March 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

My life began anew life as a tour guide, that is. This evening was the first day of my first student tour of the 2010 season! Hooray and hallelujah! Boy, it sure felt good to be back out there leading a group, telling them about our Nation's Capital and sharing the sights. And, I'm pleased to say, I've still got it! Sure, I spent a little time this morning going over my notes on the memorials and other sights, but once the group arrived, everything fell into place and I felt right at home.

The group I'm working with through Tuesday is from Idaho and it turns out that I've had them before. I kept thinking when I looked at the name of the middle school and the group leader that they sounded familiar, but when I looked back over last year's materials and schedule, they weren't there. So, there I was at Union Station, waiting for the group to arrive to have dinner, and as they stepped off the escalator, the group leader saw me, hollered out my name and gave me a big hug! I was right -- I did know them...but they were last here two years ago, not last year! They're from a small school and don't come every year. But they remembered me and requested me as their tour guide. I think that's the greatest honor and feedback that you can get from a group!

We had dinner at Uno Pizzeria (where I was very good on my diet), then headed for the World War II Memorial and Washington Monument. I could just feel that warm, familiar glow come over me as we drove around the city and saw all the buildings and memorials lit up. It doesn't matter how many times I see them -- and this is my fourth year as a guide -- it always sends a shiver up my spine. Washington, DC is a beautiful city, especially at night! Standing in front of the WW II Memorial, you can see the Washington Monument and all the way down to the Capitol looking east and a magnificent view of the Lincoln Memorial to the West. What a sight!

After that, we went over to the White House for a photo opportunity. The group leader had never seen it at night and was a little hesitant, but was delighted when she saw how beautiful it is all lit up. Of course, there were a gazillion pictures taken of the group in front of the White House -- heaven forbid they should actually share digital images! LOL! Every group I've been with is the same when it comes to that issue. You'd think they could designate one or two "official photographers" to take the group shots and pass them along to the rest, but everyone wants their own version on their own camera. It's okay, really. Some of them will never get another chance to come to Washington, so I want them to be happy!

That was it for tonight. These kids and adults have been up since 3:00 am Idaho time -- and with the switch to Daylight Savings Time, some of them never slept last night at all! They were beat, so the bus driver (one of my favorites) dropped me at Metro, I headed home and the group headed for the hotel. It's a very nice group -- fairly small and lots of adults (almost as many as there are students) and very well-behaved. I can't wait to meet them again tomorrow morning as we start a very long day with a stop at the Capitol Visitors Center.

I'm in the groove again and it feels great! I'm sure my attitude will be quite different by the time May and June roll around, but this is what I love to do and I'm glad it's started up again!