Joe Goes to Washington

by | Nov 14, 2010 | USA | 4 comments

Joe and I just returned from a two-week trip to Washington D.C. I really intended to blog while we were there but I didn’t have much time to spare. We’re both still recovering from the physical and emotional exhaustion of it all.

Sunset on the Connecticut Avenue bridge near Woodley Park.

This was a strange trip for me. I was half home and half away, half saying hello and half saying goodbye. I was having fun for half the time, and undergoing a painful transition between my old life and my new one for the rest. At one point I burst into tears in the parking lot at Tysons Corner Center (Tysons 1, outside L.L. Bean Great Outdoors). It’s hard to explain why, other than to say I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.

Amidst all the drama was Joe – half tourist and half emotional support system. His presence changed the dynamic of the trip for me; instead of just visiting home, I experienced everything familiar through a new set of eyes.

Joe loved Washington and everything around it. We spent hours wandering through parks and tree-lined streets, gazing at houses and trees – Joe had never seen American fall leaves and found them a constant source of wonder.

In between sight-seeing trips, Joe endured endless gatherings of my friends, family, and colleagues, and did an admirable job remembering names and making small talk. I was lucky to have him around.

I’m finding more and more that it’s easier to tell my stories through the photos we take, so here is a short visual history of our trip. As this was Joe’s first time in Washington, the photos and stories center around him.

Upon arrival at Dulles Airport at 6:30 a.m., Joe was detained by immigration officials for nearly an hour over a minor visa misunderstanding. After gaining his freedom, he was more than ready for his virgin visit to Starbucks.

Joe in front of the National Cathedral, one of his favorite sights in Washington. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go inside.

Joe tests out the tractor at a farm in Fauquier County, Virginia. We stopped at the farm store for apples, fresh bread, and a hunk of horseradish-bacon cheese. This was the beginning of a two-day journey of hiking, leaf-peeping, wine-tasting, farmers-market-shopping, and spontaneously finding quaint B&Bs and friendly French restaurants in the middle of nowhere. It was really quite magical.

Joe at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I just about had a heart-attack when he climbed down there but he found it very relaxing.

Joe at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Joe attended his first NFL game with my father and me. He was a bit bewildered by the overzealous fans, but caught on quickly due to football’s similarity to rugby.

This photo is not of Joe but it was too cool to leave out. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. (You’ll notice that the photos get much better from this point forward. That’s because I bought a new camera! Cameras are a lot cheaper in the U.S. than they are in South Africa so I figured it was finally time to upgrade to an SLR.)

The Library of Congress. Can you find Joe?

Joe watches the cars go by in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Joe plays hide-and-seek with a squirrel in a park near the Capitol. I loved introducing Joe to D.C. squirrels, especially during such a busy time of year.

Last night in D.C., at my best friend Claire’s apartment. No more pictures, please.

After 48 hours back in Joburg, I almost feel human again. I’m looking forward to some downtime, free of lunch dates and happy hours. But it’s also time to get serious about things like driving and getting a job. Watch out, South Africa, I’m here to stay this time.


  1. Todd L.

    Loved this one, and I hope Joe liked the squirrels! They are the friendliest in the world. I can get them to eat right out of my hand. Too bad you didn’t get a chance to bring him into the Cathedral. Went inside for the first time FINALLY last year and it was every bit as awe inspiring, if not more so, inside. Some of the most magical stained glass in the world!

    • 2summers

      Thanks Todd. Now Joe is even more upset that we didn’t go in the Cathedral! I’ve never gone inside before either. Next time, definitely.

  2. KLong

    Did you really just end that with “more to come”? Glad you’re back safe! xoxoxo

    • 2summers

      Ugh, you are so right. I ran out of steam last night. Blame it on jet lag. I’m going to change it.


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