After 11 years in D.C., it was really, truly hard to say goodbye. I know I will still continue to see my amazing friends, and I hope they will all come to visit here for weekends (one already has!), but it will never be the same as meeting up after work for happy hour or kickball or trivia nights. While we certainly added to the group over the years, my core group of D.C. friends were all from undergrad, so for my going away festivities, I decided to go back to our undergrad roots with a drunken midnight monument walk.
Midnight monument walks are certainly up there on the list of things I will miss the most about D.C.
Sober, there is an unbelievable sense of peace and awe walking around the empty monuments lit up at night. I remember freshman year, wandering down to the Lincoln Memorial shortly following September 11th with a new group of friends and lying down on the floor, reading the Emancipation Proclamation, etched in giant marble letters, out loud to each other. My senior year, struggling with the decision of where to go to grad school, my best friend suggested an after-dark monument walk to just chat about pros and cons while we strolled through the city.
Drunken, that sense of peace and awe is still present… with a little bit of laughing and inappropriateness on the side. As undergrads, it was an inexpensive source of entertainment (and perfect for underage participants) – pack up a portable beverage of choice (traditionally a 20 oz bottle of diet coke, half he diet coke poured out and filled with rum) and set off for an evening of mischief. Sometimes, it would be a big group and we’d sit along the tidal basin and laugh for hours; other times, only two or three of us, and we’d talk about big life experiences and our goals for the future. Either way, I’d always return home in the wee hours of the morning wondering what I did to deserve such amazing friends.
I didn’t take too many pictures at my farewell monument walk, mostly because my dSLR has a sensor broken beyond repair leaving me with just a point and shoot, and after buying a house, there is no money in the “camera replacement” fund… but thankfully, memories last a lifetime, and I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to some of the very best friends I will ever have.