Friday, February 24, 2017

How I Spent my Washington Vacation

As I said in the previous post, the ATKs have had an enjoyable 7 months in our nation's capital, and then I preceded to talk about Russian class, which, while not awful, was not exactly a typical definition of "fun."  However, I was very excited to live in our nation's capital, or at least close to our nation's capital. Why? Because I'm a nerd and museums are free here.  So here's a list of the fun things we did while we were here.

1. New York! Start spreadin' the news, the ATKS are leavin' today...  We enjoyed two fun-filled weekends up the road a-ways in NYC. The Big Apple. Our first trip up to New York was to see Emma Thompson star in the NY Philharmonic's production of Sweeney Todd.  I found out about this in October back when we were in New Delhi and I had to get tickets right away. For a show that was going to happen in March. I love Sondheim and I love Emma Thompson so there was no question that this was a must see. I was skeptical that Thompson had the chops to pull off Mrs. Lovett, but I was pleasantly surprised.

We also went up to New York for a Russian field trip in May. Only instead of heading back to DC on the bus Friday evening, we stayed over and went to a show on Saturday. (We saw Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill starring that fantabulous Audra McDonald. It was excellent.) I'm sure you are wondering why we were in New York for a Russian field trip. Well, turns out Brighton Beach, Brooklyn has a huge Russian community. There are signs in Russian and everything. We even had lunch with a Ukrainian lady with whom we had to converse in Russian.  If you would like to learn more about Brighton Beach, watch this informative video: The Empire Takes Back

The Great American Past Time
2. Baseball! Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some... eh, you know the rest. Mr. ATK is a huge baseball fan and as such was very excited to be in the U.S. for baseball season. While Mr. ATK is a fan of the "gritty" Arizona Diamondbacks (who have blessedly fired their front office) and I support the scrappy (and decidedly less gritty) Milwaukee Brewers, the Washington Nationals were the only game in town, so they became our adopted team for the year. Nationals Park (or "Walgreens Park" as BFF-TK called it) is a lovely venue, though I couldn't help but compare it to my beloved Miller Park. Nationals Park has "fancier" fare, I suppose, including a gluten-free stand, a total vegetarian stand, a Shake Shack (with the longest line you will ever see), and a Peet's Coffee stand that always has an insane line (not as bad as the Shake Shack, though.) Who drinks coffee at a baseball game? East Coasters apparently.

We went to about 10 baseball games and it rained at every single one. Amazing odds. Oh, I take that back. We went to one game with MamaTK and AuntieTK at Camden Yards. It did not rain there. They also had fancy food. We had a hot dog topped with crab macaroni and cheese. It was a little underwhelming, but an A for effort as it was about the price of a plain old hot dog at Nationals Park.  Once you get used to those Washington/New York prices*, it's amazing how cheap everything in the rest of the country seems.

The ATKFriends visiting from WI. Yeah, we wear Brewers gears and drink Summer Sandy regardless of what teams are playing.

3. Cherry Blossoms
You hear so much about the cherry blossoms in D.C., and, well, to this Midwestern gal's eye, they did not disappoint. Downtown D.C. is so pretty when the trees are in bloom.  It seemed like from mid-March to mid-April we would head to the mall every weekend to see if they bloomed and in early April they did. I guess the blossoms in Tokyo are even more spectacular, but I have to say, I was very impressed with just how lovely the cherry blossoms are. Sadly, they only lasted a couple weeks until a thunderstorm with high winds ruined them.

4. Podcasts
I remember back when the earthquake in Chile happened back in graduate school, I went to see a professor for early morning office hours before 8:30 class started. He was like, "Did you see the news?" I was like, "What news?" Him: "There was a massive earthquake in Chile. You didn't hear anything about it this morning." Me: "Um, no. I watch reruns of Roseanne in the morning."

But it was right then and there that I thought, ATK, you should probably watch the news. Or read the news. Do something to keep yourself well informed! Dear Reader, you'll be happy to know that three years later I decided to heed my own advice and started listening to podcasts. Of course, I started mainly with podcasts talking about pop culture or music, but have since included news podcasts in. Sadly, I now rarely get to watch reruns of Roseanne.

2017 Addendum: It is likely that I had more than just a list of four things for this blog post way back when I started in in 2014, but I no longer remember what they were. I could perhaps add in a few numbers about how the ATKs are currently spending their Washington time:

  • Go to the YMCA
  • Go to the park
  • Go to story time at the library
  • Go to baby gymnastics (starting in March.) 
There's not really a whole lot to elaborate on there. 

* When PapaTK was visiting we went to the nearby Z Burger for shakes and decided to get onion rings as well.  PapaTK pulled out a 20 dollar bill to pay, only to be quite surprised when the total came to $22 dollars.  For two orders of onion rings and two shakes. They were large portions of onion rings, but still....

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