We left North Carolina where my twin sister and her family lives. It was hard to drive away. It took me a few hours to let the sinking feeling in my heart to float on out. I knew I wasn’t leaving them forever. I knew in my heart that this is scary, and that I will miss my family. I knew that I will feel like I am 10 years old again and homesick and ill feel longing to be within family’s arms. That is all expected normally. Usually with me, I just do not allow myself to experience these thoughts till the event, in this scenario, leaving the family dynamic area. I tell myself, as a little pep talk would go, to be strong and that I get to travel the globe! That I will see all sorts of beauty and get to meet all kinds of people. That returns my smile and reduces the longing.
I got to Carols house last night around 7 pm. Only took a few hours from N.C. Carol is our first couch surfing host to date. I was blown away by how normal, kind and how sincere she is. It isn’t scary, it isn’t uncomfortable as those thoughts may have tried to pry at my consciousness before. She is a violin teacher and an artist at any instrument she picks up. It is extraordinary. I haven’t known, met face to face, anyone that is like this other than my grandfather, Spero Phillips. Spero could pick up any tune on anything. Carol is just like that, she is very fluent and empowering as a woman. I’ve learned a journal full of things from her in the past 24 hours. We sat at the table sipping on coffee last night, chit chatting about our lives. I felt at home, she made us feel at home. She is laid back, intelligent and artistic in musical arts. Tonight she had me pick up a Brazilian drum and learn a few different tempos. It was fantastic!!! I always told myself I was no good at music, instruments or dancing. And that is due to my hand to eye coordination. I do have an almost fool proof photographic memory, but not so much hand to eye. So I always criticized myself and never got enough strength to try some beat on the dance floor or on an instrument due to failing after the first attempts. I’d just give up and laugh it off. When I tried to do that today, Carol asked me to continue, she reassured me and made me feel comfortable. Sure enough, I picked the drum sticks back up and was able to nail it! I would get frustrated and attempt to stop, but she just keep encouraging me to continue, and I did. I picked it up after a few times. I didn’t get it on the first try, which is okay and normal. I am glad I can tell myself that now. That its not embarrassing or discouraging when I mess up, it’s a learning experience.
Today Jess and I woke up early and rejuvenated. Carol dropped us off at the bus station 2 miles away. Then we proceeded to take a city bus to the local metro station in the adjacent town. Once there we took the Blue Metro into the heart of D.C. My very first time on a subway / Metro, and it was so cool and unique! What a different way to experience a city rather than in a car. On a metro, I am not driving, so I am not focused on getting around on a road, rather, I am focused on my surroundings in a way of a sightseer and an enjoyer of every detail. It’s brilliant. I found myself snapping pics of everything once we appeared out of the metro tunnel into the light of D.C. We were greeted with beauty, brick white buildings 10 stories high, Christmas street decorations, the smell of fresh city air, and the feel of a very busy business atmosphere mixed with a sort of slowness. This slowness was the D.C feel. Thats what I decided to call it. “The D.C feel.” There was a lot going on, but it was truly beautiful, that I never felt rushed. I was able to stroll around and emerge into gorgeous surroundings on every corner that a normal city liver wouldn’t see. The hilarious bum on the street, the way the food signs appear on buildings, the way the winds go down the city streets as wind tunnels, the way the sun glimmered off of the 70 years old windows, and the way I was able to people watch. This was the D.C feel for me. the way it felt for me. People watching in a city was fantastic. I felt I was inserted into the city to simply observe and to witness natural beauty in D.C without regulations or rules or a schedule. That D.C was a reassurance to any little sort of doubt, or any inklings of fear… That this journey, Jessica and I started, is absolutely going to be memorable and breathtaking, not scary.
We saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, The White House, The Reflecting pool and a ton of hidden gems. Snapped pictures of every shade of sporadic. We walked all of it, over 5 miles in the total of today. Well worth it, my feet didn’t even realize I was walking so much, I was just in amazement of my surroundings. To be sucked into the city, the richness of the air, the busy city life, the government buildings that lurked everywhere and to be devoured in the flow of our first experience as backpackers…to just go with the way of a river. To not plan, to just wander, to wind up somewhere and just go with it. Fantastic.
Jess and I were eating in this local cafe hidden in a building somewhere west of The White House. Great food and a little cozy atmosphere. While we were siting there eating our vegetarian sandwiches, a woman came through the door and starting speaking to the cashier as if she was a regular. Called him by his first name and stated that, that was the best cafe in the city. She was with her expensive clothes, peacoat wrapped around her, precise makeup and the city feel radiated off of her. When she walked by I smelt the scent of a strong and independent perfume pouring off of her. She then stated “I just met the president, he just shook my hand and I got to hug him!” Jess and I were just baffled, that we were in such a different atmosphere than in Lutz, FL. Obama made a visit to a local business office to thank then for their work and his security detail were a line of cars that were very hard to miss in those city streets, since police and EMS followed them. It was a unique feeling and experience to feel her enthusiasm and to know that we were within 50 feet from Obama. (We saw 10+ dark tinted and black SUVs 30 minutes previously, so we knew what she was saying and knew we had just been that close to Obama!)
When we had gotten our cup full of D.C we took the metro back then the bus. We arrived at the station Carol dropped off at, and once again realized that “we do not have a way back to her house.” We knew she was going to a concert of students she teaches violin to, which we were due to attend as well, so we did not want to ask for help or to bother her for a ride. Even though Carol is a woman that would not to be bothered, it was a more of a ” I want to get where we need to go with out needing help” moment. So we walked back to her house, 2 miles at night, with one layer of clothes on, no jackets, about 43 degrees weather on a highway. It was a memorable and exciting experience. Humbling to be in an environment that isn’t easy and normal.
The Christmas violin show was fantastic. I am so glad Carol allowed us to attend. There were about ten students that she has taught violin to, playing Christmas songs. Stunning, to be in front of enormous talent. Kids of all ages. Was a very warm and gentle experience that I will hold and cherish.
Carol taught us some melodies.
Had such a great time messing with these instruments,
Learning some instruments!!
City view of D.C.
Washington Monument fun.
Jess and I.
Jessica on the metro.
Our first couch surfing “couch.” Carol’s house.
Myself on the metro
Jess and the Lincoln Memorial.
Jess and the Washington Monument.
I’m enjoying the reflecting pool.