I’m finally home from my trip, and fantastic doesn’t even begin to describe it. That town is amazing. I am not much of a history buff, and when I have been to Europe, I visit the ruins and am impressed and adequately awed, but tend to maintain some distance. This week, to be in that city, where history is all around me, it was exciting and moving, because it is my history. These lessons that I have heard over the years aren’t just legends, they are real, and here in front of me. It was just amazing, and yet I found myself feeling a little cyncical. That couldn’t possibly REALLY be the coat that Lincoln was wearing when he got shot, could it? It seems too far away, to difficult to imagine that artifacts have been preserved for so long. But I guess it is true, yes? I can't wait to go back with my family - I think we need at least a week just to see 4 museums. Basically, I spent the time alternating between being moved to tears by the monuments, and working a lot harder than I expected.
Thursday night, we had dinner with the local office team that we were visiting, and then a few members of my team wanted to go to the National Mall. It was 8:15 and I was exhausted, trying to not fall face first into the table, still trying to adjust to East Coast time, but if I have an opportunity to go with a group, I figure I should go. Seeing the monuments at night was incredible. The weather was so warm, the crowds were smaller and the monuments were so beautiful. We also got shooed away from the White House, so we watched the sky for Mr. President’s helicopter, but we never saw any arrivals. Unfortunately, I was on my own Friday evening. I was actually staying in Arlington, Virginia, so after I wrapped up work, I headed out to the Arlington National Cemetery, and now I want to honor everyone who has had the courage to go to battle and fight for our country, because it really is a sacrifice, one that I could never ever make. I wish that there would be no more wars for servicemen and women to fight in, however. After a good cry, I took myself to Georgetown for dinner. It was nice to have the pick me up of being on a busy street with college students and other tourists to distract me. My legs were getting tired from the walking, and I spied a Lush store. Perfect! I bought a bath bomb and some solid bubble bath and proceeded to have a nice dinner by myself in an Italian place along an open window, then went home and took a nice hot bath, painted my nails and slept like a log.
Saturday I connected with an old friend from college, who was kind enough to pick me up in the morning and we spent the day together. We walked around the tidal basin (no cherry blossoms) and then went to the holocaust memorial museum. The way the exhibits are set up you are gradually so immersed in the graphic nature of the takeover and murders that it is impossible to walk away without being so grateful for the life you have, and heartache for those who lost theirs, and disgust for the fact that it went on for years. Naturally, you think about what is happening in Darfur. My friend and I had spoken about it, wondering what I could do, because it is so easy to shrug it off and say that it is not our problem, it is not something I can help with, and to accept feeling hopeless, and then moving on to the next task in your life. Luckily they had a brochure, called “What can I do?” I will put it to use. We went up to Maryland and had a seaside dinner outdoors, and don't even ask about what is better Atlantic Maryland crab, or Pacific Dungeness crab - it can get pretty heated, which is hilarious to me.
Here are the best weight-loss parts. I fit into the hotel robe! That was so exciting. I feel like I’ve joined the secret club of people who fit into one-size-fits-all stuff, that for so long did not fit me. On the exercise front, I did not do so hot. I could never get up before work to get to the gym, being up late and the time zone were killing me. I did do a lot of walking, that's for sure. Food-wise I did much better. When I was on my own, I ate vegetarian, and small meals, because in the office, there is crap available from dawn until dusk. Bagels and sweet breads in the morning, and then heavy lunches, afternoon cookie trays and a fancy dinner. One of our lunches was ordered in from a place called Big Buns. I had to chew on my tongue to not laugh out loud when they announced it. Now it is back to basics and we'll see what my weigh-in brings tomorrow. I am anticipating a gain, only because I didn't do any formal exercise, visited the cookie tray, and had some alcohol. I feel like it will be minimal, and definitely worth it. No really, it will be. I know that I didn't go hog-wild and that's a great improvement from my former vacation attitude to eat anything that comes my way.