Museums, food, streets festivals, and fun miscellaneous stuff

This work week is one day shorter than usual, as we had Monday off from work because of Columbus Day. Columbus Day is a federal holiday, but not everyone had a day off – it depends on your employer. There is also an ongoing discussion of changing the name to Indigenous People’s Day instead, to celebrate the natives of this country instead of the colonizer. The city council of DC actually voted on this issue, and this year Columbus Day was celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day here in DC. I fully support that!

So much has been going on again, and I’m struggling to keep up with the blog because I want to write about everything I’m doing so as not to forget it, to leave it undocumented. I am going to write a separate post about places outside of DC I’ve visited so far, but here is an overview of some fun things I’ve been up to the past month:

I’ve visited three museums so far…

National Portrait Gallery – The National Portrait Gallery hosts the Presidential Portraits, and these were the main reason why we went, even though we also checked out the other exhibitions. The Presidential Portraits are just what they sound like – portraits of the former Presidents of the United States. Obama’s was definitely the coolest one. There is also a portrait of Michelle Obama at another floor, and that one was cool too! We just had a bit of trouble finding it, despite the signs. 😀

American Indian Museum – The American Indian Museum tells the story of the Native Americans. The building itself is beautiful and a bit peculiar, and I have walked past it many times and thought to myself that I want to go visit. The museum was good, and I especially liked how they told the stories of the colonization from both the Native Americans’ perspective, as well as the settlers’ perspective. That way both sides were given a voice, and you could see how history mostly tells the tale of the victorious.

Holocaust Museum – The first non-Smithsonian museum visit in DC for me. We went together with my roommate and spent the whole afternoon there – it’s very well done and definitely worth a visit.

President Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, the facade of the American Indian Museum and the entrance to the exhibition at the Holocaust Museum

…had a lot of good food, with some particular highlights…

Mikko – There is one Nordic restaurant in this city, and that is Mikko. It’s a small restaurant and café where you can buy rye bread, Karelian pies and Moomin mugs – and get a stomachful of good food too! I had a delicious mushroom pasta, but what made me most happy was the rye bread that accompanied the pasta. I really miss rye bread. The American wheat toast is not my favorite thing in the world, however “multigrain” it may be advertised to be…

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – If you want to have an abundance of choice when pondering over ice cream flavors, Jeni’s Ice Cream is your place! There was a line coming out of the front door, but the (relatively short) wait was worth it – the ice cream is delicious.

Cactus Cantina – I ventured out from my normal hoods and took a trip up to Cathedral Heights to have dinner with some fellow Finnish interns one Friday night. What waited at Cactus Cantina were large portions of Mexican food and frozen Margaritas! I also had the chance to see The Washington National Cathedral for the first time, and I have to say it looked quite magnificent in the evening light.

Mikko’s front yard with cozy lights, my ice cream at Jeni’s, and the Washington National Cathedral

…gone to two street festivals…

H Street Festival – The H Street Festival is an annual festival that closes H Street for 12 consecutive blocks for one Saturday. It was a hot day and the three of us going had to buy hats to survive in the sun, but apart from that, it was a fun festival – lots of different stands selling everything from, well, hats, to clothes to mugs to food. And there was the occasional fortune teller, too!

Fall Festival – Our neighborhood had its own fall festival, and I went to check it out with my roommate. It was nothing compared to the H Street Festival, but it’s fun when things are happening in your neighborhood.

The crowd at the H Street Festival

…and also done a bunch of random fun stuff

Movie night at the Embassy – The Embassy of Finland hosts occasional move nights with movies from Finland. This time they were showing the movie Aurora, which is about a Finnish girl living in Rovaniemi who meets an asylum seeker from Iran. It was a really good movie, and even though heavy issues such as alcoholism and depression were present in the movie, the main theme was love, and it made you laugh. I recommend it!

The Democratic Debate – The Democratic Party is preparing to select their presidential candidate for the elections in 2020 with a series of debates. This past Tuesday 12 candidates met for the fourth debate, and we watched it together with my roommates. Fortunately, I have really great (American) roommates who don’t mind me asking questions about certain issues or for example vocabulary (especially the American health care system is such a jungle of different terms I don’t know the meaning of), and it was fun watching the debate together and getting their take on the issues at hand.

Friday’s for Future – When Greta Thunberg was in town, I took a walk on my lunch break to check out the demonstration in front of the White House that she had initiated . I was glad to see so many young (and older, too) people there to support the fight against climate change! On the other hand, I thought to myself while there that the demonstration also could have been bigger, but I heard afterwards that there apparently had been a bigger crowd, so maybe I just missed the peak.

The monuments at night – One thing people say that you should do in DC is to walk around the monuments at night. We went together with my roommate one night, and yes, it’s magnificent. All the monuments are beautifully lit, and you can stroll along the National Mall to take it all in. When we arrived at the Washington Monument, we saw a bunch of people lying on their backs with their feet up against the wall of the monument. So of course we had to try it out too! But don’t go to the White House during the night expecting something spectacular, because it’s not lit at all.

The flags at the Embassy of Finland, a sign at the Friday’s for Future demonstration, the Lincoln Memorial seen behind the World War II Memorial, and my roommate and me trying the cool thing all the other kids were doing at the Washington Monument

So, those are the main highlights from the past month or so. The upcoming weekend I’m going with some friends to Shenandoah National Park, but more about that in another post!


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