Sunday, January 4, 2015

Washington D.C.: A Day Trip to the Nation's Capitol

What's my new year's resolution? Keep the blog updated! I just got back from Christmas vacation and I'm ready to start the year on a good note.

Back in November, I took a day trip along with my three suite mates and other floor mates to Washington D.C. Our Resident Assistant (RA) had been planning the free trip for a while so we decided to tag along. The ten of us hopped into a van and spent the day exploring museums and monuments. D.C. is one of my favorite cities, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to go back. Here's a rundown of the trip:

6:00 AM

Our RA told us to meet early in the morning so we could have more time during the day to explore the city. After tumbling out of bed and packing at the last minute, we set off in the van towards DC. The trip was a four hour drive, but I never mind long travel (after all, I do travel between Pittsburgh and Hong Kong two times a year!). We played taboo and listened to music to try and eliminate boredom.

10:00 AM

After a four hour drive and a brief pit stop at a gas station off the highway, we finally arrived in D.C. None of us had really formed a plan as to what we would be doing for the day, but our RA said he was going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, so we decided to accompany him. I've been to D.C. many times, but I hadn't been to Air and Space for years, so I thought it would be beneficial to go back. Of course, we had to stop and get a picture with the Washington Monument!

Posing in front of the Washington Memorial.

Air and Space was really cool! I inherited the habit of reading every thing in the exhibits from my Dad, who has fascination in history, so I learned quite a bit about the technology and history of flying. My Dad also has an interest in airplanes so I thought about him as I went through the museum. 

The Air and Space Museum's ground floor. 

The Wright Brothers' plane.

2:00 PM

After we left the museum, we realized how hungry we were and bought boxes of Greek food from some food trucks nearby. I decided to split from the group because I was determined to go to my favorite museum: The Newseum. It is a museum that is dedicated to journalistic integrity and freedom of press. As I am an aspiring journalist, the Newseum has always been my personal heaven. So, I left the group and spent a few hours there wandering through the exhibits. A complete coincidence, I happened to visit the museum on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so there were special exhibits and lectures. I sat in on an interview between a Newseum employee and Barrie Dunsmore, a former reporter for ABC news, who was reporting the day the Berlin Wall fell. The interview was very interesting and I loved hearing him talk about his experiences as a reporter.

An outside view of the Newseum.

An original section of the Berlin Wall.

A Newseum employee interviewing a former ABC reporter.

Standing on the balcony of the Newseum. 

Remnants of the 9/11 tragedy.

4:30 PM

The Newseum closed at 5:00 and I was supposed to meet up with the rest of the group at the Washington Monument at 6:00, so I left the museum and took a long walk from the Newseum to the Lincoln Memorial. You can't leave Washington D.C. without saying "hello" to Honest Abe! The walk was quite long so I was tired when I finished, but it was definitely worth it. On my walk I saw the World War II Memorial, the Reflection Pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. 

The World War II Memorial. 

The Lincoln Memorial, as seen from the Reflection Pool.

Honest Abe.

Statues of soldiers near the Vietnam War Memorial.

6:00 PM

I met up with my friends at the Washington Monument and we talked about how we'd spent the day. While we waited for the rest of the group to show up, I looked out to the city and couldn't help but feel patriotic. Sure, there are many things the U.S. needs to work on, but in that moment, I only thought about the positive things and how grateful I was to be standing in the nation's capitol. 

Meandering through the museums and memorials, I learned a lot about the history and accomplishments that make up the U.S. and I am so glad to have decided to go on the trip. Splitting form the group allowed me to take charge and make my own plans. Sometimes it's good to get away from everyone else and think for yourself, especially in your favorite city. 

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