After my initial flashback upon returning to Washington DC, everything settled down. The weather was hot. July hot. A possible heat stroke hot. Instead of spending too much time in the blazing heat, we made our way to the Metro to catch a train to Springfield near Alexandria where we were going to stay at Chris’s house. I met Chris about 5 or 6 years ago in Estonia at my sister’s birthday party. He (apparently) worked (works?) for the US state department and does something with military or security or whatever. #jasonbourne . I had kept in touch via Facebook over the years, mainly to torture him with yet another one of my spy jokes. He had jokingly commented once that we should come visit, so of course, I took him up on his offer and arranged for me and Charlene to visit him for a couple of nights.
Despite having spoken to Chris on Facebook, it was still slightly daunting to just arrive at someone’s house I didn’t really know. Last time I saw him I was shouting “Shots!” as we were celebrating my sister’s 25th. I was more likely to shout “A washing machine!” these days (I swear I’ve developed a borderline unhealthy infatuation with washing machines and dryers). Everything turned out to be fine, Chris was a great host and it was nice catching up with him. He has a young daughter so the house was full of toys, more toys I had seen in a long time and it reminded me of the time I was a nanny. There was also a human torso martial arts thingy to practice killing or whatever, here I go with my spy jokes 🙂
Of course, we did the sites in DC: The obligatory White House photo, Lincoln Memorial, the Mall, a bit of Georgetown. It was boiling hot so we ended up running from tree to tree in order to avoid passing out from heat exhaustion. We walked from Foggy Bottom all the way to the Lincoln Memorial and that was as far as we could.
On Friday evening we arranged to meet with Sue, my host mother from my au pair days in Falls Church Virginia. She has also kindly offered us to stay at the house for a few nights as we got ready to travel to Virginia Beach to meet with Diana. I’d like to pause here to say just how important these kind offers of lodging are to us. As a traveller to stay somewhere for more than a night or two is extremely rare and when these occasions come by, we are so thankful.
Seeing Sue, Billy and Katie again after 12 years was so weird and cool at the same time. In October 2002 I had stood in the same hallway and said goodbye to two small kids who could both fit to sit in my lap. Now I was greeted by a 16-year-old teenager and I couldn’t stop myself from asking silly questions like ‘Where’s your blankie?’ and giggling like it was the best joke ever. It’s weird to skip the whole time period of ‘growing up’… Maybe that’s how time travel feels like? The difficulty in relating to reality, slight confusion… The only similarity really was the fact that the kids love Pokemon (again). Katie was now in college and we had many good conversations about current events and life in general. Again, I had to resist some ancient urge to fix a snack or ask about homework. Luckily, the feeling passed after a while and I managed to readjust to current reality (like a normal person).
Sue, as always, was very warm and welcoming and above everything, prepared a lovely meal for dinner. I remembered all the dinners we used to have around the same dining table, with their friends visiting from abroad…
We really enjoyed staying at Sue’s house and the trip down memory lane. The energy in the house was so warm and welcoming that we would’ve happily stayed forever. I really enjoyed showing Charlene the places I used to visit and live. Washington (and the suburbia) was the place where I ‘grew up’ so to speak, had a lot of fun, made some great friends and let go of stuff from the past. We drove around Vienna, Virginia where I spent my first year as an au pair with a family I had not gotten along with at all but I had made such a lovely group of friends that I had decided to stay anyway. Looking back I’m sure there were other factors at play: my underlying beliefs about deserving the suffering which was related to my beliefs about self-worth and so on. Regardless, all my decisions and choices have taught me things and led me to the present moment, so I regret nothing 🙂
After chilling out at Sue’s house for a few days we set off to visit Diana in Virginia Beach. I hadn’t seen her for years so I was very excited to spend time with her and meet her 4-year old son.