To those of you who guessed I’m in Washington, DC — you get a gold star! (Granted, the license plate kind of gave it away.)
As I write this on Sunday evening, though, I’m sitting in Dulles Airport on my way back to London. By the time it posts, I’ll be home. This was a two-day transatlantic trip, which would horrify Greta Thunberg, but I justify it by arguing that my day-to-day carbon footprint is pretty darn small. (No car, no kids.)
I came to the states because one of my friends from the Peace Corps, Liz, turns 50 this week, and her friends threw her a surprise birthday party. I heard about it maybe 6 weeks ago, and I thought, “You know, I haven’t seen Liz for four years and I haven’t been to DC in nine. I’m going!”
I never mentioned it on the blog because, obviously, I needed to maintain the element of surprise. And it worked! Liz suspected the party but she didn’t expect me or a few other friends who traveled from a distance. I think she thought I'd lost my mind, to be honest.
The party was a blast, with a “Scooby Doo” theme — apparently Liz’s favorite cartoon. Who knew?! And I got to see several other old friends too — Kevin, who I know from way back in middle school, and his husband Brent; Kelly, another Peace Corps friend, and her family; former blog pal, now real pal Reya. It was a fab trip, and I am exhausted. (And still blogging from my phone, by the way. Argh!)
I didn’t get to spend a great deal of time exploring DC, but I knew I wouldn’t. That’s partly why I didn’t bring a computer or even my big camera. Just a tiny Jansport backpack and my phone. It felt GREAT to travel so light!
One of my favorite moments came Sunday morning, when I went to a Starbucks next to my hotel in Silver Spring, MD. After I placed my order and the woman behind the counter gave me my tall coffee and almond croissant, she asked me my name — which I thought was odd, since our transaction was finished at that point. I told her, and she said “I’m Sunshine. You have a great day, Steve.”
And honestly, it was a small thing, but it felt so nice to be seen and acknowledged so personally — and by a woman named Sunshine! She’s certainly living up to her name!
You might think going to Washington now would be a bit forbidding, considering who's in power in the USA. But Washington is not a Trump town. With the exception of one college-age kid wearing a MAGA hat near the National Mall -- obviously a tourist -- everything I saw indicated a degree of resistance to Trump and his agenda. One person posted paper cutouts of the words "Hope" and "Courage" in their window, facing the Metro train tracks, as if trying to help us through the siege.
And then there was this: