I just got back from Washington DC this week. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday there thanks to Carey and Niles, Joe's sister and brother-in-law. They moved to DC about 2 years ago. Neither of us had been there since our respective 8th Grade field trips. I'd like to say I remember a lot from that trip...and I do remember some things. I remember seeing the Lincoln Memorial at night, I remember being disappointed by how far away the White House was from the gate. I remember seeing the original ruby slippers at the Smithsonian. But I also remember listening to Backstreet Boys on my discman while pining for Kevin W, the boy I liked who wasn't on the trip. And I remember Emily H and I spending all our parent's money on Beanie Babies, which we named after our 8th grade science teacher. MONEY WELL SPENT.
So this time around was really interesting, having personal tour guides in Carey and Niles, and without all the pining because the boy I liked was sitting right next to me (Sigh, being an adult is awesome sometimes.) One of the biggest highlights of the trip was going into the White House. OH YES WE DID.
QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME!
Question: Did you meet the President?
Answer: No. Despite all my dreams of shaking his hand and making him laugh with an uproarious joke I would make up on the fly, I did not see him. I guess he was there somewhere, though, because it was the day he pardoned the turkey.
Question: Well did you at least meet anyone famous and/or important?
Answer: DID WE EVER! We met Bo!
Question: ...Do you mean Boo, the poofy pomeranian?
Question: Wait, who's Bo?
Answer: Bo! Bo! The President's dog, Bo! The First Woof! Bo!
Question: Go on.
Answer: Well, right when we got inside the East Wing, about 4 amiable security guards pulled our group aside and wouldn't tell us why. Of course we're all racking our brains for what in our murky pasts has caused the hold up, while some guy walks around with a device that tests the amount of radiation coming off you (weird). Finally they took some old lady away. I wanted it to be a whole thing where it turns out she's got a criminal record, but I guess it was just because she had a pacemaker. BUT! While we were being detained, in strolled Bo and his dog walker! Carey nearly fainted. He bounded up the stairs and out of sight, and we weren't allowed to take photos in the White House, so there is no proof. But I swear it happened.
Question: What else did you see in the White House?
Answer: You don't really get to see too much of the place. Definitely none of the private residence of course, none of the West Wing or the Oval Office or any kinds of offices. You really just see the rooms where they host guests. You can peek your head into the China room (dishes, not the country) and walk up to the red, green, and blue room. And you see the East Room, which is the biggest room in the White House, and which looks down the hall that the President walks when he makes big announcements.
Question: That's pretty cool.
Answer: I know, right?
OVERALL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CITY OF WASHINGTON DC
1. No building can be taller than the Washington Monument, so the tallest "skyscrapers" are only about 12 stories. But since they still need the space, companies just build out. Meaning DC is filled with these stone and brick buildings that take up the entire city block. It all makes the city look so...so...sturdy.
2. The city has all these rules you would never know unless someone told you. For example, the statue on top of the Capitol Building represents freedom, and she faces east so the sun never sets on the face of freedom. That kind of thing. Why are lawmakers/historians/architects/artists so into this? I don't know. It makes for good tours, though.
3. DC has laws about never changing the colonial facade of buildings. But since you can do whatever you want behind the facade, these enormous buildings just use the front to look like colonial houses, and behind the entire row is just one giant, cement building.
We didn't really tour very much, at Joe's and my request. We spent the time doing more low-key, family things, like eating at fun restaurants, making Thanksgiving dinner (I contributed a few things including our candied yams which were all eaten ATHANKYOU), watching football games, drinking. Carey does a great job of decorating their apartment, and DC gets into Christmas pretty quickly, so it all felt very festive. And good god, the smells. THE SMELLS.
OH! And we also saw the Muppet movie. My non-spoiler thoughts: It was fun. I loved the callbacks to classic Muppets instead of current iterations. But they tried to pack in too much--too many story lines, which never gave any of them justice and made most of them fall flat. Also, Future Husband John Krasinski only made a fleeting appearance and I don't understand what would have been so wrong with giving him a leading role. BUT! The cameo by this guy was....*kisses fingertips* molto bene.
This was my first time coming "home" to San Francisco. Which was a bit strange. It wasn't really coming home, it was more like coming back to my stuff. My pillow, my TV. And I guess my stuff is part of what makes a place feel like home. But I've come to learn that the saying is true: home is where the heart is. What's funny about that is, my heart is in a few places. I feel at home when I'm with the people I love. And those people are in a lot of places. So yes, San Francisco is home. And so is Chicago. And so is DC....and on and on.
I imagine home is a little bit of everywhere, as long as someone you love is there.