1. I spent this past weekend in D.C. for my cousin’s wedding. Being there for a wedding obviously added a bit of a wrinkle to the usual sightseeing extravaganza that is visiting Washington, D.C., but I still got a few good stops in while I was there, starting with lunch on Thursday at Ted’s Bulletin.
I came down with one heck of a cold last Monday and was still feeling awfully lousy by the time I got to D.C. on Thursday, so a s’mores milkshake with a side of grilled cheese and tomato soup definitely hit the spot. I didn’t feel up to any additional sightseeing on Thursday, so that took up Friday, Saturday, and Sunday instead.
I spent most of Friday at the Library of Congress, looking at a bunch of old maps in the Geography and Map Reading Room in the Madison Building (nerd alert 😛 ). I did eventually make it across the street to the Jefferson Building as well, though time there was limited.
Being the Hamilton fan that I (and everyone else) am, I particularly enjoyed the exhibit on Thomas Jefferson’s library. It was awesome to see a bunch of books he used to own! I tried very hard to find the Reynolds Pamphlet in his pamphlet section, but to no avail. I don’t know that he actually even had a copy of the Reynolds Pamphlet in his library, but if he had, I would’ve had quite the geek-out moment haha.
Saturday brought a trip to the National Zoo. I’ve been a couple times before, but this was the first time that I had nearly all day to spend at the zoo. I saw good number of the exhibits, and particularly enjoyed the pandas:
the orangutans, especially the eight month old baby orangutan, who you can kind of see in this picture (the first baby orangutan at the National Zoo in 25 years!):
the raven, who was subjected to my quoting Edgar Allan Poe and my instance on saying, “SQUAWK! NEVERMORE!” every time the poor bird let out a call:
and the unexpected but exceedingly delightful surprise that it was, apparently, International Migratory Bird Day, and the exhibits that resulted due to the occasion, particularly the bird banding one, which allowed me to get up close to a catbird:
This almost made up for the fact that the Bird House itself has been closed since January and won’t reopen until 2020 *sobs*.
Then on Sunday, after all the wedding festivities had ended, I, at long last, fulfilled my dream of attending church at the National Cathedral.
The service was a little different than I anticipated, though still nice, and I enjoyed wandering around the sanctuary afterwards to take in the sights. I haven’t been to the National Cathedral since my first visit to D.C. in the early 2000s (2004, I believe?) and really enjoyed visiting it again.
Plus, they happened to have a bunch of flower displays made by different embassies that weekend, which I found exceedingly cool.
2. Because I was in D.C. for a family wedding, obviously a lot of my family (and my cousin’s fiance’s family) was in town as well. Instead of spreading ourselves out among dozens of hotel rooms, my aunt rented us a house for the weekend. We lived at the Uptown House from Thursday until Sunday, and it was so beautiful!
The house was built in 1908, and my history-loving self could not get enough, that’s for sure. I don’t know how much the house has changed since its construction nearly 110 years ago (I can’t imagine it was built with 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, but who knows?), but whatever sort of changes or restoration had happened were done thoughtfully and respectfully, with an abundance of antiques (including furniture) throughout the home.
The one drawback–and this was definitely a fairly major drawback, at least from a tourism standpoint–was that the house was so far away from everything. It’s on 14th Street, which means it’s easy to get places (like 14th and U Street, or the Mall), but being SO far north, it certainly wasn’t fast to get anywhere. There were three bus lines that stopped right outside the house, but the closest Metro train stop was over a mile away, and buses, much like Ubers, Lyfts, or cabs, get stuck in traffic, of which there is PLENTY on 14th Street. That was definitely a bit of a bummer, because it took forever to get anywhere, and there really wasn’t any sightseeing to do in the house’s area. On the other hand, it allowed me to see a part of D.C. I probably never would’ve seen otherwise, so that was kind of cool.
3. I flew home out of Reagan on Sunday afternoon, and the absolute craziest thing of my life happened–even crazier than having a yellow-bellied sapsucker fall out of the sky and land on my purse.
First, some backstory. In a previous life, I lived and breathed American Idol, and, more specifically, American Juniors (a spinoff of American Idol). This is not the time to document my all-encompassing obsession with that show, but you should know that my obsession with the show prompted me to join an online forum dedicated to American Idol and its many, many spinoffs. I joined in 2004 (8th grade) and actively used the site probably until 2012 or so. I’m not kidding when I say that that forum got me through high school. It was my first experience making online friends, and I found it infinitely easier to connect with people over the internet than it was to connect with the 110 other people in my high school class, nearly all of which I had known since sixth grade, if not kindergarten. I felt free to be myself on that site, and made several good friends as a result.
Finding my flight’s gate on Sunday proved to be a small struggle, which led to me being in front of the departures sign in terminal B, trying to figure out where to go. After realizing the departures TV screen was displaying information from the morning of May 4–it was, at the time, May 7, so that information was clearly irrelevant–I walked away and passed a couple. I saw the girl, and thought, “Oh my gosh, I think that’s Annie from IdolForums.” Now, mind you, I have never met Annie in real life. She lives in California, and though we’re Facebook friends, I haven’t regularly communicated with her (or most people from IdolForums, for that matter) since 2012 at BEST, but really more like 2009 or 2010. I’ve lived long enough to know that lots of people have doppelgangers, so I figured it wasn’t Annie and moved on.
Well, the Annie lookalike and her boyfriend stopped at the departures sign as well, and I happened to see the luggage tag on the Annie lookalike’s backpack, which had Annie’s name on it, thus confirming that it was not at all a lookalike, but in fact this girl who I had known through a website for well over 10 years. I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around.
“I’m sorry, I just had to say something,” I said. “I’m Bethany? From IdolForums?”
“OH MY GOD. I thought it was you!!” Annie responded.
This was, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the most insane coincidence that has ever, ever, EVER happened to me. I had no idea Annie was in D.C. that weekend. I really only follow my family and a few select friends on Facebook, so even though I’m Facebook friends with her, nothing of hers shows up in my newsfeed, but it turns out she was in D.C. for a wedding just like I was in D.C. for a wedding, and we both just happened to be at the exact same airport at the exact same time for completely different flights on different airlines to totally different parts of the country.
I still can’t believe it happened, to be honest. I mean, the chances of something like this happening seem even smaller than the chances of a yellow-bellied sapsucker hitting a window RIGHT as I happened to be walking under it, you know? We chatted for a few minutes, mostly about how this was the most insane thing that had ever ever ever happened, before heading off to our separate flights. But man, let me tell you, that was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend.
What’s your favorite thing to do or see in D.C.?
Have you ever met internet friends in real life? Totally by accident in an airport or otherwise? Haha. I met another girl from that website when I went to Scotland in 2011. Actually, if I’m being honest, her living there was a huge part of the reason why I went to Scotland in the first place. She was definitely my best friend in high school, even though she lived on the other side of the Atlantic, and meeting her in real life was a really, really awesome moment.