Politics and Orange Chicken

What do these two things have in common? They both remind me of D.C., and are both a part of this Tuesday night.

The orange chicken and D.C. connection one is an easier one: I ate lots of orange chicken in D.C. Why? Because I loved it, and I had not yet learned portion control (who am I kidding? still working on portion control) or limiting the non-healthy stuff, so I ate it all the time. Panda Express, the local delivery place, as much as I could get.

The politics and D.C. one is more obvious, but it has more of a story behind it.

I moved down to D.C. for college because I wanted to leave the NYC area. (I grew up in NJ.) I’d applied to quite a few schools, but only got into Dickinson, Syracuse, American and Marist. Marist was too close, Syracuse was too cold, and Dickinson was too much in the middle of nowhere for me.

Until I got accepted to American, I was all set to go to Syracuse, but once I got accepted to American, I knew I wanted to go to a city school so I would have the opportunity for good internships. I’d intended on majoring in journalism and Spanish, though I thought I’d do something that had to do with either Spanish or linguistics. I thought the journalism would be a fallback, because at the time, languages were my passion. (I also studied French and Russian.) 

I moved down to D.C. and was not interested in politics in the least. In fact, I thought that the poli sci kids were the biggest toolbags I’d ever met. (Actually, I still kinda think so ;)) I didn’t get interested in politics until my junior year of college, when I took a semester off to intern at a political magazine. After that, I was hooked. I was that toolbag and totally okay with it. I wrote about the 2004 election for my college newspaper as well as for UPI, the newswire (where I also interned). I attended the 2005 Inauguration, covering it for my college paper. I took a special class at the Washington Post (the pinnacle of political journalism) that only three other undergrads were selected for. One of them is still working in political journalism and doing great things. 

When I graduated, I looked for jobs both in D.C. and NYC, but I ended up finding a job and staying in D.C., covering policy for a small newsletter company. Like most first jobs, it wasn’t the greatest, and I moved on after a few months to a job that I will probably always consider one of my best jobs. I took a job as a reporter with Campaigns & Elections magazine. For two years, I covered the ins and outs of the business of politics. (It’s a billion dollar a year industry—and that’s not even in major election years.) Working for a non-partisan political magazine was such a great experience because I learned so much about politics while meeting amazing people on both sides of the aisle. 

I interviewed current and former members of Congress, current and former party leaders and big-name political consultants. I watched politics like others watched sports. (Though, I still tried really hard to not be that toolbag and not talk about politics too much around people I knew didn’t care.) Eventually, I got burned out covering politics, and being in D.C., but I’ll always have an interest in politics and election nights in front of CNN will always hold a special place in my heart. As I watch CNN, I smile when I realize I’ve interviewed a few of their panelists. 

About the orange chicken? I had some for dinner after I got home late from Junior League. I’d been craving it and really wanted to give making it on my own a shot. I got home close to 11, so I decided to just pick up some frozen veggies. I was going to make the sauce, but I saw some prepared sauce, so I went for that. (I do still want to try making my own orange chicken!) So, I bought the below:

And sauteed the veggies and chicken, microwaved the rice, and ended up with this:

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