Monday, April 7, 2003

March 22nd - March 23rd: Farewell Washington

Saturday, March 22nd: Ah, breakfast! Finally, we were able to partake of the yummy buffet downstairs, before heading out to DC for a last visit before we fly out on Monday. We drove in around 9 a.m. and it was almost eerie how few cars and people there were around. We wondered if it was just because it was early or were people scared off because of the war with Iraq that had started in the past week?

Ian didn’t even want to come downtown and instead wanted to head over to Old Town Alexandria, but here we were by the Washington Monument with a great parking spot and decided it was early enough to try to get tickets to go up. Just our luck, the ticket booth wasn’t giving out any tickets at that time, and the tickets lines were already an hour behind schedule. Apparently there was a security concern so everyone was just waiting around. Not us! We walked down to the American History museum and stood in that line instead until they opened at 10a.m. We looked at the map, visited a section on submarines, took a moment at the 9/11 exhibit and then Katherine wanted to see an exhibit called the Swamp Rat. Well, we were expecting a giant swamp rat of course. But sadly, it was an old car that had been named.
The cell phone rang while we were wandering and we learned that Jerry and Julie were on the Mall flying a kite for the Kite Flying Festival going on and while we’d planned to meet them at Old Town, this was very convenient. So we met up with them around the same time that Jeff was coming off the metro and we all headed to TGI Fridays (the only restaurant near the mall). Stuffed, we went to Natural History where Katherine really wanted to see the mummies again, but the place was now packed (I guess the early morning emptiness was just that, early morning). It was difficult to find last time, so we just went to the bug zoo, everyone’s favorite except Julie who stayed behind. What is it with her and bugs?! She wouldn’t go in last time we were here either. Sheesh.
With all the talk of squids and squid juice lately, all for Rebecca’s benefit of course, we decided our last stop would be the giant squid in the prehistoric exhibit. We searched and searched past dinosaur bones and the creation of life, but to no avail. The squid is gone? How can that be? The squid has always been there, where is it now? Can anyone tell me?
Oh well, life goes on. We meandered back to the car to hand over our bread machine into Julie’s capable hands, although the direction book and recipe book are somewhere in a box headed to the Pacific ocean. Oops. We said our goodbyes to Jerry and Julie right there next to the Washington Monument. It was rather sad, but at the same time didn’t seem real. Jeff came back with us to the hotel where we ordered some Thai food and stayed to chat for a while. Hopefully he’ll come to visit us in the Philippines, but even so it’ll be at least a year until we see him again. Thank goodness for the internet.
Sunday, March 23rd – This morning we had another good breakfast and this time I didn’t mangle my waffle. We went to church at Saint Michael’s and the choir did one of my favorites. It’s not a particularly cheerful piece as the one of the lines is “Oh Lord, why did you have to die upon the cross”, but that’s what you get for Mass during Lent. After Mass several of the choir folk came down and we were able to chat and say goodbye. Several of them asked when we were off and shocked to find out it’s tomorrow morning. It’s that weird how you can tell people for months that we’re leaving March 24th, but when the date actually arrives, they’re all surprised? Diane and Elena had come back from the Philippines in mid-February and she said that Elena (four months younger than Jonathon) did well other than getting bored near the end. They also did the trip alone and in one shot whereas we’ll be taking a break in Hawaii. Her experience gives me hope that it won’t be totally miserable.
We had a wonderful lunch at grandma and grandpa’s house before my dad was getting ready to fly off to Florida for the week. OK, I cried. This is my dad and I won’t be seeing him for at least a year. That hasn’t happened… EVER, in my life. I’ve been trying to smooth over the whole Leaving part of the trip, mostly for the kids but also for me. I don’t know how badly homesickness will hit once we’re there for a few months, but I can’t imagine it’s going to be very enjoyable. My mom will be meeting us bright and early at the airport to come with us to Hawaii. Before Papa left, he called up the airline to upgrade 3 of our seats for the Chicago to Hawaii leg of the trip. That was all that was available today, so if that’s all we get tomorrow, 3 of us will be flying in style. He has enough miles for all of us, but as of this afternoon, there weren’t enough seats. Cross your fingers.
Coming home, Nicholas wasn’t feeling well and upon reaching the parking garage, lost his lunch. OK then, 3 down, Rebecca to go and we fly out in just over a day. Seems this is an every other day thing, so it doesn’t bode well for our flight to Hawaii.

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