The first, and less interesting thing, is that I've picked up a lot of hours at work lately. I'm getting a lot of good feedback from my higher-ups, and have been called in to work on some special projects, which has been great for the old self-esteem. If this law thing doesn't work out....
But the other, really fun thing that happened, is that my brother's passport was stolen! Hmm, maybe I should explain. My brother, Ted, has traveled to China 4 times in the last few years. (In fact, he's there now as I'm typing this.) So a few weeks ago, he sent his passport to the Chinese embassy to get his visa in order to enter the country this month. Somewhere in the shipping process (yes, we know where; no, we don't know who did it), his passport, with the visa in it, was lost, presumed stolen.
This was discovered when, 2 days before his flight, he still hadn't received it.
So. Ted was able to change his flight by one week, in order to go to Washington, D.C., to renew everything in person. I was the only one whose work schedule would allow it, so I got to go up there with him.
It was great, first of all, for the two of us to spend some time together. Fortunately, we both have the same approach to road trips, which is: only talk when both/all parties want to talk. Otherwise, put your headphones on and read a book or sleep. This approach works quite well, especially as we had 2 decades of family trips during which to perfect it.
D.C. was overrun with schoolchildren, as happens in the spring. But it's a great city - pedestrian-friendly, lots to do, and endlessly photogenic. I went sightseeing while Ted stood in line in the passport office and at the Chinese embassy.
Here are the highlights:
1. Remember, a few weeks ago, when I said I wanted to get to a Real Art Museum? Well, the National Gallery has always been one of my favorites. And it's free. So I spent a few hours there last Tuesday. I spent all of my time in the 18th and 19th-century French and British wing. That's where they have the paintings by my (current) favorite artist, Pissarro. Ever since I was first introduced to his work, I have been pretty fixated on it. I just respond to it at a molecular level, and can pick his work out of a pile of others. Something about the light, and the detail work he does. I just get it,
Anyway, as I was wandering the wing, I kept coming across a tour group of retirees with a docent who really seemed to know what he was talking about. (If not, he was really good at faking it.) So I kept an eye on them, to see if they would go into the room with the Pissarro paintings. I don't know a whole lot about the artist, and was curious about what the guide would say. Sure enough, after a lengthy bit about Manet's impressionism debut, he led them to the tiny little room that I love. He didn't say much, but he did say that (1) Pissarro was a mentor to Cezanne, and a father-figure to Van Gogh, who are two of my other favorites. And (2) that he was the oldest member of the Impressionists, and so served as a teacher to the group, and as the mediator and peace-keeper. Perhaps I give myself too much credit, but I kind of think that maybe that's why I get his work. Sounds like he and I are a lot alike.
2. Ted and I were trying to decide where to eat dinner around Knoxville on the way up there. As we drove around the little exit, I said, "You know, I could really go for Arby's." Just then, an Arby's sign appeared on the horizon. I then tried saying "You know, I could really go for $1 million", but it didn't work.
3. My favorite part of the week: when Ted and I arrived late Monday afternoon, we decided to do a test run of everything he would need to do Tuesday, so he would have a sense of how long it would take. The Chinese embassy is north of Georgetown, and the subway doesn't run up there, so we took the bus. I was trying to remember where the LUSH (my favorite store) is in D.C., and I thought it might be in Georgetown, so I told Ted to keep his eyes open. We didn't see it on the way out, but on the way back, I watched again. (I'm very stubborn, especially about LUSH.) I was talking to Ted about something, when all of a sudden, I smelled it. No kidding. From inside the bus. Now, if you've ever been to a LUSH, you know it has a very distinctive scent - all those yummy bubble baths and bath bombs and soaps. But still. I shrieked and made Ted get off the bus with me at the next stop. It was everything I hoped for. I got some new shampoo that, so far, I'm very happy with.
Oh, and Ted got his new passport and visa, obvs, and left for Asia on Saturday, where he is having a fantastic time. And hopefully buying me something fun as a thank-you. I'm hoping for the entire Arrested Development series, or maybe some jewelry like he got last time. I kind of think I might get something from LUSH, though.