Monday, July 31, 2017

San Antonio

Mark and I came home for literally a few hours before I flew back out to San Antonio, enough time for me to take a little nap and repack my bags. I was going out to San Antonio for a work conference which I feel like is pretty unusual for a teacher to do! So I was happy to go. I got upgraded on the flight from Dallas to San Antonio, which is very much my luck that I got upgraded on a 45 minute flight but I was in heaven!
Also, I had to drive a huge suburban around a city I had never been in and I felt pretty proud of myself! We also stayed in a really great hotel. I was obsessed with my room and went to bed at 8:30 unabashedly. 

The conference was all about education technology and it was HUGE. If you have ever seen the Henry B Gonzalez convention center, it takes up multiple blocks. I walked more there than I did on the East Coast. We averaged like 15,000 steps a day or something. It was so overwhelming because there was 22,000 attendees there and it was just massive, but I learned a lot and got a lot of useless swag! Haha!
In between the conference sessions we were able to do some exploring. Obviously we saw the Alamo, which was gorgeous. The grounds had so many pretty trees and flowers and stuff. Look at this huge cactus!

I really wanted an embroidered dress, so we went looking for one and found the best store EVER. Like, go there. Now. It was Fiesta on Main and it had so so many gorgeous tops and dresses. It was also just so colorful and made me happy in general. I came home with two tops as all the dresses had a weird uterus embroidery.

We did a Riverwalk boat tour and of course our guide was LDS and knew we were from Utah right away. He was hilarious!

 So gorgeous!
I loved San Antonio! So pretty and historical.  Also great BBQ and tex-mex obviiii.
One other story from San Antonio- one of the days I had a longer break for lunch than usual so I walked over to the riverwalk to have lunch alone. I ordered food, ate it and then as I was paying, the fire department had to come evacuate us from the restaurant because the place next door was on fire! It was so weird and it was moving in slow motion, they gave us napkins to put over our faces to block out the smoke. I didn't really understand what was happening, so I walked out of the restaurant and there was smoke pouring everywhere. I just kind of stood in one place before I realized I needed to get out of there! I could barely even see trying to get out of there. After I got onto the street level I realized my lungs and eyes were on fire! I shouldn't have stayed so long trying to figure out what was going on, I had a sore throat the whole next day. So weird!
San Antonio was super fun and I was beyond grateful to go and eat mexican food multiple times a day, but I was glad to go home and stay home for a bit! On the way home, the police were training bomb dogs at the San Antonio airport and it was the highlight of my trip? I loved it.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

East Coast Extravaganza: Washington D.C Part Three

Oh man, this is the last post of our vacation! I should have written it right after we got home because now I don't remember things as well as I did. I have a great short term memory but a absolutely terrible long term memory. It sucks! I figured it was best to write down what I do remember though.

This was our last full day in D.C! I scheduled a Capitol Tour, they told us to arrive an hour early to get through security and let me tell you, that is way too early. We sat in the lobby forever waiting. 
We took a "tour" of the Capitol-it was basically three rooms that was full of statues (each state has  two statues so that is a lot of statues) and paintings. 
I was actually pretty disappointed in the tour overall. I thought we would be able to go into the actual halls where they meet, but that was a different tour. So I probably would do this again but do is through my representative, you get a more comprehensive tour of the entire capitol. Just FYI for your future travels!
However, it was really pretty and we learned a lot about the artwork, so I don't regret it! They played a film at the beginning of the tour that made me want to wear American Flag apparel from head to toe all the time. That is saying a lot in our current political climate. I was begging the giftshop lady to sell me the movie for my class and she was like "We don't sell it ma'am." I was like PLEASEEEE! Anyway. I came home without a video.

After the Capitol tour, we walked across the street to the Supreme Court. I should have looked into a tour here as well, but I didn't think about it before hand. It's literally gorgeous, all of the Grecian influence is just perfection.

We had lunch at &pizza, it's a little chain but really good, especially their custom soda machine. Seriously! Get the farmer's daughter.

We went across the street to the Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was killed. A tip, if you can schedule your tour around a ranger talk, definitely do that. I thought I did, but I guess I didn't and it was pretty  uninformative just going through alone. We didn't go in the house where Lincoln actually died (across the street) because the line was insane and we had just waited 30 mins in the Ford's Theatre line despite having tickets. But it's an option, just so ya know.
Another "should I smile here or...?"
 We had tickets to the Newseum and we had to use them even though we were so tired and worn out by this day (we had been gone two weeks at this point-traveling wears on you!) but we didn't want to waste our money, so we headed over to the Newseum. It was cool and definitely worth it. We did it very casually as we were pretty museum-ed out, but we saw a lot of cool stuff. They have this view which was a lot prettier than the pictures show ;)

This was the first newspaper that the Declaration was printed in. I was geeked out. 

