Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cherry blossoms are starting to bloom.

Today is the one month anniversary of our arrival to Arlington, VA. Ashley left me. That sounds bad...I'll try again. Ashley went to New York this weekend to start taking classes to get pilates certified. So, I'm here alone.

It was a monumental day for me today. After going through over a month of ultimate (frisbee) withdrawals, I was finally able to join my new team, Snack Pack. We played a team called Creampuff Johnnys at Montgomery Hills Junior High in Silver Spring, MD. It was a little cold, but overall a great day for throwing the disc around. My one-month layoff was pretty evident. It was hard to breathe. My only saving grace was a layout catch in the end zone right before half time to give our team an 8-6 lead. We ended up winning pretty decidedly, 15-8. DC Ultimate...check!

On my drive home, I decided to swing by DuPont Circle in search for this...

Found it. Real World XXIII, DC house...just like on MTV. Sweet. Afterwards, I had a Chipotle burrito and a frisbee nap to keep with Saturday ultimate tradition.

Have you ever heard of the Cherry Blossom Festival? Me neither until I moved here. But everyone's been hyping it up since we got here. Apparently a pretty big deal. Ninety-eight years ago, the Japanese gave 3,000 trees as a gift to the city of Washington D.C.

Today, I was able to go to the Opening Ceremony & Reception at the National Building Museum. It was nice...crowded. Today kicks off the 16-day festival when the Cherry Blossom trees bloom to cover the tidal basin with pink and white. The highlight was this Japanese pianist, Tempei. You should click on that link and then come back and continue reading this blog. Just let it play in the background if you can.

After that I decided to go on a little stroll down to the tidal basin to see what all the fuss was about. I guess this is what all the fuss was about...

It was beautiful and peaceful since most of the crowd had gone home already. We're not even in peak bloom yet. April 1st & 2nd are supposed to be the best days. It's probably too late to plan trips for this year's bloom season, but plan for it in 2011. You'll have a place to stay!

Last night, I was able to attend the Czech Embassy for a night of Czech Music from Prague, Terezin, and New York as part of the Embassy Concert Series. It was a very unique experience. Amazing. It was like I was sitting in a living room listening to world class music being played live. I never knew I could appreciate the violin, cello and piano so much. I also learned the historical relevance of the music they played. The pieces and stories from the Terezin concentration camps were especially moving. After the show, we were able to interact with the artists.

That's Jerome Barry (host), Valeriya Sholokhova (cello), Yuval Waldman (violin) and Tomas Visek (piano).

So the first month's come and gone. Work is going well...keeping me VERY busy. Ashley starts work this week! Yay, we're dual-income again! I feel like there is still so much to see, do and experience here. We've only just started. I miss our friends and family at home...COME VISIT US ALREADY!! Ashley's parents are going to be in town next week. Can't hardly wait.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flights to DC

If anyone wants a cheap flight to come visit the beautiful District of Columbia, click on the link below :)

Jetblue also has some even cheaper flights if you just search their schedules.

Monday, March 22, 2010

From Adam's Morgan to Alexandria

Phew... We had a jam-packed weekend! Since we still don't have any friends yet, we took advantage of the amazing weather (70's and sunny) to explore some more of the city.

To start off, last week I got a job! Yay. After interviewing at several places, I decided on a gym a few blocks from capitol hill called Vida Fitness where I will be training government employees, lobbyists and lawyers. Should be interesting :) Mark's work is busy of course but he really likes what he is doing.

So this weekend was awesome. On Friday night, we decided to venture to a blues bar called Madam's Organ located in Adam's Morgan. We metroed into Dupont and then walked a while to Adam's Morgan which apparently has quite the nightlife. We passed at least a dozen places to eat that look amazing and we definitely want to go back to the area to eat (Amsterdam Falafel's!!) After enjoying the four story bar, live blues music, a cocktail and some snacks, we took off for home. When we have friends, it will be fun to go there with them :) Btw, Mark was REALLY excited about the fact that the Real World house (from this season) is really close to Dupont Circle and I think he is going to freak out when we see it. Simple pleasures.

On Saturday, we woke up and Mark went to his first Grand Opening for Wachovia (a Wells Fargo Company) over here on the East Coast. I went and took class at the Dance Place with Deborah Riley. Love her! After we both got home, we went to the National Archive Museum to see the "Charters of Freedom" and the Magna Carter. It was pretty amazing and sad at the same time because some of the documents were barely legible anymore. Long lines... reminded me of Disneyland. Turns out the weekend are packed around here with crazy tourists. I just pretend that we aren't tourists anymore even though we pretty much are. But seriously... Stand on the right and walk on the left, people!!! OH, AND before we went to the archives, we ran into some high school kids who had one of those parachute things from kindergarten. I REALLY wanted to run through it so we went over there and they let us do it. THEN, we saw our first presidential motorcade drive-by. It was awesome!!

