It’s been a full day of exploring this nation’s capital today. I couldn’t sleep, so I was up around 2. I took an early morning walk around the mall, but it was quite chilly. I talked to my mom for part of the time, which was comforting because her voice always makes me feel like I’m close to home even when I’m far away. She’s also taking care of our dog, so I like the play-by-play on Comet’s stay as a guest. The highlight of the walk the simultaneous juxtapositions in the view of the full moon setting behind the Washington Monument and the sun rising across the whole expanse above the Capitol. It was beautiful on a superficial level in terms of the actual vista, but also on a symbolic level. It made me feel connected to the country in a way that I don’t often feel anymore.
I also tried a spin class, which was not my favorite experience. I’m extremely sensory-defensive, and some of the autistic difficulties I experience in terms of socializing and asking for help made the class far outside my comfort zone given that I’ve never been to a spin class, did not know how to get the special shoes they had at check-in into or off of the bike, and it was so loud in the studio and the lights were strobing. I tried to leave early, but I couldn’t figure out how to unlock my shoes from the pedals, so I was forced to stick it out. It’s ok; I survived but it was overwhelming. I think I’m more of the independent exerciser type (and definitely the outdoor exercise or bust type) and not a group class fanatic. Still, I’m proud of myself for trying. It takes guts to go to something I know nothing about, where I don’t know anyone, nor what to expect.
After spin class, we walked to the Museum of American History. It was far more interesting than I thought it would be. It also wasn’t crowded since we were waiting at the door for it to open and beat the mobs. The highlight there for me was the coolest dollhouse I ever saw. When I was young, I loved dollhouses and making miniatures for mine. I was always cutting up sponges and covering them in cloth for couches, molding clay into tiny foods, and fashioning shelves our of bent paper clips.
Other highlights of the day were all the colorful kites at the kite festival, which was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Museum of American Natives, and the Botanical gardens. The Museum of American Art was much more moving than I thought it would be. It houses the impressive portrait galleries. We saw the Obamas’ new portraits, in addition to portraits of many other people, some of whom are famous, but others whose lives were not necessarily marked by as much notoriety but who had important lives nonetheless. Portraits of the faces of American Workers, for example, was an exhibit focused entirely on “regular” workers (e.g., coal miners, housekeepers, railroad employees, etc.). I found the faces of people fighting for justice to be emotionally impactful. I stared into the eyes of people who’ve risked their lives fighting for equality that should have been given. I felt moved to tears and saddened on a very deep level about racism. I think we are going to go back tomorrow for more because I was fading a bit at the end and it’s such a lovely gallery. It also helps that it’s directly across the street from where was are staying!
The downsides of the day centered around my terrible stomach aches and the varied success I’ve had with different foods I’ve tried. I’m feeling the consequences of trying to branch out of my limited diet and the reminder as to why my daily diet is so limited in it’s diversity. While it’s never fun to have a bad stomachache, I must say, it’s even worse when you’re traveling and without the comfort of your own bathroom and bed. It got so bad this afternoon that I even peaked at earlier return tickets home, but I ought to be able to make it through and find ways to enjoy it to boot. I’m glad I have the comfort of my husband with me. I’m going to rest now and try to ride out the discomfort I’m in. More adventures when I rebound.