Wednesday, September 05, 2012

30 By 30: Monument Walk


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.

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  1. I love this beyond belief. So many of my Big Moments happened for me as a GW undergrad at/around/in the monuments, drunk and sober. I decided to break up with my emotionally abusive high school boyfriend on a monument walk. One of my best friends came out to me on a monument walk. I trained for a half marathon running along the Mall. A daytime monument visit on a 4th of July (wasted) spawned a now-infamous video of me leading a LARGE pack of tourists in a rousing rendition of God Bless America. I ... just thanks for this post, I'm feeling very nostalgic for those times.

  2. These pictures are amazing! Sounds like a great way to say goodbye to a wonderful city.

  3. Sounds awesome, and the pictures are great, too! You do that with a point-and-shoot? Wow.

  4. I love this post so much. I only lived in DC for a couple of years after undergrad, but I have so many memories. It seems that a lot of my first major transitions happened in those two years in DC, many centered around monuments (drunk and sober). Thank you for this post. The photography is amazing and it was a wonderful walk down memory lane.

  5. sounds like a great time. I'd like to do one of those midnight walks... one day perhaps...