“There’s something about springtime in D.C. that makes me want to eat meat on a stick!” I laughed, as we passed about a dozen grills preparing various meat skewers, lo mein, fried rice, and pad thai. I’ve been a vegetarian for about seven years now, but who’s counting anyway?
After one of my fullest weeks at Hopkins this year, I decided to head in to Washington D.C. for one of the final weekends of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. With two exams, an essay, the first week of SOHOP, and registration for the fall semester finally over, I packed my polaroid camera with my sunglasses and made the trip into D.C. with my friends Ben and Cynthia.
After a short trip on the MARC train and a few stops on the red line of Washington D.C.’s Metro, we made our way to the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, which stretches six blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue. We got to play Japanese games, survey tents with various knick knacks, and find out more about Japanese history. I had the chance to meet up with my sister who goes to school in D.C., we sat in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue just eating lo mein and catching up.
At around 6PM when the festival closed, we made our way to the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin. It was in this location that 2,000 cherry trees were donated by the Japanese Embassy to President Taft over a hundred years ago. This weekend marked the anniversary of the agreement, and it was the height of the cherry blossom season, so the National Mall was busier than ever. People from around the world come to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms. Even though I tend to see the beauty in concrete and skyscrapers, the cherry blossoms really were breathtaking.
Escaping the fortress that my mind has been for the past week was just what I needed. The weather is improving and I think spring is finally here to stay. Having Washington D.C. so close made a much needed getaway possible and exploring off campus is never a bad idea when you have good people to do it with.
A lot has happened in these past few weeks. I thought that first semester would have all the twists and turns, and things would settle down in the spring. I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I think I’m a stronger person because of it. I’ve met people who have changed me and I hope I’ve done the same, but there’s no use wondering about the past or guessing what the future will hold. The cherry blossoms don’t last forever, and neither will this year. Pretty soon, the flowers will have fallen off the trees and a month from today, I’ll be on my way home.