In which they turn me loose on Washington D.C.

From Sweet Briar, I landed at Jessica’s apartment in Northern Virginia. For a country girl like me, few places are as horrifying as Northern Virginia. If Hell was established on Earth, it would not be very different from Northern Virginia. However, Jess is one of my favorite people, and is also adorable.

She had to work (she works for the Maunter Project, which is awesome), so I pretty much had the run of the city. I had a Metro pass, so getting around was very easy. I went all over.

I saw the U.S. Capitol, but didn’t attempt to find a tour or anything.

It was impressive!

Then I wandered around the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, which is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, none of my photos were very good. I was trying very hard to pass as a D.C. native, instead of a hated tourist, and for the most part I was pretty good at it, but the camera is kind of a giveaway.

Still, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this sign. I ❤ the United Methodist church!

It’s just a nice counterpoint to people like Westboro Baptist Church–it’s nice to see that some Christians are still advocating love.

I also saw the Postal Museum, and got an H1N1 shot for the Peace Corps, and bought cupcakes from Hello Cupcake, and returned to the Renwick Gallery (which I’d visited earlier in the week), where there is currently a moving exhibit of art from Japanese internment camps during WWII. However, I didn’t photograph any of these activities. OH WELL!

I expect the rest of my vacation to be fairly uneventful, so this will probably be the end of my vacation series. Soon, though, you can look for posts about the Philippines–my departure date is August 19!

In which we remain geeks

Of course, as part of my visit, I had to trek down to Sweet Briar College, my alma mater, and along with my home town in Colorado, one of the places dearest to my heart.

Julia and I walked all around campus and revisited all our old haunts (and ran into some favorite professors). I didn’t take photos of that, though; I have plenty of Sweet Briar photos.

We ended by visiting the Honors Center, where we admired our Honors Theses on the shelf.

I found a fantastic hat.

And we reflected on what geeks we were that hanging out in the Honors Center post-graduation was a delightful good time for us.

After Sweet Briar, we went to dinner with two of our favorite professors, Cathy Gutierrez, and Eric Casey (who is sadly blogless), and fellow alumna Ashley. Cathy is an incredible cook, and prepared a to-die-for Ethiopian spread. Sadly, I did not take photographs, because I have a policy of actually experiencing my life, instead of watching it on an LCD screen.

Cathy and Casey (as they will forever be known to me; somehow I cannot bring myself to say “Eric”) allowed us to sleep there instead of driving back up to D.C. that night. (We were full of food and wine, and it was late.) It was incredibly pleasant; I was provided with perhaps the softest sheets I have ever experienced. A beautiful thing.

After Sweet Briar, Julia handed me over to Jessica, which is where I am staying now. Tomorrow, you get to hear about my D.C. adventures.


Julia took me to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where I boggled at the dead horseshoe crabs.

Colorado is landlocked, so this (fairly routine) sight was interesting and new to me. (The Philippines should be interesting–I’ll be going from a landlocked, semi-arid high desert to a tropical island. Deserts and mountains I can deal with, but I have a healthy respect for (read: irrational fear of) the ocean.)

We also saw a holly tree that was nearly 300 years old. It was impressive.

It made me a little woozy thinking about how that tree had been standing there for nearly three centuries without a break–constantly converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, constantly turning sunlight into energy, constantly living. Trees are very steady. They couldn’t be more different from people.

Afterwards, we visited Annapolis. It was utterly charming. There were boats.

(Again, Colorado. Landlocked.)

We saw Maryland’s capitol:

(Four years of college and I still have to look up which “capitol/capital” variation refers to the building.)

Maryland’s first lady keeps a garden at the capitol. I approve!

Tomorrow: our visit to our alma mater.

When girls play Risk

I am currently out in the Washington D.C. area, visiting my college friends. I was away for a year, and I missed them mightily, so it’s really wonderful to get to see them a bit before I head out for Parts Unknown.

I started my trip in Maryland, staying with Julia. She’s camera-averse, which is very troublesome for me, but here is friend Liz, who took the train down from Philadelphia for the weekend. We had a going-away party for me and for Julia, who is leaving for graduate school soon.

But before the party, we had to get in the requisite Youtube-watching.

(Is Liz adorable or what?)

And we played the girliest game of Risk EVER. Halfway through, we had evenly divided up the map between the three of us. (I held North and South America, Liz had Europe and Africa, and Julia had Australia and most of Asia.)

And we decided it really wouldn’t make much sense to keep playing. I mean, think about it–if you’ve got a comfortable hold on the Americas, you’d have to be pretty stupid to invade Asia. EVERYONE knows not to invade Asia! (Insert your own Princess Bride reference here.) Here is our board when we finished:

(From Twitter: @the_metaskeptic: “@middlemuse Re: Girliest Risk Game. …UR DOIN’ IT SO WRONG ;_____;” Guys just Don’t Get It. That’s why it’s always men who invade Asia and fail horribly.)

I couldn’t take photos of Julia, because I don’t like being too much of a pest (sad face!), but I did get a few of her cat.

You wouldn’t know it from the pensive pose, but she’s planning my destruction.

There was also Spike, who was terribly, terribly timid, and completely stole my heart.

Tomorrow: Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Annapolis.