Friday, June 28, 2013

#2 - Virginia

I'm going to say it's safe to assume that the second state I ever visited was Virginia. If it wasn't, let's just pretend so.

One of my first memories is of my Aunt Joan and Uncle Dave's apartment in Virginia Beach. He was in the Navy at the time and before he left, or maybe when he got back, my family went to go and have dinner on the ship that he was leaving on for Operation Desert Storm. One of the guys offered me bug juice to have with my dinner and I completely freaked out until my uncle explained to me that it was just fruit punch. My dad and brothers got to go in the cockpit of one of the planes and wear a pilot's helmet. While my uncle was gone, my mom took my brothers and I to visit my aunt and keep her company. He brought us back pretty cool presents. There's an epitome of the 90s picture somewhere of the three of us with our gifts. I'll try to find it for you guys.

They also lived in Ashburn, VA and that house holds a lot of memories. We used to play football like we were the Kennedys. Apparently a story goes that my brother slammed my uncle into the side of the house one time. We haven't played much football since that incident. We switched to playing soccer, but my youngest cousin is extra fragile and has injured/broken one too many things in her body because of the games. We haven't played a family game since my 21st birthday. The youngest sat out that one and the game ended with my other female cousin throwing her flip-flops at my brother. None of us will be quitting our day jobs to play sports anytime soon.

Currently, my aunt and uncle live all the way down in Fredericksburg. I visited a few summers ago when I was between jobs and got to go to Lake Anna which is beautiful. Once my beautiful cousin graduates college, they will probably move again (my aunt blames the Navy for not staying in one place even though my uncle has been out for a while). I really hope they move closer to MD. They're just too far away for my liking right now. Fredericksburg has some pretty yummy restaurants though. It's such a cute small town despite having a college in it. William & Mary seems to respect the coziness of what Fredericksburg has to offer and I really liked that. Granted, I visited when school was out, so it might be a rowdy mess during the school year.

Some other favorite memories from VA include seeing my favorite musician at a coffee house after I drove the wrong way on the Capitol Beltway and ended up driving the entire loop just to get to my destination. I spent my 19th birthday at then what was called Nissan Pavilion to see Mat Kearney, John Mayer, and Sheryl Crow. I've shopped the outlets in Williamsburg and rumor has it I went to Busch Gardens when I was a wee one. I've also been to Kings Dominion several times. I went once in high school with friends from youth group to go to Fright Fest. I somehow ended up at the end of the group and went right on the defense against the actors so that I wouldn't get scared. We got to a girl who was pretend slitting her wrists and I told her that Jesus loved her and life wasn't that bad. It really drove the actors insane that they weren't scaring me, but I had a great time laughing through the whole thing.

I don't spend too much time in Virginia even though it's not that far from me. I'm usually there for family functions and while I love my family and sometimes think we should pitch a TV show idea from our shenanigans, I know that most people won't find my family as entertaining as I do. This is also another one of those states that wasn't a one hit visit so putting together an album of pictures will be a little difficult. Check back though, I have some quiet and free time coming up so I might just endeavor to create an album.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

#1a - Washington, DC - Part 2

Labor Day weekend 2007.

That weekend was also known as the weekend I turned 20. I had just finished my last summer at YCamp, started my junior year of college, and had moved in with a new roommate, Emily. I tossed around the idea of visiting the monuments in DC for a while. I had the opportunity several years prior to tour the World War II Memorial before its official opening to the public because of the job my dad had at the time. That trip reawakened my desire to truly tour the monuments that I lived within an hour of my entire life. I got a few friends together, we drove to the closest Metro station, and made our way down to DC.

We stopped at a few monuments and took the traditional pictures. I stood where Martin Luther King, Jr. stood and let myself dream of what it must have been like for him to stand on that spot and deliver the speech for which he would forever be remembered and would inspire millions of people. I stood in awe of the size of Abraham Lincoln and thought of how what he fought for would resonate in MLK's speech. It was humbling to read the words of the Gettysburg Address which really put into perspective the magical history of the United States. I felt incredibly patriotic reading the words of the Declaration of Independence at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

After the history lesson, we headed over to the Smithsonian Museums. We trekked past The White House and admired it from far away. We ended up only making it to the National Museum of American History, but that was honestly probably all the museum time I could take. We checked out all of the fabulous jewels and realized we could fake try them on using the reflections of the jewelry on their glass enclosures. Then we headed over to an exhibit of photographs. There were beautiful pictures of animals that I could only dream of capturing on my own.

I've been back to the monuments since and never get tired of visiting them. I tend to take for granted that I'm a $5 dollar ride from so many iconic buildings and that some people plan entire vacations around visiting them. There are plenty of museums left for me to visit. I think a day trip will need to be planned for this summer.

Per usual, you can click on the link to the side to view my album of pictures. I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures of the expensive jewels. My camera is not the best one out there and even though I took a photography class in high school, I never really got the hang of taking great pictures. I'd also like to warn you that I look terrible in the pictures. My summer camp job left me with horrendous and multiple levels of tan lines, plus that birthday was around my heaviest weight. My roommate Emily was a big motivation for me to lose weight because as you'll see, she's tiny.