Visitor #2

Coworker-turned-confidant Jordan was Visitor #2 to see me in D.C. She was here September 21-23, and we had so much fun!

IMG_8835

riding the Metro bus home from the airport

Prior to Jordan’s visit, I hadn’t really had any “interesting” Metro encounters. While she was here? AT LEAST one every time we rode the bus or train. Every. Time. I don’t think she was scarred for life, but she definitely had some concerns. Ha!

We had the prettiest weather to work with on Friday, so we did some walking. We visited the Newseum – where we thought it was fitting to take a picture with “Act up!” in the background. (That’s basically all we did when we worked together. LOL) Then we trekked across the National Mall and stopped by the National Air and Space Museum. Jordan’s maiden name is Langley, so we checked out the Early Flight exhibit and learned a little more about Samuel Pierpont Langley.

After leaving the museum, we walked straight over to the concession stand outside and treated ourselves to a funnel cake. We did NOT share with the squirrel. (He found a french fry instead.) We finished out the day with dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street from my apartment and possibly the most harrowing Uber ride of Jordan’s life. (I was in the backseat trying not to laugh while she rode shotgun.)

Once we picked up my car and arrived safely back to my apartment, it was Netflix time. Jordan is my most recent Madam Secretary convert, so we had to get in several episodes. I think we managed five before she left on Sunday!

On Saturday, we made a quick drive over to Langley, VA, so Jordan could get a pic with her maiden name. We also drove by CIA Headquarters. Good times!

We then headed back to D.C. and stopped by GW’s campus, so Jordan could see where I go to school. Urban campuses are different than what we’re used to! Campus is fairly close to the White House, so we meandered over there before joining the last Capitol tour of the day. Even though I’ve been a few times, I still find the Capitol so interesting! Our guide was British, so I’ll forgive him for the inaccurate Hamilton info he told our group. (The touring company had visited the week before, so he was telling us to go check out the show. It ended on the 16th. Bless him.) We strolled past the Supreme Court after our tour and then took an Uber back to my apartment where we had pizza and watched more Madam Secretary.

 

IMG_9029

drying off at Shake Shack after church

Jordan was able to go to church with me before heading home to TX on Sunday. It poured rain, but we had a good day anyway! Church was really good, and then we walked to Shake Shack (yes, in the rain). Lunch was delicious!!! We had some good hangout time at the apartment, and then it was time for me to take her back to the airport. I still have no idea what was happening at DCA, but traffic was so bad that we couldn’t even get up to the actual drop-off spot before Jordan needed to get out and make a run for it. Thankfully, she made it through security in plenty of time. Meanwhile, I sat in traffic. INSIDE THE AIRPORT. It took me about an hour to get home. I live 10 minutes away.

Despite the depressing send-off, Jordan and I had a great visit, and I can’t wait until she comes again! Visitor #3 has already been, and #4 comes this week. (I’m clearly behind on blogging.) Hope y’all are well!

You could make this place beautiful,

blog signature

Advertisements

Visitor #1

My best friend Deanna came to visit over Labor Day weekend, making her my very first visitor in D.C.! (My mom and Aunt Tina helped me move in, but they really didn’t get the guest treatment. It was more of a “mostly work, very little play” type of deal. Sorry, ladies! Please come back.)

 

There are so many great things to see and do here, but Deanna’s #1 requirement was that we do things I’d been looking forward to doing with a friend. ❤ Her flight arrived late Friday night, so we got off to a relaxed start on Saturday.

 

We headed to the National Archives specifically to see the Hamilton exhibit where they paired lyrics from the musical with corresponding letters. There was one from George Washington recommending Ham for Treasury Secretary, one from Hamilton himself about his finances that he wrote the week of his fateful duel with Burr, and one from his wife, Eliza; she wrote to Congress to request that Hamilton’s papers be published. It was so cool to see them all! Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed in that section. While we were there, we also looked at the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights plus a fascinating exhibit about Vietnam.

 

We popped into the U.S. Capitol just before an afternoon downpour. Isn’t the pic on the right awesome?! (The last 14+ years of my life would be MUCH less documented without Deanna and her photography skills.)

 

On Sunday, we spent several hours enjoying The Yards along the Anacostia River. We ate brunch outside at Due South and then walked along the river before grabbing dessert at Ice Cream Jubilee. So tasty and so fun!

 

We returned to the Capitol that evening for a free “patriotic” concert with the National Symphony Orchestra. They were excellent, but “patriotic” isn’t the adjective I would’ve gone with. Deanna and I definitely knew the national anthem, “God Bless America,” and the “Salute to the Armed Forces.” The other 80 minutes or so were more of a nod to American composers through the years.

 

On Monday, we went to the Newseum. Before you even go inside, you can peruse the day’s front pages from every state in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia. We spent a couple of hours here but didn’t even visit every floor. I’m seriously considering an annual pass because I enjoyed it so much!

