Posts tagged DC
Our first full day in DC turned mostly into a day of relaxation and work catch up. Josh and I got a chance to work a bit on SPINALpedia stuff without being relegated to the phone for the first time in a while. It was nice to have a day to lounge though and be entertained by Josh’s cute 3 year old niece Briana.
By the end of the day though, we were ready to meet up with some of our friends and get out in DC. Katelyn and I met up with my friend Scott (from studying abroad in Beijing in 2005) in his apartment and hung out for a bit.
We ended up driving around downtown for a while and taking some cool night photos of the tourist hot spots, and the absolute bitter cold (the wind has been relentless) forced us to actually run back to the car after not too long because we couldn’t bear it.
We then dropped off Katelyn to hang out with another friend of hers, and I went back with Scott for an early night because he had to work and I actually had an early job interview the next morning. It was another great night for catching up with an old friend though, I’ve felt very lucky for the people that I’ve gotten to reconnect with on this trip.
On Friday morning, I got up earlier than I had in a LONG time to get out to a meeting outside DC in regards to a permanent substitute position for a Chinese teacher in a private middle school for boys. I have been interviewing over the phone for this job intermittently throughout the course of the trip, but was waiting for my arrival to DC to meet all the necessary people and attempt to “seal the deal”. After all the formalities, I found out that I actually got the job and am starting March 11th! I’ll be teaching 4 different sections of 3 levels of beginner Chinese between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I had an awesome day at the school and really loved the atmosphere and the people, and got to observe and interact with some of the Chinese classes. I introduced myself in Chinese to two of the 6th grade sections and it was so cute to see their enthusiasm to learn and their impressions of seeing that their new Chinese replacement is not in fact Chinese. Even watching the class, I felt compelled to want to start teaching. I have had different types of teaching experiences in the last few years, and I love the dynamic of sharing knowledge and getting to see someone else absorb it. I’ll be teaching until the end of the school year and after my day today I feel really excited for it!
After my day at the school, I picked up Katelyn downtown (only getting slightly lost on the way), hung out with her and her friend for a bit before getting back on the road to get back to Pennsylvania and my mom’s house. The last leg of our PA drive stunned both of us with easily over 10 ft high snow drifts along the side of the road— I couldn’t have been happier I missed out on these series of blizzards and hope that they’re all done! We arrived with Nick’s family to celebrate his birthday and had a nice dinner with delicious food. It was great to be reunited with family too, and of course Rylee was excited for a new friend.
Exciting note of the evening: I EMPTIED OUT MY CAR!! Once we got back to mom’s house, I was able to feel the relief of clearing out and organizing the horrendous mess that has become my car. I wasn’t kidding about losing my motivation for keeping any kind of order in my car after the Kansas tire incident (See Day 13- Bad “Car-ma” for the dramatic details), and emptying my car only made that more obvious. This is what my bedroom looked like after bringing in most of everything out of the car:
Mom’s only reaction was shock at how on earth we had fit so much into my little Civic. Now that the car’s nearly empty, I can actually replace my spare tire to its proper location and only pack the essentials for the northeast segment of our trip. I feel like a new woman. Although we’re now treading in familiar territory, Katelyn and I refuse to lose our road trip vibe. It’s not over yet ladies and gentlemen!
We spent the day Tuesday exploring Chicago with recommendations from Helena for the best tourist spots. Despite being cold and windy, the weather actually held out pretty well and so long as we warmed up in stores every once in a while. We took the metro from Helena’s house straight downtown to check out the sites around there.
We checked out Millennium Park, which was awesome, especially the gigantic reflective “bean” (I don’t know if there’s a real name for it). It was an awesome site and great for interesting pictures, as you can see below.
We loved walking around and taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago. The architecture is awesome and the people that we interacted with were really pleasant. One of the most important things on our list of things to do in Chicago was eating real deep dish pizza. We were recommended to Giordano’s and found one in the heart of downtown. We ordered one of the small deep dish pizzas, and it was absolutely delicious. I have never had anything like it.
On Wednesday morning, we started our last long haul from Chicago to DC and it marked our official re-entry to Eastern Standard time and everything east coast. The drive was relatively uneventful, but actually pretty pleasant. Our longer drives are always fun despite being in the car for hours simply because we get the most time to talk about anything we feel like, sing, and usually by the end we get a little slap happy from cabin fever and end up laughing over nothing. Unfortunately, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland really don’t have much to offer in terms of winter scenery.
We arrived at Josh (my partner working on SPINALpedia)’s house in Maryland later in the evening. I had been staying here for a bit before I moved out west to work with Josh on the website. In some ways arriving here last night made me feel for a moment like I never left, unless I stop for a minute and think about the last 3 months of my life and how much has changed. I know it hasn’t been an incredibly long time since I’ve been on the east coast, but I still feel like it’s another world since I was last here. We’ll be in DC Thursday and Friday before heading north Friday afternoon.