With the exception of the cities that I have lived in, Washington DC is the place I have visited most often. I first came her in elementary school (can't remember if a convention with my dad or the 6th grade Spring Trip was the first time), and my graduate school education was in nearby Towson since then I must have been a dozen times. I have close friends here from elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school. Both of my college room-mates live here (in fact, I am typing this from one of their couches). I've attended conferences here, I've celebrated here, nursed a broken heart here, explored here, and now been part of an enormous circus festival here.
I know the city well. I've spent hours on my own exploring. I've enjoyed the food, the museums, the bookstores, the architecture. I've spent hours taking with friends here — and this trip has been no exception.
What has been different this time is sharing it with a fantastic, curious 9-year old (as well as my amazing husband of course). Seeing things through her eyes, enjoying lemonade and creampuffs, taking in a ghost tour, touring the Capitol, eating at Busboys and Poets, watching fireworks, discovering the magic of the Smithsonian — that has all been great (plus exploring some new parts; the Arts and Industries Building and the Castle are open for the first time in my life).
And seeing it all through a circus lens has been amazing. More on that later, but I can't imagine a more wonderful celebration of the circus arts.
Tonight I was discussing with friends what a hard place DC can be to live in, and I can see that. But I have to admit, it's a pretty magical place to visit.