Monday, June 30, 2014

You Can Fly!

I went to bed before nine o'clock last night in the hopes of easing the process of waking up so early. Still, 3:10 AM is 3:10 AM, and my alarm woke me then with the message "IT'S HAPPENING!!!" and playing the song "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire (that's sort of clever, right?). We arrived at El Cerrito High, my school, got our bags weighed, received our luggage tags, and listened to further instructions for Don. He reminded us to format our blogs correctly, and pointed me out specifically for not choosing the correct font (though, in my defense, I used the font everyone in my cohort has been blogging with). Sorry, Don!

Airport art we couldn't
Don snapped some pictures of us (although we look much better in suits and dresses than in sweatshirts) and soon the sun was rising while we rode on the bus. We arrived at the airport, passed through security (some of us poked fun at the airport art while we waited for the rest of the group), ate a quick (and surprisingly satisfying) breakfast, and boarded the plane.

The super cool airplane game we played
The plane flight was...well, the plane flight was a plane flight. I was seated between a stranger and Donna, and while I did make an effort to talk to the person next to me, she changed seats to sit near her husband only minutes after takeoff, so we didn't get to cover much other than the word game I was messing around with on the screen in front of me. I slept through much of the flight over Nevada, then talked to Donna for a while about camping and climbing experiences. 

Donna and I freaked out about
how pretty the clouds were
This was our plane
We were pretty exhausted, so we both listened to music for a while until Julia took the seat next to us. The three of us joined forces to tackle the challenge of the word game (which didn't recognize some words like "orca"). The cool seat-back technology was re-used later in the flight with a group chat (which is apparently something you can do now) in which everyone in the cohort played a game of "truth or dare" which passed the time, and which ended up just being a game of "truth," since you can't do many "dares" on a plane. 

We had a lovely view from the shuttle
Our luggage was there right away, and our shuttle didn't take long, so soon we were loaded up and heading to the hotel. We ate lunch/dinner at a pizza place where we could watch the World Cup game, which was pretty exciting. 

After a rest in the room, Mr. Hillyer led us on a tour of Washington, D.C. that hit just about all the major monuments and memorials. 

I'm realizing too late that I have way too many pictures in this blog...oops.

The White House

It was fun to walk around D.C. with the group and see major government buildings and war memorials. I think my favorite was the World War II memorial, because it was just so beautiful (you'll see), but one of my favorite moments so far happened around the White House. I don't remember the last time I saw fireflies, but I wasn't expecting to see them here. With the wonder of an amazed child, I commented to Julia that they looked like sparks while Gwennie easily caught one. 

The World War II Memorial
The World War I Memorial

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, surrounded by famous quotes of his

The Korean War Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial
The "future/euture" error on the Lincoln Memorial wall
The Vietnam War Memorial
I can't wait for tomorrow's Georgetown tour, the Smithsonian, and the nice dinner. Well, I can wait; sleep is my top priority at the moment. We're all exhausted; for us it feels like it's about ten, and we since we got up early and spent the night seeing D.C., as Julia eloquently put it, "Tonight is sleepy sleep."

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