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!

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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.

 

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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,

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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! 🙂

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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,

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Transportation Fun

I have now successfully walked, driven, Ubered, and taken both the metro train and bus in my short time here.

Metro station

waiting for the train after church

By far, the most entertaining of these has been Uber. I first used Uber on a solo trip to NYC in 2016 and have nearly always had a good experience. My Uber trips in D.C., though…those take the cake!

Thanks to my generous friend, Gloria, I started my time in D.C. with an Uber gift card. Wanting to make the most of it, I’ve used either the “pool” or “express pool” option each time. For those of you who don’t use Uber, let me explain. If you want a taxi-style experience, you choose the UberX option; it costs the most, but you’re the only rider, and the ride goes from your pick-up point straight to your drop-off point. I’m cheap and don’t mind carpooling, so I don’t use this option unless I have friends with me who are splitting the cost anyway. If you’re willing to carpool and your time is flexible within ten minutes or so, you can choose to pool; it costs less, but you’ll have to pick up/drop off other riders. If you’re cheap frugal, don’t mind walking a block or two, and your time is flexible, the express pool is your friend. You won’t get a ride door-to-door, but you can save a chunk of change.

I unapologetically fall into that last category, and it is the root of my fun Uber experiences — all of which have reminded me how little people actually read. My first non-reading Uber-mate didn’t understand why our driver needed to drop him at the corner. He just kept pointing across the street and saying, “But I need to go there!” The driver was super patient, gave a short explanation of the express pool rules, etc. When the guy still seemed baffled, our driver finally said, “Look, I have to turn left at this light. You have to get out!” (We needed to cross three lanes of traffic to make this turn. We were sitting AT the intersection already. BUT HE MADE THAT LEFT TURN LIKE A CHAMP.) My second non-reading Uber-mate was a bit more dramatic. Our driver had picked him up first and then stopped for me. We went just a few blocks before Uber sent her one more rider, and this meant turning around and going back to very near my pickup point. #2 in the back was not having it. He kept pointing to the exit on our right and saying, “But I just need to go that direction. Right now!” (We were stuck in a long line of cars at a red light.) The driver on this day was less patient, so she immediately jumped to a very weary, “Sir, this is EXPRESS POOL. We have to pick up other people. This is what you get when you pay less!” (Meanwhile, I’m trying not to laugh in the front seat.) He grumbled a bit until traffic started moving again. We make the turn at the light and immediately get stopped at the next one. #2: “I’m sorry. I have to go!” That joker hopped out of the car and crossed several lanes of stopped traffic to get to safety where I guess he figured out another means of transport. Unfortunately, he didn’t close the door all the way, so our driver frantically asked me to. Somehow I managed to get my right arm twisted around my seat enough to open it far enough to let it slam closed, and the Uber lady and I had a nice chat — and a bit of a laugh — on our way to pick up the next rider.

Non-reader number three is my favorite. He was in the front seat when they picked me up for church on Sunday, so I sat in the back. He almost immediately got a phone call which he took in a foreign language except for repeated use of the word “bus.” In English, he asked the driver how long until he got dropped off. Our driver told him five minutes, but he got back on his phone and told his family member it would be just two more minutes. (Lies.) #3 stayed on the phone long enough to hear that the bus was leaving without him. He asked our driver if we could catch it. Along for the ride, I chimed in with “I can be a little late!” (There was no way I was missing a bus chase!) We could see the bus leaving the Lincoln Memorial and legit tried to catch it — very thrilling, I must say, but the stoplights were not on our side. The bus’s next stop was at “a harbor,” but neither the Uber driver nor I knew where this was. Cue #3 “negotiating” with our Uber driver in their shared language. In English, the driver let him know that I had to be dropped off and that he could either get another Uber or travel with me and be delivered to his new destination later. #3 switched back to English, thanked me for letting them try to catch the bus, and then got out at the next stop sign. (He at least managed to shut the door correctly, unlike #2). For the rest of the way to church, my driver filled me in on what happened. It turns out #3 had already been in the car for nearly an hour when they picked me up. The poor guy and his family got all the way to Union Station before realizing they’d left their passports at their hotel near Tyson’s Corner (30 minutes away); he Ubered there to search for them with the hotel’s maintenance staff. He and our driver were on their way back when Uber booked my ride; because it was the pool option, the driver was obligated to pick me up. #3 was peeved but took it in stride. Until he missed his bus. Then he tried to get our driver to tell me to get out and just take him to the harbor. And that’s when our driver switched back to English and politely explained Uber’s rules and made it clear that I wouldn’t be getting out yet. Poor #3. I sincerely hope he caught up with his family at the next stop and didn’t miss his whole tour!

Reading is important, people.

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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!

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