A Washington DC Weekend

Being a singer is a huge part of my identity, something I work on and think about daily, but I was reminded this Thanksgiving that life is — and should be — more than singing. To remind myself of that, I’m looking back on happy moments from this past year that were not centered around being a singer.

In July, my brother, who lives in California, was in Washington, DC, for a work conference. The distance between us was going from 2,900 miles down to 226, so there was no way we were going to miss this opportunity to see each other. As a bonus, his birthday fell right in the middle of the trip and I wanted to be there to celebrate with him.

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Outside the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. DC, 2014.

It was my first visit to DC since the 1st grade. The weather was good. And I hadn’t seen my brother in about six months. We walked until our feet were about to fall off, took pictures until the batteries ran out, and enjoyed being tourists.

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A family of ducks at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. DC, 2014.

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Yellow echinacea near the Capitol Building. In the background, the Garfield Monument. DC, 2014.

By the time my bus arrived in DC early Friday evening, all the Capitol workers had gone home and the rest of the tourists hadn’t arrived yet. The result was a strangely empty and quiet city terrain. Walking in the calm, along the quiet streets and among the grand, over-sized architecture, I felt like one of those tiny figures placed in architectural models.

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Union Station. DC, 2014.

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West front of the Capitol Building. DC, 2014.

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East front of the Capitol Building. DC, 2014.

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Neptune Fountain outside the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress. DC, 2014.

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial. DC, 2014.

By the next morning, the Capitol was re-populated with visitors and my brother and I had to work our way through the crowds.

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The dizzyingly tall Washington Monument against the sky. DC, 2014.

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Korean War Memorial. DC, 2014.

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Korean War Memorial. DC, 2014.

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The Lincoln Museum was bustling. DC, 2014.

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From the Lincoln Memorial, the view of the Washington Monument across the Reflecting Pool. DC, 2014.

We made it to the Zoo too and saw animals big and small.

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Entrance to the National Zoo, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution. DC, 2014.

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Not the focus on the habitat, but we saw this little guy anyway! DC, 2014.

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Hung out with Tian Tian the Giant Panda. DC, 2014.

There wasn’t time to visit all the Smithsonian Museums, but we did get to the Smithsonian Castle and saw two exhibits, America’s Treasure Chest and Souvenir Nation.

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The Commons, West Wing of the Smithsonian Castle. DC, 2014.

We spent an afternoon at the National Gallery of Art, which was just enough time to visit both buildings and scratch the surface.

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Monet’s Woman with a Parasol at the National Gallery of Art. DC, 2014.

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Leo Villareal’s light installation, Multiverse, in the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings. DC, 2014.

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Something to think about at the National Gallery of Art. DC, 2014.

One of my favorite experiences was the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. The warm weather and outdoor setting encouraged discussion of the pieces we saw — serious, eye/mind-bending, bizarre, funny — without feeling pressured to maintain the formal atmosphere or a museum or gallery.

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The Fountain in the Sculpture Garden. DC, 2014.

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A play on The Thinker, perhaps? DC, 2014.

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Art and flora at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. DC, 2014.

It’s been ages since my brother and I lived in the same vicinity. He helped me move from San Diego to Arizona, and came to visit me in NYC…  He’s just a phone call or text message away, but I do wish we got to see each other more regularly. My brother is pretty grown-up now, but he’ll always be my little brother.I imagine our parents feel similarly about the two of us being their babies although we’ve gone away to school and lived on our own. It was slightly surreal to be on what felt like a mini-family-vacation with just the two of us “kids” running around without our parents’ supervision.

I look forward to all the family time the four of us will have this holiday and New Year’s season.

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Love. DC, 2014.

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