I felt the rush of the new experience as I hugged my mother goodbye at the gates. My first adventure alone has begun. With little sleep in me I slept most of the plane ride and have arrived in Washington, DC! Orientation has been mostly getting to know people, taking care of registration, and touring Washington, DC. There are only four West Coasters here, and we all reacted to the sites as we toured.
We first went to Holocaust Museum, which made my heart stand still. I have read a lot about WWII, but the Museum paved the path from torn past to a hopeful future. The parts that struck me the most were the railroad car, the shoes, and the remembrance room. The railroad car gave me chills as I passed through it. I could feel the terror that was felt in the car as people boarded knowing that they would most likely die. I almost cried seeing the amount of shoes. German leaders tried to cover up the fact that they killed so many people, but the shoes gave a clue. Shoes of all sizes were there and it was absolutely heartbreaking. I appreciated how the museum portrayed the good times as well. How there was a thriving culture for the Jews before the Holocaust, as well as the rebuilding of the culture after. The remembrance room was incredibly peaceful. I could feel the presence of God in it and felt the silence of those lost, but also the hope in what we can do to change the future. I wish I had gotten to spend more time in the museum, but we were pressed for time. I hope to one day go back again.
The afternoon was spent walking all around Washington, DC. We ate lunch right in front of the White House! It is a lot smaller in person than it is in pictures. The bees must grow strange in Virginia, because one got away with a chunk of chicken from my salad, haha. After lunch a visitor came to me! My brother Isaac drove down to see me while I was in the same state! (I literally ran to him I was so excited!) From the overwhelming feeling of everything being new, it was nice to have a familiar face. Thank you Isaac for being such a great brother! He toured the rest of the day with us where we went to the Asian Art Museum and walked down the Mall to the Capitol. A lot of the buildings look the same, so we played ‘guess what building that is’. I got to see the Library of Congress too! We did not go in it, but to all my library friends, it was pretty sweet to be able to see it in person!
After another meal of salad (everyone else got to have pizza…), we headed back the hotel through public transit. I think living in Portland helped me be comfortable with trains and busses, because I was not bothered by all the transferring of transportation. Tomorrow I fly to Thailand! Our flight leaves about 1:30pm, and it should be a nice long flight! It means I can sleep, rest, and knit all I want. It still feels so surreal, but I am excited for what is to come. I know it will be hard and uncomfortable, but I also know it will be an adventure and a joyful experience. My Thailand Dream is becoming real.