After graduating from Clark, I moved to Washington D.C to take a job as a curatorial assistant at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 2018, I moved just across the National Mall to pursue a master’s in Museum Studies at George Washington. About two months into my final semester, the university (and much of the world) closed down in response to the rapidly spreading pandemic. I spent the last few weeks of graduate school studying for comprehensive exams and writing final exhibition proposals all from my little studio apartment.
Each day since the stay-at-home orders began, I have gone on a walk to stretch my legs and clear my mind. While the time alone outside is peaceful, it has been difficult to watch the landscape of this city I love change each day. Neighborhood shops boarded up, uniformed National Guard troops guarding the Tidal Basin to prevent crowding as the cherry blossoms bloom, The National Mall deserted, the museums shuttered.
At the same time, I am seeing my fellow Washingtonians stepping up to help those most in need. Sticky notes in my lobby offering to run errands for at-risk tenants, blocks of row houses with stuffed animals in their front windows to entertain kids unable to visit the shuttered National Zoo, and our local hero, Jose Andre,s turning the baseball stadium into a giant kitchen to feed the community during the pandemic. So much humanity in the face of uncertainty.
The walks are my way of trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. To date, I have walked 358 miles, just 41 short of the distance from D.C. to Worcester. Here is hoping I’ll be able to come back to campus (not by walking) next May for my five-year reunion.