Tag Archives: Washington DC


3 Jul

Greetings, friends, family, and fangirls. I just returned from a trip to Washington DC a couple days ago.


Anyone want to go back with me?

I’m only kind of kidding.

As I said in a post from a couple weeks ago, I was selected, along with 46 other kids, to go to Washington DC to learn more about America’s history and government, give speeches, talk about the constitution, and go places where National Treasure was filmed (those were not the exact words the briefing included). So thus began the first extended trip and the first flight I’ve ever experienced without my parents. And a long one. A really long one.

On the first flight there, I sat next to the other DC-bound Oregon tribute (there’s probably a word that sounds less Hunger Games-esque, but I can’t think of it), whom I’d met a couple weeks earlier at the state competition. No nerdy tendencies, but a very quality, fun-to-talk-to guy. And then on the second flight, I sat between a frighteningly silent woman and a bald dude who brought and watched that one movie where people get shot at and Bruce Willis stands sideways to the camera and looks worried a lot.

You know, that movie.

And when I arrived, I started to have minor heart attacks.

I’m a bit of an introvert, so when I first imagined going to Washington DC knowing a grand total of zero people, I can’t say that I had much confidence that I wouldn’t spend the entire week sitting in a corner with my iPod scrolling the River Song tag on tumblr. And, if you remember, the state competition, as awesome as it was, contained no people with which I could have a decently nerdy conversation.

Even without that particular anxiety of being the only person to get my references, I was fully aware that I was not quite as prepared as I should have been. Going into the program, I knew that my default setting was going to be “find someone who looks like they know what they’re doing.” I was pretty sure the week was going to be stuffed to the brim with more-qualified-than-thou people looking down at me and going:

I am pleased to announce that every negative expectation I had evaporated when I arrived.

I met awesome people and went to awesome places and did awesome things. That vague? Yes. I did far too much to cover in one semi-readable post. But in the midst of all the awesome, I can’t say I contained my excitement as well as I could have. Hey, who was I to deny the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial the hugs they so desperately needed?

And when it came to my desperate need to make obscure geeky references? I was at the breakfast table the third morning with five other people, and we were discussing bowties. “Bowties are cool,” I muttered.


But I was not to be fully sequestered from my fan-brethren.

One young man, whom I already knew to be a nerd (a Wholockian! What are the odds?) due to a recent conversation, was speaking to a couple of the girls in front of me. I recognized the struggle he was having as he turned to one of them and said, “Well, have you read Ender’s Game?”


“What?!” He turned to the other girl. “Have you read Ender’s Game?”

She shook her head. “No?”

I smiled at the familiarity of the situation and, out of sympathy, stepped forward. Excuse me ladies. Someone is finally speaking my language. “Are you excited for the movie?” I asked him, pretending I had actually been invited to this conversation. Judging by his strong fanboy reaction to the affirmative, I don’t think he minded the interruption far too much.

There’s just a radar for this sort of thing, and I am not one to ignore its sirens. The trip did not conclude before I found two additional lady Whovians and a Marvel movie fangirl.

There are few things more encouraging than finding that you have things in common with complete strangers who live all across the country. And even beyond those wonderful geeky discoveries, I was blessed with two fabulous ladies for roommates (shout-out to the three musketeers), and dozens of other ladies and gentlemen and athletes who were entirely spectacular for the whole trip.

There were mass sing-alongs on the tour bus, firefly-catching at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, squealing at the Lincoln Memorial, dancing at the Supreme Court, and more than a fair amount of pretending I was Ben Gates from National Treasure.

It was amazing.

When I first began to meet the other 45 kids on the first day there, I realized that most of us had one thing in common: we weren’t entirely sure what we were in for. Many of us shared the thought that the week might be full of uncomfortable moments and less than ideal companions. So basically, we built on that foundation of unfamiliarity, and by the end of the seven days, going back home with the knowledge that we may never see each other again was far harder than we had thought it would be. I miss them all.

As we all went around friending each other on facebook the day after we went our separate ways, I felt like it was just our elusive way of saying, “We’re never going to hang out again, but let’s pretend we might.”

As sad as I am that I  got so close to these people only to go home and be several hours away and sometimes several states away from every one of them, I am ecstatic that I had this opportunity to meet them.

As disenchanting as it was to go on this fantastic adventure and then return home and remember that I have responsibilities, I am ecstatic that the adventure happened.

And I’m just as ecstatic for all the future adventures that we have in store.

But seriously, who’s coming with me next time?