Leaving the Owls Nest

The tour group poses for a photo. In the background there is the National Mall and the Capitol Building.

Leaving the Owl’s Nest shares the story of a trip to Washington, D.C.  Brandy Smith, Tiffany Smith, Tong Liu and other UMPI Owls spread their wings and flew to the nation’s capital.  The trip was a spectacular, cultural immersion for both Chinese and Americans on the trip.

For some of the Owls–senior Brandy and junior Tiffany–it was their first experience flying.  The nerves soon wore off as the trip began.  Anxiety turned to frustration dealing with the “Shuttle Saga,” Tiffany said.  Not enough seats prevented the nine from traveling together.  Fortunately, Uber is everywhere and the group members rendezvoused at their hotel.

At the hotel there were two rooms reserved: one for men and one for women.  In the hotel is where the group members did most their bonding.

The group made visits to the Newseum, where emotions ran high as the group toured exhibits for journalists lost in the line of work, and then in the Sept. 11 attacks.  “At all venues we visited, there was a recurring premise: you can kill the journalist, but not the story,” Brandy said.

The group also ventured to the Capitol building and two reflection pools.  The trip brought the group to Susan Collins’ office.  “We were so close you could touch the American government,” Tong said.

Some members of the group also went to the Holocaust Museum for a moving experience that will help them never forget the victims.

The group capped off their trip with an authentic Chinese meal, organized by Tong and the Chinese students on the trip.  “It was our way to return their favor and teach them something.  We are all so thankful for everything they have taught us,” Tong said.

It was a fitting, closing ceremony for an adventure to experience, explore and immerse themselves in a new place.  Even if cow lung and stomach weren’t exactly what some of them had in mind.