Washington DC: Glory of the Capital

a2I just got back from a trip to Washington DC. It was a trip I took with my campus youth group, called Campus Out Reach. I could write pages on pages on what I learned, but for this post I’m going to talk about what I did instead, and come back to the rest later. It was a conference so a lot of time was spent inside the large and nice hotel. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. It was in the China Town district, so almost every restaurant we ate at also was titled with Chinese characters. The food was amazing, but my favorite was a very low key sandwich shopped called Potbelly. As a friend said, “It has to be good if it’s going to give you a potbelly.”

aa1Now, we walked into classic downtown DC also, with the pillars and the stonework, along with the museums. We didn’t actually go to any monuments (at least my group didn’t) because we had almost all been to DC before and had already site seen in the past, so we stuck to seeing the Air and Space museum and things like the Declaration of Independence  a3 a5 a6 Untitled-1On of my favorite things about DC is the amount of sculptures and statues scattered around the city. There’s art everywhere, inside and outside the exhibits. We saw a lot of them just by strolling around the city, though I will admit, my feet are not very happy with me right now, between the late night New Year’s conference and city exploring.

So, I’ve been three times now, and if I were to tell you one thing to go see while you were in DC it wouldn’t be the the most typical, it would be either the natural science museum, holocaust museum, or the Vietnam war memorial. The natural science museum was my favorite of the main museums, and that probably has a lot to do with my love for animals and how amazing this world actually is by nature. The holocaust museum was hard emotionally to walk through, I had the lump in my throat the entire time and felt a little sick, but I honestly think it’s an experience that people should have. You learn a lot and it gives you a really good sense of humanity and good verses evil. It’s a really moving place. The Vietnam memorial is along the same lines, but not quite as unsettling. I think it was really well thought out, and though it isn’t this beautiful thing to take pictures of like some of them, it’s very strong and holds so much history. I really enjoyed it the most.

a9a8Much love from Guilford College’s group at the Campus Outreach New Year Concert!

Gastonia, North Carolina

a6a2Every year we go over to Gastonia to celebrate Christmas with my extended family. It was a long time favorite of mine growing up because my dad’s uncle used to run a dairy farm, and we’d get to spend the time playing with the cows both young and old. We were even allowed to milk them. It was great fun I assure you. But about two to three years ago they retired, meaning the cows were sold and the land has been left behind. I haven’t thought much about it, but today when I got out of the car, I noticed how beautiful everything was now that it had gotten the chance to overgrow. So I grabbed my two cousins after dinner and made them go out exploring with me. I couldn’t resist, and I knew there was a reason I brought my camera.
a3a5a4a9It’s pretty amazing how nature takes back everything even in just a couple of years. I’ve always been a bit admired with abandoned amusement park and theater buildings that you see in all these really famous photo sets. It somehow captures me.a11 Untitled-2 Untitled-3It was a good day, full of exploring, playing soccer, and good snacks. I hope everyone else is having a good start to this weekend!

© Anna Katherine Oates, 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Adventure Cycle

How many times have I been guilty of saying “there’s nothing to do”?
Way to many times for my liking.
Well, I was wrong, like every other half bored young adult sitting in bed surfing the web.
There is something to do.
Adventure is actually one of the easiest things to find, and this is one of those facts that I wasn’t aware of till this semester. I go on adventures, sure, but I always believed that I kind of stumbled into them. I never thought about the fact that I could go out and find them for myself.
That’s changed for a few reasons.
For starters I’ve made more friends. The more social I am the less time I spend on the internet. The less time I’m on the internet the more time I spend outside. The more time I spend outside the more time I spend exploring. The more time I spend exploring the better outlook I have on the world. The better my outlook on the world is the more I decide to try new things in order to be part of the world. Trying new things means adventure, and making more friends.
See the cycle here?
I’m going to call it the adventure cycle.
Anyways, the other reason I have is that my definition of adventure has changed a bit since I was fresh out of high school. This is the one I’m going by now:
Adventure (verb): 
1. To take a risk.
2. To venture upon
I think adventure is venturing upon, to dig into this and discover while having a great time. I like to think of adventures as quests with no goal in mind. But the risk taking part, well, that’s how you get to find the adventure in the first place is it not? Trying new things, putting herself out over a cliff just to test the air. You can always crawl back in, but that risk might change you, it might lead you down a new trail. That’s the beauty of adventure. It can lead to so very much.

This Time During Freshman Year: Barcelona, Spain

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a fair bit, much thanks to my aunt who lived in Switzerland for twelve years. And you know, once you’re in Europe most everything is just a train ride or short trip away. So over my winter break I hijacked my aunt, uncle, and cousins vacation and we headed off to Barcelona.
IMG_2415IMG_2413  Switzerland-Spain 052The city did not let me down. It was beautiful and very much so alive. Not only did I get to see some of the worlds most unique and interesting architecture (Sagrada Família, anyone?!) but I had a great time with family that I don’t get to see anymore. Let me tell you, the food was on point, getting used to the timing of Spanish dinners was a challenge but eating all the food put in front of me was not.
Switzerland-Spain 092 Switzerland-Spain 105 Switzerland-Spain 146We spent a lot of time shopping too, and I came home with a few interesting articles of clothing, but sadly nothing that screamed Spain! I did however get another charm for my charm bracelet. I’ve bee collecting them from all the places I’ve traveled and it’s starting to fill up. So, even though I was missing the unique products, I can back with a lot of amazing pictures and great memories. Did you know it’s tradition in Spain to try and shove twelve (huge) grapes in your mouth in the twelve seconds leading up to midnight on new years?  It’s supposed to bring you good luck if you succeed. I did, but I think I was lucky enough just to be in Spain.
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