I would say that I’d never forget my first visit to Washington, D.C. except that I totally forgot all of it. Well, I do have one memory: a dead fish floating in a river (that I tell people was the Potomac, but who knows). I really won’t forget my second trip to D.C. which I made as a middle schooler. It was a P.A.S.S. trip and designed for educational purposes, but I learned much more outside our curriculum. From the entire week, three things still stand out 25 years later.
One is that Magnus, foreign exchange student in high school, came along as well and he and I ended up hanging out most of the week (possibly because we both felt slightly out of step with those around us). It was a good experience because not only was I old enough to better appreciate the memorials, but because I also got to experience it all through a true outsider’s eyes and perspective. It helped focus many things I probably wouldn’t have noticed on my own.
Another stand out memory is of waiting in line for the Washington Monument. It was a long line and Magnus and I made jokes to pass the time. One running joe we had was to call where they were going to cut off the line for each group of visitors.
“See that guy in the red shirt with the black socks?” asked Ma