My favorite part was this newspaper display, they had a chronological timeline of all these big events with the newspaper front page to match. It was amazing, I loved it. Specifically this one..

Because it was on my birthday!

After the Newseum we had planned to head over to Sushi Taro for their happy hour. Sushi Taro is a Michelin star restaurant, basically meaning it's amazing. They have a happy hour once a week, but only 12 people get let in for it because they just do seating at the bar. We got there a little over an hour before they opened and we were the 9th and 10th people in line, so we barely made it! People kept coming to get in line and realized they weren't getting in and were so sad. The people in front of us were so funny and also weird. Their lives are just so weird to me, like they work in corporate D.C and live in this picturesque neighborhood, it's just like a weird thing to me for some reason. Anyway,  we made friends with them just waiting in line for the hour +. 
ALSO! It was while we were waiting in line that I saw a ROBOT GOING DOWN THE STREET BY ITSELF. Apparently people order food from different places and it DELIVERS it. It was so weird and everyone else thought it was normal but me. Here is a link to the article about these food delivering robots.
Also pt 2, we just missed pride in D.C but this whole street had restaurant after restaurant decked out in rainbow stuff. Like they had what looked like plastic tablecloths all weaved together going from building to building. It was so colorful and amazing and I was sad I didn't get pictures of it.

So yes, we waited forever to eat sushi at a Michelin star restaurant because there is no way we could afford regularly. 

 And oh man, was it glorious.

All this amazing, high quality sushi was only $98.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that is amazing. My personal favorite is the salmon egg one. 

We went back to the apartment (shout out to my SIL for letting us crash her place while she was in Europe) and got ready to go home the next day. We had planned to do one more half day in D.C but honestly we were *so* exhausted that we laid around the apartment and ordered Chinese delivery for lunch. It was perfect.

It was an amazing vacation, like truly amazing. I love going on vacation with just Mark and I, I always come back super shmoopy in love with him even more than I was before. It sucks going from being together 24/7 to our normal routine of just seeing each other at night! Vacation forever!!!! Can't wait to go on many more.
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

East Coast Extravaganza: Washington D.C Part Two

We woke up bright and early and made it to the Holocaust Museum. This was a big thing I wanted to do because I always tried to go when we lived in Maryland but it never worked out. I had been there when I was younger but I don't really remember much.
It was smaller than I remember, and actually very uncomfortable given our current political climate. We watched a short movie about Hitler's rise to power, plus the entire first floor is about the rise of the Nazi party and it was so interesting and unsettling.

I took a picture of this particular poster because it literally took my breath away. Enough for me to transcribe it below..

"After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, pressure mounted on President Franklin D. Roosevelt to respond to the intensified refugee crisis in Europe. Roosevelt proposed an international conference. Thirty-three nations were invited and reassured that,
"no country will be expected to receive a greater number of immigrants than is permitted by existing legislation."
The invitation further pointed out that refugee assistance programs would be financed by private agencies and emphasized that no government funds would be required. In addition, Great Britain was assured that the subject of Jewish immigration into Palestine would not be discussed. 
Two days after Roosevelt announced the Evian Conference, Adolf Hitler remarked: I can only hope that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [the Jews], will at least be generous enough to cover this sympathy into practical aide. We on our part are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries-for all I care, even on luxury ships.
But the United States did not intend to increase its own immigration quotas. American representation at Evian was played down:neither the Secretary of State nor the Under Secretary attended the conference. Little was expected and even less was accomplished.

From July 6 to 15, 1938, delegations from 32 nations met at Evian-les-Bains, France to identify refugee havens for German and Austrian Jews. Country after country acknowledged the refugees' plight, yet offered little more than excuses.
Great Britain would admit few Jews, and kept Palestine closed to large-scale Jewish immigration. Canada was willing to accept farmers, but this did not help the urban Jews of Austria and Germany. Australia declined to assist because it "does not have a racial problem, and is not desirous of importing one." The Venezuelan delegate was reluctant to disturb the "demographic equilibrium" of his country: no Jewish merchants, peddlers or intellectuals were wanted there. The Netherlands and Denmark offered only temporary asylum. The United States finally agreed to admit-for the first time-the full legal quote for immigrants from Germany and Austria. The Dominican Republic alone offered to receive a substantial number, 100,000 Jews."

