Washington DC, the Last Leg

Our final destination, other than perhaps a side trip to Graceland on our way home, was to visit Toyin’s sister in DC. I really like the feel of DC. It’s a great city. One of my favorite things about visiting big cities is that you can ride the train everywhere. It’s one of the appealing things about living in such an urban area.

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Annika’s first ride on the Metro.

This ride was on the way down to the tourist district of DC where we quickly walked through the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum.

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We then hit up the Mall and lo and behold, at the WWII Memorial, Texas and Michigan were right next to each other. We had to take a picture.

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We also saw Lincoln and MLK. Lincoln is favorite. But MLK was an inspired and a great addition to our country’s memories of stone.

But frankly, even though we saw much of our nation’s history on this leg of the trip, it’s very likely that Annika’s favorite memory of this part of the trip will be making a cake with her auntie.

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New York City

Our next stop in this trip after spending a couple more days in Ann Arbor, one of them with a sick kid, was New York City.

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Naturally, one of our first meals was Middle Eastern fare. I had a lamb shwarma with some hot sauce that was, dare I say, even better than some of the shwarma I’ve had in Detroit. One of the nice things about New York City is that you can get good food from just about any culture and it’s authentic and super delicious.

The second day we went to Coney Island and had a so-so hot dog and chili fries at the Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters.

The dog was okay, but what made the trip memorable was a sand castle she made with Toyin and then she got to pick two kiddie rides.

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Kiddie rides at Coney Island equal kiddie ecstasy.

The next day on the way to see the Statue of Liberty, she got to have a New York City pretzel. It did not disappoint. But she didn’t like the salt, which is funny because I remember feeling the same way as a kid when I had my own sampling of NYC pretzel. I like it now, so the salted parts of pretzel did not go to waste.

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We hit up the Statue of Liberty on our way out of town. So we didn’t take a tour, but instead rode the Staten Island ferry, which was free and just as fun as taking a tour boat.

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We are now in Washington DC, the last leg!

It’s Good to be in Detroit

Detroit doesn’t have a great reputation, even amongst those who live in the metro Detroit area. But it’s got some good qualities. Every time I’m in town, I just feel like I am home again. And I’m always reminded of the reasons I stayed for so long. And eventually, I’m reminded of the reasons I left.

We are in Ann Arbor at the moment, Annika woke up this morning with her very first ear infection! Ah, but that’s another post.

We spent the first part of this week in a suburb of Detroit, with friends. And we made a couple of brief trips into the city to see a few things and enjoy some food that only this city can offer.

In part, one of the reasons we made this trip was to visit one of my best and dearest girlfriends, who is like a sister to me. She has three children (and surprised to learn another on the way!).

Last time we were in town, Annika didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with the oldest two boys who are 4 and 3. This time, they had a blast. The oldest proclaimed that he’d like us to stay for seven weeks. And Annika cried when we left.

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We had wonderful fun and as always, it didn’t seem like long enough. While we have many good friends in Austin and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, there’s just nothing like an old friend who knows all your dirty secrets, loves you still and now is now sharing motherhood.

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While we were staying with our friends, we wandered downtown to see Toyin’s favorite sculpture, he calls it the gateway to Detroit. It’s actually a memorial to the labor movement, a part of American history homegrown in Detroit.

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Finally, one of my favorites, pizza with feta cheese, made at a Greek restaurant named Nikki’s. Not only is this one of my favorite Detroit delicacies, but the restaurant holds many fond memories.

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Yes, Detroit may be dirty and corrupt. It’s old and tired. But every time we visit I see a glimmer of hope and history. I don’t think it’s quite done for just yet.

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The First Leg

If you’ve never made a double digit hour long road trip with a young child, it is possible.

We hit the road around 630 p.m. on Friday night and drove for about eight hours, stopping only for gas and bathroom until around 3 a.m. when we decided, against Toyin’s wishes, to get a hotel. We all slept for about six hours and then we got up, dressed and hit the road again.

The original plan was to drive for 12 hours the first night, rest at a hotel for the day and then drive another 12 hours.

To be honest, it was only partially Annika’s fault that we stopped. I have a hard time sleeping in the car and she woke up cranky when we stopped for gas. It just so happened that in the next parking lot was a hotel.

That was in Tulsa.

The next day, we stopped for gas and lo and behold, I learned an interesting alcohol related fact. One can buy liquor in gas stations in Oklahoma.

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It doesn’t really surprise you that my first photo was of alcohol, does it?

We drove for another six hours and then stopped for dinner and leg stretching in St. Louis.

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Then today, we spent with Grandma in Ann Arbor at the Children’s Museum, which surpasses the Children’s Museum in Austin by about a million.

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