Washington D.C. Part Uno!

Okay y’all, I am back from the East Coast and while it’s always hard to get back to normal life after vacation, I have an apartment to pack up and I can’t say that I miss the humidity all that much. We were in D.C. for a week so I am going to break up the trip into two posts. The first couple of days were full of wedding activities and then we spent the rest of the week in complete tourist mode. Ask our feet; they’ll agree. Warning: picture overload may happen…

DAY ONE! // Our flight left LAX at 7am so our day started pretty early. We landed around 3pm (Eastern time) and went straight to the hotel to relax for a bit before we headed to Becca’s (Tammy’s fiance at the time and now wife) parent’s house. Dinner was yummy and it was good to see everyone again.

DAY TWO! // Michael had to work the night before so while he was sleeping in, I decided to walk around. Our hotel was near Dupont Circle and all the embassies so it was the perfect area to explore. I’ve been to D.C. twice, with the last time being about 16 years ago, so I didn’t remember much but one thing I loved this time was all the neighborhoods (and the city is SUPER CLEAN! LA, please take note). The Embassy of Zambia was at the very top of my priority list and I got to see dozens of others while on my walk to find it. I also passed by The Woodrow Wilson House. We had the wedding rehearsal that afternoon followed by dinner at evening. Michael and I definitely got the D.C. tour when we went to two wrong restaurants (but with the same name!) before we found the correct location. We were a little late… but it was all a-okay. It was fun meeting everyone who was in town for the wedding and talking with Michael’s relatives who I had yet to meet. The White House was just across the street from the restaurant so Michael and I snuck away for a few minutes to go get a peek.

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I loved all the colorful doors!

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Embassy of the Netherlands

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Embassy of Zambia 🙂

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The Woodrow Wilson House

DAY THREE! // Wedding day! We took it easy in the morning with the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market and lunch. We got ready and headed over to the venue for pictures– the venue was beautiful on it’s own, but insert the flowers and other decor? Even more beautiful! Michael will hate me sharing this (sorry!) but at one point he had to walk away while Tammy and Becca were taking pictures because he was tearing up. He was definitely proud of his sister. The ceremony was beautiful. I’ve never attended a Jewish wedding and there were lots of traditions I was introduced to. I was really happy to be able to FaceTime with Michael’s grandma in Arizona who wasn’t able to be at the wedding– three time zones away, she got to see her granddaughter get married! The rest of the evening went by quickly with the reception, dinner, and dancing. The food was great, the music was fun, and the company of Tammy and Becca’s guests was even better. I’m really thankful I was able to be there.

DAY FOUR! // We started Monday off with brunch as a bookend to the wedding festivities and spent the rest of the day getting lots of steps in by walking to the National Mall and exploring some museums. I can’t tell you how easy the city is to navigate… last time I visited, I wasn’t the one who needed to figure out directions AND Google Maps did not exist. How people got around cities before Google Maps is beyond me! Anyways, our first museum stop was the Air and Space Museum followed by the National Gallery of Art (not for me… I cannot appreciate art). We walked over to the Washington Monument. The humidity truly takes it out of you. We ended up taking an Uber back to the hotel and relaxed until dinner.

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I love all things space!

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The National Gallery of Art

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I did like seeing this Monet…

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National Archives

You made it through the first four days! I’ll be posting the second half of our trip later this week.

Passport Stamps

In preparation for my cruise next week, I needed a new passport. Mine expired in 2013 and sadly, I’ve had no reason to renew it in the las couple of years. I am actually going to just be using my birth certificate and driver’s license (and also bringing a print-out of the policy so if they give me any trouble, I’m not stuck on the boat…) but had fun going through my stamps. Here are the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit:

Costa Rica (2003): This trip was the reason why I needed my passport! I went to Costa Rica imagesbetween my sophomore and junior year of high school. It was one of those EF tours organized by my biology teacher, with about 15 students from school. The trip was so long ago that I don’t remember most of it but the highlight was definitely zip lining through the rainforest and white water rafting. I haven’t been rafting since, but loved it so much! Our guide intentionally tipped the raft and while I still don’t forgive him for that, I survived!

Mexico (2005): When I say Mexico, you’re picturing the beaches of Cancun or Cabo but the only Mexico I’ve seen so far is Tijuana. I went in 2005 with my church, just for the day, to help build a home for a family. Tijuana was one of the saddest places I’ve seen.

Unknown-4Canada (2006): And when I say Canada, you’re picturing Vancouver or Toronto. Freshman year
of college, a few of my friends and I went to Nelson, a tiny little city north of Spokane, only about 2 hours across the boarder.

 

 

Zambia (2008): I spent about four weeks in Zambezi, Zambia with my college’s leadership program. We engaged in servant leadership with the community, starting different programs from computer literary, health, and teaching. I taught 9th grade English and Geography at the Unknown-1local basic school. I would walk to the school, about half a mile maybe, every morning for classes and walk back after and help with the literacy program we were also running. Adults would walk for miles, one way, to come spend their afternoons with us. This was the first year of the program, and since then, it has grown immensely and I’m really proud of the work Gonzaga continues to do there. While here, too, we got to go on a safari (it has nothing on the Wild Animal Park) and explore Victoria Falls.

London (2008): Okay, this BARELY counts but I do have a stamp so I’m calling it good. We Unknown-2stopped in London for a short 24 hours (maybe less) on our way back from Zambia. I don’t actually remember what we did but I think we walked around and saw the big sights?

Zambia (2010): I spent another four weeks in Zambia (this time in Monze), working with pre-service teachers. We lived on campus with the students and observed them in their student teaching positions, led professional development with the facility, started a library/literacy center, etc. I am not sure what the status of the program is now as it was also the first year that Gonzaga’s School of Education sent teachers. We had plenty of time to explore including my favorite place again, Victoria Falls.

Unknown-3Botswana (2010): I went on an over-night safari in Botswana. We were only there for a short 24 hours but I did get a stamp so it totally counts!

London (2010): Again, I got to hang out in London on the way back from Zambia (also stopping in Johannesburg– no stamp because we didn’t leave the airport). We had our bags with us but took the tube in to central London and walked around the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and had lunch in Piccadilly Circus (where we saw Usher).

And that’s it for my international travels! I have a super long list of where I want to go eventually. Traveling is expensive and unfortunately my teacher salary doesn’t allow me to travel as much as I’d like but I’m still young. Still plenty of time to see the world!