Does anyone else think that is as crazy as I do?? And maybe a little familiar??

Anyway, the Holocaust museum was pretty incredible and I just wish I could have brought my students. I took as many pictures as I could, but you can't capture the feeling in pictures. I found myself glued to a  TV of liberation day, Russian and United State Armies had to bury thousands and thousands of bodies so that disease didn't spread. They were literally using backhoes into mass graves. It was insane to see.

After the Holocaust museum, we needed to kind of take a brain break before jumping into anything else so we went to Founding Farmer's for lunch. It was so delicious, I highly recommend it to anyone going to D.C

After lunch, we went to the National Archives so I could see the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights in person. It's pretty crazy, the scribe of a lot of the documents was a 14 year old boy. They are so faded I am sad that my children and grandchildren may not be able to see these documents. 
I also saw the Magna Carta on the way out, it was awesome. The National Archives had this huge banner running thorough the entire building of all the bills that were introduced to Congress but never passed. So many! It was an awesome visual. No pictures from this because you couldn't!

Then we Lyft'd to the Lincoln Memorial and walked the 25ish walk along the river to the Jefferson memorial. 

Such a pretty walk! We almost didn't do it and I'm so glad we did. We took over an hour to do it as we keep stopping and taking in the view. Even though it was so ridiculously hot, it was so great.

It was dinner time, so we went to Momofuku for dinner. We lyft'd from the Jefferson memorial to the restaurant and it was the scariest lyft ride of my life! The guy tells us that he is new, and he was just holding his phone in his hand instead of a little holder which was pretty unsafe. First when we get in the car he was like "So where do I go?" so we said the name of the restaurant and he was like "How do I get there?" We were like it on your phone?? Haha so he did but then he missed the turn and was like "guys, what do I do???" so we literally had to get out our Google Maps on our phone and direct him ourselves. He was such a strange guy but I felt so bad for him! I purposefully waited a few days to rate him because I didn't want him to feel bad...haha!
Anyway, we had some delicious wings, pork buns and ramen even though it was a trillion degrees outside.

I think we just went back home after this, but I can't remember! This is why I shouldn't wait to write these posts. Garhhh! 
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Monday, July 24, 2017

East Coast Extravaganza: Washington D.C Part One

We got in to D.C late on Sunday and we pretty much just did laundry and fell asleep. The next morning we got up early and drove to Gettysburg, about an hour drive. I forgot how pretty the freeways are on the East Coast! Just all surrounded by trees. I used to get so lost when we lived in Maryland but it was so pretty it was hard to be annoyed. The country we drove past was really gorgeous as well. It was an awesome drive.
I also forgot how much I hate tolls, we had $38 in tolls!! Pretty crazy. Anyway, we got to Gettysburg and they have a movie that catches people up on what led to the battle. They also have a really cool and ginormous painting of the battle that goes in a total circle, so that was awesome. Then we hopped on a two hour bus tour that went so fast! We only got out of the bus a few times and it would have been fun to do the car tour too just so we could have seen everything, but the tour guide had a lot of interesting information. There are several houses and buildings that still have the original bullet holes from the battle! Pretty crazy. 
I learned so much about the battle itself, stupid generals who made stupid decisions because they wanted to be the heroes of the battles but ended up getting themselves killed, the fact that the armies left all their dead and wounded men behind and the town people, only like 2,500 people, had to deal with all of that. 50,000 dead and wounded! It's pretty crazy to think about.
It was also just interesting being in the actual spot of the battle. They started so far apart, like the Confederates had to walk for 15 minutes across the totally open battle field  before they could reciprocate gun fire. It really defined what bravery was for me, no matter the side you were fighting for.

Oh, and there was the beauty. It was so pretty on little round top, but again, weird to stand and smile when thousands of soldiers died where I was standing.

They have these memorials all over Gettysburg, over 1,000 of them. They signify different regiments and where they fought, usually where most of them died.

We headed back into D.C for dinner at a yummy Japanese place.

Then we went to Momofuku Milk Bar for dessert. It's the lady from Masterchef and Momofuku, one of Mark's favorite chefs. They make everything from Cereal milk, which is basically like sweet milk. I ordered the birthday cake and cereal milk twist and it was so sweet it made me really sick! Haha, but Mark had the best shake of his entire life. So I think I just got the wrong thing. 

Since we were staying in Alexandria we spent a lot of time on the metro which I didn't mind at all, they were always very clean and made a lot of sense, everything was well marked. We took the metro  home and got ready for a packed day!

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