 

Two of the most breathtaking exhibits were the pieces of the Berlin Wall and a piece of the antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

 

The whole thing was just really well done. Big shoutout to the First Amendment! 🙂

IMG_5064

last picture of the trip

We spent the rest of Monday running some errands and completing some tasks in my apartment that required an extra set of hands. Deanna was so kind to spend part of her trip helping me get things done! The airport goodbye was SUPER sad, but I’m so thankful she was able to come at all. It was so nice to see a friendly face and to get to experience my new city with my best friend.

Visitor #2 arrives this weekend, so maybe it won’t be as long between posts! Maybe. 🙂

You could make this place beautiful,

blog signature

Good Bones

(The title of this post is borrowed from my current favorite poem, introduced to me by my current favorite TV show. More on that later.)

I love stories. I’m a life-long avid reader, TV watcher, and movie goer. My list of favorite, formative books is too long to mention, so I’ll stick to TV and movies. As a kid, I rented the same Strawberry Shortcake, Popples, and Care Bears videos so often that I had most of them memorized. In middle school, Walker, Texas Ranger was my show. (I do not need your judgement. It was a simpler time.) The movie Dangerous Minds made me want to teach English; then high school brought JAG and during college came Law & Order: SVU.  I also have a well-documented love of NCIS, Hamilton, and most recently, Madam Secretary. Different shows for different stages of my life.

photo grid

My childhood faves notwithstanding, all the others share two things: careers in public service and strong female leads. I think most people who know me will agree that I clearly watch/read/obsess over too many A LOT of stories. (I haven’t had cable in 3+ years, but Netflix and libraries are enablers. What can I say?) Thankfully, my family and both of my church homes also made sure I knew the Bible — lots of individual stories pointing to the greater story of Jesus and God’s love and redemptive work through him. When I look at my life today, I can’t help but see a tangle of all these stories.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in first grade, but I didn’t know I wanted to teach high school until Dangerous Minds. Then, during our junior year, my friend Amy and I served as pages in the Mississippi Senate. It was so fascinating to me that I almost went to MSU as a political science major. (I didn’t get their specific scholarship, so I went in undeclared. Praise God, every credit transferred when I switched to secondary education sophomore year.) I didn’t join the military or the police force or become a lawyer like my favorite leading ladies. I did become a public servant, however, and my years as a teacher irreversibly shaped who I am.

Teaching is a difficult profession for many reasons, and sometimes teachers just need to commiserate with colleagues in the lounge between classes. But in their classrooms with their students, good teachers push everything else aside and respond to what matters: the kids. Occasionally that means they teach a state-sanctioned subject, but more often it also means being a parent, a nurse, a counselor, a confidant, a coach, a judge, a cheerleader, etc. until the most pressing needs are met. (Students do not care about a state English test if they have not eaten since yesterday, just broke up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, and/or have no idea where they will sleep tonight.) In addition to concerns about their own families and themselves, teachers bear the burdens of many of their students. It is an awesome responsibility, and it can wear on you after a while.

In a season 3 episode of Madam Secretary, a policy advisor reads an excerpt from Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” after a particularly tragic day at the office. The last part of it resonated with me during a difficult part of last semester, and I kept the poem open in a browser tab for pretty much the remainder of the school year. The speaker talks about how the world is dark and dangerous, but she keeps that from her children because she’s trying to “sell them the world.” She compares herself to a realtor walking a buyer through a terrible house but trying to point out its good bones: “This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.” Each time I walked into my classroom, I had the opportunity to make it more or less beautiful based on my attitude and actions. It didn’t matter what was going on outside those walls; I was only in control of me. So I did what I could in that classroom until I couldn’t anymore.

Public education has a long way to go, but I believe it’s worth fighting for. So here I am, beginning work on a policy degree. Doing my best to make public education — and my corner of the world — more beautiful, not less.

You are where you are, with your specific gifts, loving the people and things you love for a reason.

This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.

blog signature

 

So, I moved to D.C.

Well, I moved to Virginia…in order to afford to go to school in D.C. (You can’t have everything, people!)

GW cherry blossums

April 2018 – visiting the GW campus

My mom and I visited 7 apartment complexes in about 8 hours back in June, and I brought the first carload of stuff to my new place on July 15th. Mom and Aunt Tina arrived with the completely full U-Haul two days later. We had a whirlwind of a week unloading, unpacking, and decorating, but we squeezed in some sightseeing fun as well.

Capitol

They flew back to MS on Sunday, July 22nd, and I followed in my car later that afternoon. I spent a few days there and then drove to Texas where I lived for two more weeks. I did my best to visit with people all hours of the day and night before loading up my dog and starting the 20-hour drive to Virginia.

Lola Car

This is what Lola does on every car trip.

We’ve been here for a week, and things are going well. I thought I’d start the blog back up so I could write about life in my new city. My previous posts are teaching related, but I’m going to leave them as they are for posterity. 🙂 Feel free to comment or lurk as you feel led!

blog signature