Monday, May 6, 2013

DC (A Non-Running Post)

I have spent the past weekend trying to squeeze in as much sleep as humanly possible, and it still doesn't seem like enough.

The trip began at 2am May 1, when I met the charter bus at school to check in students for our trip to the airport. 52 14-year-olds, five chaperones, three days of non-stop site-seeing. I think my exhaustion is pretty self-explanatory.

We got to DC around 9am and immediately began touring the city. This is the second time I've chaperoned this trip. It's a blast, but I'm not exaggerating when I say we're up and moving from 7am until after 10pm every day. Here are some of the things we saw in our three-day-two-night visit.

Day One:

Mt. Vernon - George Washington's house, complete with his original furnishings (including the bed he died in).
Museum of Natural History...This is a whale's baleen. Clearly this could kill you.
Natural History Museum...Great White Shark jaw anyone?

My favorite presidential memorial, FDR's, is chock-full of symbolism and meaningful quotations.
Day 2:

Arlington Cemetery - always my favorite place to visit.
Arlington again.
 (I seriously think Arlington is the happiest cemetery. Those laid to rest here are never forgotten and constantly visited; the history of the cemetery is just creepy enough to be riveting without being gross, and there's just something very moving in knowing that the men and women buried here dedicated their lives to a cause they believed in. Over all, it's not a bad place to be.)

The Library of Congress - seeing the Gutenberg Bible was so cool, and the architecture is fantastic!
The Capitol Building.
The US Holocaust Museum is built to be reminiscent of a concentration camp. Truly moving.
The Lincoln Memorial.
The Korean War Memorial.
The Vietnam War Memorial - seeing all these names never fails to choke me up.
The WWII Memorial
The Washington Memorial
The kids got a chance to have dinner and play games at Dave & Buster's after this, and then our final day began.

Day 3:

The White House
Ford's Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot. We also saw Peterson House, where he died.
The MLK Memorial. Another favorite, full of poignant symbolism and moving quotations.
And the Sept. 11 Pentagon Memorial.
(As I said on the original picture post on Instagram, this was the first time I'd seen this memorial, and it may be my new favorite. It's really harsh and gritty, but with elements of serenity and beauty. I think it's a great dedication to those who lost their lives. It's not nearly as sterile as so many of the other memorials are.)

We went from Day 3 directly to the airport, then took the charter bus back to school. We arrived at 2am Saturday, and after twelve hours of sleep, I drove up to visit Britt, who had finally given birth to little Kaya. Both mommy and baby are doing well.

Such a snuggle-bear!
From what my fellow teachers said today, none of us feel very caught up on sleep, and we're already drowning in end-of-year preparations. I think I have approximately a million things to grade (no exaggeration), and the kids still have their research papers, presentations, and finals to take.

May is steamrolling ahead whether I get my feet under me or not. I can't even feel bad about not running in DC, although I brought my clothes, because I was just too physically exhausted to get myself to the hotel's fitness center (as luxurious as it was).

On a final note about the trip, I have to say that it's incredibly rewarding to see the students' appreciation for history, government, and sacrifice grow. They come away from the trip changed, even those who aren't "model" students; it's a trip that I wish all the students could afford to take. 

If you've never been...if you have kids and they've never been...go. No matter how many times I visit, something new strikes me, and I come away different than I was before.

And on that note...end of the year, bring it on...full steam ahead!



  1. what great pics! Ahhh end of the year! I miss that craziness. It's a blur, but still seems to take FOREVER!

    1. What grade did you teach?

      And you're right, it's like being in a black hole...time speeds up and slows down at once!

  2. I went to DC twice as a kid and then for several days on my way back from Bosnia in 2010 and every visit has always been awesome. it's weird going back to places as an adult and seeing them differently! props to you for being one of the chaperones!

    1. It's definitely cool how much it changes year to year. The first time I went was on my 8th grade class trip, and it's cool to see the new monuments being built and to actually care about some of the history that I didn't care about back then.

  3. Thanks for the photos. Wow, it's probably been nearly twenty years since I was in the city proper, and I never went to all the memorials. I know I wouldn't have been interested in them then, but now... We do want to plan a trip someday but will wait until the kids are old enough to appreciate at least some of it.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics :o)

      It's pretty amazing how DC has something new to offer each time I go. When I first went in 8th grade, many of the governmental aspects were boring to me (the Capitol, Supreme Court, etc), but as I get older, I get a lot more out of different things each time I go. I'm glad you're planning to take the kids when they're ready for it.