I’m always a little hesitant to write about traveling while we’re still out on the trip, since it does put out there in public that our house is empty (even if we have people coming over multiple times a day to care for pets). But now that we’re back home, it’s worth a review of the past 9 days.

National History Day National Competition
Our youngest daughter, Katie, just finished her first year of high school. For the second year she competed in National History Day, where she researched a historical topic (this year: the codebreakers of Bletchley Park) and wrote and performed a 10-minute monologue on the topic. She took second at state this year, which qualified her for nationals. So, we took Katie and Anwyn to the DC area for the contest. (Laura is in Nebraska for the summer, working… we missed her!)

NHD nationals are hosted at the University of Maryland. We stayed in the dorms there for 4 nights, from which I draw two observations: 1) cafeteria food has improved a lot since I went to college; 2) I’m too old for dorm living. The days that Katie wasn’t competing we took the Metro down into DC and played tourist. I think the Museum of Natural History got the highest praise from our crew, though Katie was very excited to go to the International Spy Museum and see actual Enigma and Lorenz encoders after having researched them all year!

Katie’s performance went very well, but she didn’t make it into the top 10 to perform again in the finals. We opted out of the 4-hour award ceremony (so many categories! so many medals to hand out!) and headed down to Georgetown where she had a college visit scheduled. Three years ahead isn’t too early to start planning, I guess. The G’town campus is beautiful. Katie knows she’s gonna have to work hard if she wants to be able to make it into a school like that. I am confident that she will.

New York City
Friday morning we got in our rental car and drove up to Manhattan. I’m the only one of the family that had been to NYC before, so we decided a long weekend would be a good time. And it was. We visited museums and memorials, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, did some shopping, ate too much good food, and one night Becky and I made a late night (for us old folks!) outing to the Blue Note to see Wynton Marsalis and his Future of Jazz Septet play. They were fantastic. We spent Sunday hanging out with some friends who came up from New Jersey, and had a great time wandering around Midtown and Central Park.

Monday morning I woke up to a notification that our 5pm flight out of LaGuardia was already delayed an hour. Thankfully I was able to get us rebooked on a flight that left a little earlier, took a more direct route home, and got us home an hour earlier than scheduled (and 2 hours earlier than we would have on the delayed flights!). It is very good to be home. Becky did the math and reported we walked more than 50 miles over the past nine days… there’s a reason my feet are sore. But it was a delightful family trip, and I’m very glad we were able to make it work this year.