Friday was one of those days that was just perfect; not the kind of perfect where there are no mishaps, but the kind where even though coffee gets spilled on a white shirt on the most important day (to-date) in my man’s FS career, and we walk so far our feet feel like they are splitting open, it is perfect nonetheless.
Friday was the day Travis was sworn in as a Foreign Service Specialist. And I could not have been more proud or happy had he been sworn in as the President. Well, maybe. Just kidding, Travis. But it would be really cool to get to wear an amazing inaugural gown like Michelle Obama’s, which we got to see yesterday. That woman has big feet- I think they are bigger than my sister’s!
The ceremony took place in the Benjamin Franklin dining room at the State Department. In that room hang 8 crystal chandeliers and there are marble columns around the perimeter with gold embellishment on top and in the center of the room is the seal of the US in gold. In that room and the adjacent rooms are items ranging from serving ware to tea service, to furniture and paintings dating from between 1740-1840. Thomas Jefferson’s own writing desk is there! And the design of it is something I’m not able to aptly describe. Later in the day we went to the Jefferson Memorial and judging from a kind of lap desk he designed, I wonder if the one at the State Department was actually designed by him as well.
We went potty in the Martha Washington ladies room, which has marble walls and floors and where everything is so lovely you really enjoy using the restroom.
We saw the painting, “The Landing of the Pilgrims.”
We gawked at silk draperies, perfectly corded and tassled, with a bald eagle regally looking out over the inhabitants of a space so pretty we had to make sure we weren’t drooling because that would be embarrassing.
After lunch we came home, changed into our cold-weather gear, or at least the closest thing we have to that. The temperature outside was in the mid 40s and there was a wind blowing that made it feel much cooler. But, we had decided to do something fun to top off the day and the something fun we had decided upon was a trip to the tidal basin to see the cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial.
A quick metro ride and a long walk later (really, it is only a mile but in the cold and wearing less-than-great shoes, it certainly felt longer) we arrived at the tidal basin. The cherry blossom trees are in full bloom right now and they look like puffed popcorn swinging from dark-trunked trees. What a sight! We stopped frequently for pictures, to let Sadie pick up fallen blossoms for her nature journal, and to just marvel at the beauty of it all.
When I think of the meaning of the trees- of the friendship between Japan and America- my heart swells even more for the Japanese people. Having lived there, I feel like I know a small something of the people who are suffering so much right now. I remember walking down streets lined with trees bursting their blooms in a quiet display of beauty. It is much like the Japanese people themselves: quiet, unassuming, but with a depth of love for others unmatched in any society I have yet been a part of.
And then to see the memorial itself, at sunset. Looking across the tidal basin we saw the golden streaks of sunlight beaming towards the Washington monument, with the sky that pink-fuschia-purple that is unreal in its boldness. We saw the sunlight shining through the pillars onto Jefferson’s statue. We froze, shivering on the marble bench, with runny noses and achy toes. (I have since thrown away those shoes.)
But, we were happy. Happy to be together, to be living a great life, to be together. I know I already said that. But that’s what it all comes down to. Travis is officially a part of the foreign service. But we are in it together.