Oberlin Blogs

Ms. McLaughlin goes to Washington

November 1, 2010

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Like Tess, during Fall Break I also went to Washington, D.C., and I also attended that rally. I call it "that rally," because I didn't fully understand it, and I still don't. I don't watch The Daily Show, and I'm still not sure which one is Jon Stewart and which one is Stephen Colbert. And I had to Google those names to make sure I spelled them correctly. Mainly, I went to Washington to spend some time with friends and to look at the statues of John Hanson, Brigham Young, Helen Keller, and Robert E. Lee in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Unfortunately, that was the one part of the trip that didn't happen.

Here's what did happen, though:

Two students sit at a table and read

We studied. We were staying with one of my Oberlin friend's friends from high school (confusing?) who goes to Georgetown University. He had a paper to write. We had our own assorted pieces of work to do over break, mine mainly being finishing that Shansi application. We all went to the library and did our work.

A monument of a man on a horse

We walked. A lot. Washington D.C. does have a nice public transportation system, but it's easier to see a city when you're walking, and we had time, so hour-long walks to get from one place to another were fine. And while we walked, we were treated to sights such as this: Simón Bolívar. I only know who he is because in ninth grade Global History I had to do a presentation on him.

Disheveled books at a tree trunk

This is another sight we were treated to, and this is one that I cannot explain. There were books on the side of the road. Some of them had notes in them, but the notes were nonspecific as to what was going on with the books.

A memorial with water fountains
A monument with water fountains

We went to the World War II Memorial. This was opened in 2004, so--since I hadn't been to D.C. in a while--I'd never seen it before. I actually didn't even know it existed, but I saw a sign for it and excitedly dragged my friends along with me. Let me explain. Lately in Nonfiction, everything has connected back to World War II in some way. This isn't a new phenomenon. I tend to write about World War II a lot, in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It only made sense to go see the memorial.

A museum with dinosaur skeletons

We went to the National Museum of Natural History. I felt like I was back at the museum where I worked over the summer, except on a grander scale. Those are dinosaurs, folks. Those are dinosaurs. I'd forgotten how much I wanted (still want?) to be a palentologist.

A turtle skeleton
A very large pre-historic fish skeleton

I kept saying, "I picked the wrong major," over and over and over.

Platypus skeleton

The platypus: coolest animal ever?

Rocks on display

Quartz, my favorite mineral ever, and the Hope Diamond, together in one room. Really, I'm not sure what more you could ask for.

A protest with people holding signs

Also, we did go to the rally. I won't go into details, because anything that you can find on YouTube is going to be more descriptive than what I, myself, saw or heard. There were a lot of people. I could see nothing. I could hear almost nothing. But there were some good signs.

A sign that reads "down with this sort of thing"
photo by Mariko Meyer

I brought along two signs that said "Down with this sort of thing" and "Careful now." Bonus points if you get the reference.

A partially eaten plate filled with chicken and carrots

And, of course, there was also food. Here we have satay. While not among my top three favorite foods, this still is pretty high up on my list.

Three cupcakes
photo by Amy Huang

And here we have cupcakes from the (apparently) famous Georgetown Cupcake. I'll be a curmudgeon and say that they were overpriced. But they also were quite tasty. I had the pumpkin spice flavor.

A government building with columns
photo by Amy Huang

And we visited the steps of the Supreme Court. Does that roof look familiar?

Shingled roofs
photos by Amy Huang and Meskarune

It should. Both the Supreme Court and Asia House (and Finney Chapel and other assorted Oberlin buildings) were designed by architect Cass Gilbert. Yes, we three former/current Asia House residents did go see the Supreme Court specifically for that reason.

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