We then went to the Mall to enjoy the sun and it was SOOO nice. We had lots of fun taking pictures and people watching (Mark calls it "staring").  Went to dinner at Sei. Two words: Expensive! Delicious!! We had their version of hot and sour soup, Fish and Chips Roll (Sushi) and this other roll with fish, strawberries and avocado (weird combo but great!) and then some marinated steak with frites. Forgot to take pictures... shoot. We were planning on a cheaper dinner so we stopped there and looked for some frozen yogurt. We found a place called Fro-Zen-Yo, a self-serve yogurt place but the yogurt was NOT as good as Yogurtland. Do not be fooled. :(

Sunday was a great day. We went to the same church as last week and still liked it. THEN we took the metro to Foggy Bottom, shuttled to the Kennedy center (free), walked to Thompson Boat Center and rented bikes ($15 for the day)!! They were basically one-speed beach cruisers but they did the job. We took the Mount Vernon trail 10 miles down to Old Town Alexandria!! It was so beautiful. We could see the monuments from the trail, passed by Reagan National Airport where a bunch of families were watching planes land and we traveled down the Potomac on the path. We saw SOO many bikers and joggers. I counted 287 joggers and 190 bikers... jk, I didn't count. But there were a lot. Alexandria was so pretty! I loved all of the 3 story houses side by side with cute doors and windows. We ate at the Pita House which had YUMMY lebanese food. Their shawarmas were so good and hit the spot after the bike ride. People EVERYWHERE were walking around eating ice cream too. It looked so good on the warm day but we resisted. Next time. We took some more fun pictures and then rode home stopping by the Lincoln Memorial. Last time we were there it was covered in snow so it was SO different to see it without snow. We need to get bikes...

So that's that. It was a great weekend but we really need to start making some friends. I am thinking church and ultimate frisbee may provide the resources. We'll see. Mark has his first league game with a frisbee team called "Snack Pack" next weekend. I hope we meet some fun peeps.

And here are some bonus pictures of Julia, my sister's baby. She turned 6 months old this week and I love her.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Full Weekend in DC

Friday night:
Put together our desk... well most of it. We finished putting it together on Saturday morning.

Finished desk and unpacked some more stuff.
Took the metro into the city to eat at The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe. The food was just fine. It was basically a food court in the American Indian Museum. Probably wouldn't go back to the cafe. 
Went to the Air and Space Museum but only got to see a few exhibits before we had to head back home to get ready for Mark's work recognition event, Candlelight and Silver. The event was at The Riverbend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls, VA. This area has the most expensive mansions on acres and acres of land. These houses were INCREDIBLE, enormous and beautiful. Just ridiculously extravagant. 
I got to meet Mark's Region President and coworkers and everyone was really nice. 
When we got home, we crashed.

Daylight savings!! Had to adjust yet again to a time difference even though it was only an hour. 
We woke up and went to church across the street at the Regal Cinema (that's right, a movie theatre) at the Ballston Common Mall... National Community Church. The service was great and we met some nice people. They passed around the popcorn bucket for the "offering" and we got our newcomers welcome boxes as seen in the picture. We both really liked it and will definitely go back next week. 
We then went into the city to see the St. Patrick's Day parade but missed it so we went to the Natural History Museum instead. We only got to see the mammal's exhibit before we had to head to the Harman Center for the Arts to see CityDance perform (performance included two Paul Taylor pieces). Next we met up with Mark's friend Mary from Chapman for some Tea at Teaism at Penn Quarter, blocks away from the Capitol. Although we only had drinks, it looked like they had some good food including breakfast/brunch... yum!! We headed to dinner at Matchbox, Vintage Pizza Bistro which had some unique beers on tap and unique pizza selections. Mary gave us a list of good recommendations that we are going to try and check out over the next few weeks! Can't wait to explore some more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I don't have a lot of pictures right now of our last week of fun. Please send me pictures if you have some from this weekend :)

On Saturday, Mark and I woke up early, grabbed our "luggage" (aka back packs), hopped on the Orange line to Metro Center & caught the BoltBus DC to NY. Fortunately, we had Mark's iPhone and we were able to show the driver our confirmation email since I forgot to print it out ahead of time. Oops. The bus was nice, plug-ins and WIFI although Mark and I didn't get to sit together because we had to wait to the end of the line because of said confirmation problems. After a four hour ride, we were dropped off somewhere in the middle of downtown and we both felt like deer in the headlights as we stood on the corner trying to figure out where the heck we were. After probably 30 minutes, we eventually figured out how to maneuver the spiderweb of subway trains to get to Brooklyn. By this point, we were starving and my laptop was beginning to weigh me down more than I could stand. We arrived in beautiful Brooklyn (not the nice part) and had to walk several blocks to our BEAUTIFUL (sense the sarcasm) HIE (aka Holiday Inn Express) to which Mark said, "Next time, I will book the hotel". Thanks a lot Priceline

Finally, we made it back into the city. We visited Tarik and Drea's hotel (The Standard) which was AH-MAZING, found a pizza place that wasn't amazing and therefore warrants no hyperlink and watched Backhausdance at the Joyce Soho. We had plans to visit Ippudo and Lombardi's (first pizza place in NYC) neither of which panned out. We stayed up late walking around in the freezing cold with friends and caught a cab (a black one which apparently you aren't supposed to take, but it was fine) back to Brooklyn. 

I love New York but as we spent some time there, I began to appreciate a few things about DC:
  • the subways are clean
  • the subways are not a convoluted mess of lines, numbers, colors, etc.
  • a "block" in DC generally isn't a mile long
So this week I had a job interview with Vida Fitness as a master trainer and I got the job if I want it. We'll see. Yesterday, I met up with Tarik and Drea at the American History Museum, highlights: enormous, very old, Star Spangled Banner & George Washington statue. We then visited the Natural History Museum which was AWESOME but we only got to see the gems/stones area and the insects/butterflies. I have to go back!! Last night we went to the Gibson, an amazing lounge with old-fashioned cocktails, sours, fizzes, etc. and then we went to the POV bar at the W Hotel with an amazing view of the monuments. 

AND lastly, today I showed up technically both one day late AND one day early for the same interview at a dance studio. Major miscommunication... don't ask. But I took the Metrobus for the first time and it was successful. Tonight Mark is in Charlotte, NC for a meeting and I am ALL alone.