After going to bed well after 11pm, drifting to dreamland to the continuing firecracker pops of Fourth of July celebrants and the police sirens indicating aforementioned celebrants needed corralling, I realized my depth of tired from my very full first day.
I slept in: 7:10 am. Jet lag, so far, proves no problem.
Hmmm, whatever shall I do until 3 pm when I return to prepare for the welcome dinner? Since I’m walking, not being adventurous enough to attempt tour buses, taxis, or Metro buses, I fiddle with Google and determine the Smithsonian American History Museum is doable. I plug in Siri and her Google Maps expertise, and off I trot.
Forty minutes later I arrive with only five minutes until opening.
- Third one in the door and I bee-line it to American Stories and gaze upon Dorothy’s Ruby Reds.
- I then promptly lose my school district’s iPad by leaving it on top of a display case. Great–fifteen minutes newly arrived as a tourist and visions of an angst filled day erupt. Prayer, and an angel of a docent, *shout out to Craig* my iPad and I am reunited via lost and found. The security man admonishs me to be “more careful” and I shall be.
- Continuing on as a thankful and much more careful school teacher tourist, I return to discovering the Americana that reminds me how unique America is in its history. For instance, two favorite presidents as I’ve never seen them before:
The first statue of George Washington. They had gyms back then? Pretty impessive abs, GW.
Lincoln’s life mask. A bit macabre until realizing this was first cast when he was alive in 1860. Photographs are one thing, but this impression indelibly reveals a realism photographs can’t deliver. Moving through the Civil War exhibit I come across his last known photograph. I tear up. What a great man. What a great loss. I am emotional in each of the various military exhibits, reflecting upon family members who have served or plan to serve, and those, not just family, who have sacrificed for our country. Eyes and throat swelling with emotional realization of what sacrifice means, when I entered the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit, especially viewing the Ft. McHenry flag–yes, THE flag.
- First Ladies inaugural gowns which both caught both the personality of the First Lady and a reflection of the time period.
- A video of a nurse who had a reunion thirty-four years later with the Vietnamese baby girl rescued and was christened Kathleen. “They said we were killing babies during the war; here’s proof we saved them,” stated the nurse.
- DC is amazingly clean and everyone is so nice. From docents to other tourists, everyone is polite, friendly, and helpful. This teaches me to not believe in Bruce Willis’s Die Hard movies. DC does not stand for downright corrupt. It’s clean and nice, at least in my encounters so far.
- I briefly stopped in the National Art Gallery. The beauty of exquisite masterpieces rendered me speechless at moments. Being inches from a Rembrandt reminds me how beautiful is the creativity of the human soul.
one of the many paintings that I beheld
After a much needed nap, I readied to meet my Hamlet Homies. We pizza-ed, we chatted, and we were briefed on our itinerary. We shall be Hamletting from 8am to 9pm Monday through Friday. This is the reason I’m here. “This isn’t the beach,” the director gently admonished us. “There are sixty other people who would love to be where you are.” Gulp. The pins she handed out carry a new meaning:
To be or not to be committed to giving up my personal agenda of wanting to be a DC tourist (at least more than one day) and instead immerse myself in my Shakesperean scholar potential.
We will see what Will holds in store for me. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…