The Unexpected 180 - My Family Travels

Before I had even boarded the airplane to Washington D.C., I was reluctant about going.

“How long are we staying there for, Dad?”

“One week, Sara.”

One week. It’ll be over in no time.

After having half-heartedly convinced myself that this trip couldn’t be all that bad, I tightened my grip on my plastic, neon carry-on, boarded the plane, and fastened my seat belt. Half of the plane ride I spent thinking of countless of other locations our vacation would have been better spent. The other half I spent sleeping. Five hours later, and with a crick in my neck from having slept lopsidedly, I had arrived in Washington D.C.

I had pretty much planned a picture in my head of what the city would be like. Smog, old statues, and impossible crowds were just a few of the ideas that came to mind. As we exited the airport, my first assumption proved correct; there was smog, and lots of it. In fact, I think the only time I wasn’t breathing air intoxicated with bus exhaust was when I was inside a building! I was far from enjoying this family “vacation,” and our trip had only just begun…

When it was that I actually began enjoying myself, I don’t really remember. Perhaps it was on that tour bus; I remember being intrigued by this beautifully landscaped park, unlike any one I had seen in my hometown. Or maybe it was when we got lost (as would any tourist traveling in this city). Sure, we arrived at our destination sweaty and aching, but to my surprise, we weren’t moaning with complaints, but laughing at the sight of our disheveled hair and dirt streaked faces! Although, it could have been that time we met those rather eccentric locals, whom I wholeheartedly admired for having the pluck to station anti-Bush displays mere feet away from the White House.

Then again, maybe it was all these things, each little experience, which led to my changed outlook on the city. My attitude towards Washington D.C. had experienced an unexpected 180- well, almost 180. There was still the matter of all that smog…

Yet even with this minute offense, I had secretly become enamored with the city, what with its architectural beauty, and lively atmosphere. In fact, I was so determined not to like this city upon my arrival that I was fell in love with it for reasons I had previously detested it for! I found the people to be carefree and light-hearted, the sites, intriguing and stimulating, and the food was, well, just about as good as I could have hoped for!

In retrospect, I realized I never should have judged Washington D.C. before having even set foot there. Vacations should be made the best of, no matter how unappealing the destination may first seem. It’s what you choose to do that determines what will become of a trip, not the destination itself. Even if I could re-live those first few hours I spent sulking, I wouldn’t. After all, how else would I have learned the valuable lessons that I did, even if it took an immature attitude to achieve them? Because now, I know to cherish each little thing I did in Washington D.C. It was where I hailed my first cab, ate Dr.Chen’s Organic Chinese Cuisine (the fried rice was fabulous, by the way), and experienced just how the small White House looks in person…

“So Dad, how much longer are we staying here for?”

“One more day, Sara”

One day…one last day left to spend in Washington D.C….

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