, this fall marks my first time living in a big city. Of course, I have visited – made day trips to Manhattan, spent weekends in Philly and been to Dade County. But this is the first time I’ve had a permanent address in a metropolis, and this is my first job in an office building.

I’m from a farming area in New Jersey and go to a college surrounded by more dirt than asphalt and more cows than people. I spent all summer working in an orchard, climbing ladders and tending to fruit trees. I essentially got paid to work out and be outdoors, not to mention the endless produce! Once it came time to go back to school and begin my internship, I began to get nervous about being indoors for long stretches of time. I’d miss the breeze and sunshine, I’d miss the flora and fresh air, and I’d miss the warblers and sparrows singing. And to be honest, I’d even miss the farm’s enormous compost heap and the way it smelled in incredible heat.

Now that I’ve been thrust into city life, it’s taken some getting used to. How does a ragamuffin from central Jersey blend in with the hip crowd of DC? My work uniform was a ratty tank top, shorts and sunglasses, none of these blazer/pencil skirt/heels ensembles. Of all the pests I used to deal with on a regular basis at the farm, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a cockroach up close. And I’ve never felt like a bigger tourist than when I had to consult my subway map four or five times to find out I was on the wrong train.

If I can’t have my fresh air, though, I’ll make the most out of this city stuff. I’ve been making a constant effort to stay connected to my new environment. I found the oasis that is Montrose Park and spent hours in its sun and shade. My roommate and I just went to a Nationals game, on one of the most pleasant Saturdays of the season. I can even bird watch from my balcony, albeit just some pigeons, but still. For someone used to being surrounded by nature, it’s a little comfort. I’m steadily moving from being overwhelmed to becoming much more comfortable here.

They might make a city mouse out of me yet.

About the author: Kelsey Sollner is a senior from Susquehanna University majoring in journalism. She works as an intern in the EPA’s Office of Web Communications.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.