28th January 2022

Washington, DC, USA

We have been doing a lot the last three weeks here, and without being able to write every day it's beginning to blur into one big mish-mash of time. Life here feels quite 2019 only with a face mask 24/7. We can get out and about easily, pretty much everything is open and there's not much talk of the pandemic. The USA seems to be living with it and getting on with life as normally as possible. There are some rules in place in terms of vaccination here in DC but for the most part, things feel like they're ticking along. Hearing about home and how so many of our friends have been varying levels of sick makes us realize how lucky we have been with the transition over here.

Keeping three busy brains active has made life interesting. When they get bored, they fight and annoy each other for the fun of it and in turn drive me crazy. We haven't been able to put them into school for the main reason of not having a permanent home which in turn means no school zone. They also needed a break, especially after all the moving and life changes plus they know they should be on school holidays. Their well-being has been our main focus.

We have been out and visiting a lot of local places lately. Many are closed due to it being Winter and also being covid affected. The first weekend being here PPA USA was here in DC so I was able to go to my first American photographic trade show. It was filled with some of the trades I work with so it was exciting to meet them face to face. It was over in National Harbor and it snowed on the drive home. It was fantastic because the kids and hubs were allowed to get their own passes and come in with me.

The following weekend, our car nut of a son was busting to go to the Washington DC Auto show. It is one of the biggest car shows in the USA so we decided to give it a go. The convention centre was converted into a massive auto garage and over two floors we saw some incredible vehicles and upcoming concept cars. My personal favourite was the Toyota innovation hub as it took me back to my college days where we were always looking ahead with design and how these innovations could possibly make someone's life a little easier. The Tokyo Auto Salon was groundbreaking in its day and is still a bucket list item for me to attend one day. The kids loved Hank the robot at the Ford exhibit who talked to them and gave a short presentation.

I met Renee Cris the Artist on the lower level where she was part of the live art part of the convention. Her work is mixed media and she has a graphic art and pop culture feel to what she does. I love meeting other artists, and I was impressed because even though she was busy she still had time to stop and talk. 3/4 of the way through the day I said to bear, we couldn't get 10minutes of car hunting out of the kids but we have gotten five hours out of them in here... win win! Tt was apparently only there for the food haha but managed to sit in 100's of cars and even maybe enjoy herself.

Our favourite museum so far has been The Spy Museum. It is perfection. The kids loved it and so did mum. We were given identities, swipe cards, and a mission each for inside the museum My code word was SPARTAN but you can't remember that, ok? haha. As each of the kids had their own mission they read almost everything in the museum and interacted with all of the exhibits that they could swipe their cards on. We must have been in there a good four or five hours as it kept their focus so well.

We spent a few hours at the Natural History Museum, and the favourite area for the kids was the bug area. It is a fascinating place, however, my three had shorter attention spans that day and sped through many of the exhibits. We met an interesting couple who were hiding out from their day job in the museum. The guy said to me to make friends in DC because only half of the museum is on show to the public and some locals have their own private collections they might show us... mission accepted.

I know you're wondering about the Air and Space Museum... it's closed until March.

We headed out to the National Zoo last week and spent a day walking around in negative temperatures, but had the zoo to ourselves nearly. There were large areas of animals that had been moved away for the winter, but the animals that were there were still fascinating. Our favourite area was the Amazon exhibit which was both warm and inside... BUT it areas of it was open plan and the animals were in the trees above, swinging around in front of us and up close and personal. The reptile area adjoining the amazon area was fantastic and we spent hours in here looking at all the animals and froggies. The salamander was my favourite because he looked like he was smiling at us. We ended up walking about 9kms around the zoo and so we used the metro for the first time on the way home. I will note, getting there by Uber was frustrating. You can drive into paid parking, but not drop off. We were redirected out of the zoo to walk in from the gates but you're not allowed to walk up the driveway and there are no footpaths. Beaurocracy strikes again!

The metro on the way home was endless fun until we had to hop on the escalator of doom. There wasn't a lift to get us up so on we hopped... It must have been a good 4minutes to the top of the stairs and multiple panic attacks by kids various we made it out. It was steep. VERY Steep. But we lived to tell the story of the steps of doom haha.