Saturday, June 26, 2010
Last summer, as many of you know, my brother in law mentioned they were considering a trip to DC after they visited his family in Tarheel country. "If you're on the East Coast, we'll come see you" I casually replied.
And so they were, and so we did. Big Little Sis is spending her summer driving from coast to coast, seeing all her peeps before she heads to China (yes, the country) to teach, and she joined us. And there we were: 3 sisters, 2 husbands, and 5 cousins ranging in age from 1.5 -12.5 years old.
It was a great trip. Since WB's friend from forever ago lives in the greater DC area and has been inviting us to visit for years, we spent our first 2 days in the city with them. We took in a Nationals game, as we're on a lifetime quest to attend games in all the major league ballparks. Our seats were on the first base side, which meant there was no shade. 4:05 start means it's still 90-something degrees out with some insane amount of humidity. And did I mention no shade? The game wasn't really captivating, and you know conditions are less than idyllic when WB is ready to go in the 7th inning. But we've been there, and it was an event Long Time Friends had not attended, so it's good we went.
Because my sister's family is younger than ours, we decided to do the Holocaust Museum without them. It was incredibly well done, and filled with overwhelming images. Both of our kids read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and there is a fishing boat from Denmark on display, along with a white wall with names of people who helped those targeted by the Nazis. It was a heavy morning for sure, but well worth it. The museum's motto-- the next time you witness hatred... the next time you see injustice... the next time you hear about genocide... THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAW-- is exactly the message we need to get out, and while I know I can teach that without taking the kids to see such things, the images help.
The rest of the trip was lighter. Over 4 days, we got to a bunch of Smithsonians: Natural History, American History, Air and Space, Native American (eat here, seriously. The food was AMAZING.) and the National Museum of Art. We did a double decker bus tour of the city, taking us from Union Station past the Capitol, around the National Mall, by the White House, out to the National Cathedral, and through Embassy Row into Arlington National Cemetery. We walked the Mall, visiting WW2 Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. I took a bazillion pictures of Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument. On our way out of town, I was determined to find the Japanese American Monument. I'd seen signs for it, and we drove by it on the bus tour, but it's exact location eluded me. Luckily Big Little Sis had her iPhone, and got the address for me, and as we checked out of the hotel I realized it was on the opposite corner from us, and that I'd walked by it 3 times without realizing it. I taught both the Holocaust and Farewell to Manzanar (memoir of a child who lived in an internment camp) this year, so getting to both these places was significant to me. The message, again, is we cannot let fear and hatred rule. I am certainly doing all I can to get that message out.
We ended up staying at 2 different hotels, partly because we used Priceline and couldn't get one bid for all 3 nights, and partly so we could be near the Capitol so we could hear the Air Force band play from the Capitol steps. The weather had other plans however, and the concert was canceled as the thunder rolled in. We did, however, get to spend the afternoon playing in the rooftop pool, so the move wasn't a total loss.
I am so thankful we took this trip, and that our families get along well enough that we want to spend time together. They have lived on the Left coast since they started having children, and we have only lived here; finding time for the kids to get to know each other is not always easy, but it is something we're all committed to making happen. My goal for this trip was to see my nephews and my family, but I also got to see more of DC than I'd expected. And I got to watch the Two Cathedral's episode of The West Wing in the city. Yea, it was a great trip.
Bonus! I loved doing trip updates so much last summer, but I didn't bring my laptop this time (4 beds in 5 days, needing to walk from one to the other, so I packed very light. If you can tell me what happened in the Two Cathedrals episode and why it was even more significant given our sightseeing, you'll win a picture of your choice. Check out FB for your options.