Seeing Alexander and his wife Becky was the highlight of my Saturday night–we had dinner in old town Alexandria, and caught up on the last five years. Alex was my roommate my freshman year of college, and Becky was on our “sister” wing. (kind of like a sorority, but less insane).
On the way back to the hotel, Alex and I left the country. Seriously. Alex is from Estonia–a small country in north-eastern Europe–and we left the US and went to Estonia for about 30 minutes. How, you ask? Well, Washington DC is where all of the foreign embassy buildings are, so we went to the Estonian embassy. Technically speaking, when you enter a foreign embassy you are no longer considered to be on American soil. Just like when you visit the American embassy in, say, Mexico city, you are technically on American property.
So for half an hour, I left the country without even leaving Washington DC! Estonia was very nice, thank you, and all three of the Estonians I met (besides Alex) were friendly and welcoming.
Sunday, after sitting through a few sessions about ninth graders and their strange ways, I went with a group of teachers to the Smithsonian musem. Which is actually five or six different museums in different buildings–my favorite was the Air and Space museum. Mr. Hayes (math teacher) and I signed up for a ride in an F-18 jet flight simulator. I think I made Mr. Hayes sick, because when you take the simulator upside down, you REALLY go upside down and are hanging on by your seatbelt. I took us upside down quite a bit. Actually, once we got upside down, I mostly stayed that way, and just flew around blowing things up. It was easier to see the ground that way.
Later that night, we (all of the Sunset teachers) took a boat down the Potomac river to “see the sights.” It was quite relaxing, after a day of walking all over the place.
That brings me to Monday–after checking out of the hotel, we’ve spent most of the day here in the airport, since our flight is delayed (surprised, anyone?).
This weekend has been relaxing and inspirational for me, although I dare say both came more from the people and places I visited here in DC than from the conference I attended. For a brief moment, I fell in love with the paradoxes of this city–its juxtaposition of pristine, white marble with rolling green hills, of busy city sounds with pensive, tranquil memorials. Even the people–passionately debating politics one moment, and the next enjoying a laid back afternoon outside a cafe, reading a book. Strangely somehow, I think I understand this city: Its contradicitons match those deep within my own heart and soul.
Needless to say, I’m glad I came. And yet, for all that, it will be good to be home again.