Sometimes, escaping the stress of being a full-time student and full-time worker can be as simple as hopping on a Metro or getting in the car to leave town for a bit.

My mom came down to College Park to meet me for some city adventuring. We started in DC at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Walking around in the sunny, 60-degree weather almost instantly boosted my spirits, which lately had been pretty down. I’m in the home stretch of my capstone project, and while things are actually going quite well on that end, I can’t help but still be nervous about the end of grad school.

Anyway. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon, walking around downtown and checking out the cherry blossoms. I hadn’t seen them yet this season, so I was really glad that a recent storm hadn’t blown them all away. Look how gorgeous:

We couldn’t have picked a better day for walking around the Tidal Basin!

After a long walk, we stopped for coffee and tea before heading to our next stop of the day: Baltimore’s Light City. The annual light show turns the city into a festival of light displays and interesting sculptures. We didn’t stay for too long, but we wanted to watch my mom’s friend perform. She and some other people were doing tai chi with lights.

At the risk of sounding like I’m five years old, my favorite part of the night was trying out the light-up seesaws. The light bounced from end-to-end, depending on whether you were on the ground or in the air.

These light-up disks reminded me of lily pads.

I can’t forget to mention the grilled cheese we had! We stopped in Fed Hill for dinner and split a veggie grilled cheese sandwich and cream of tomato basil soup. Delicious! Also, this sign:

We ended up walking about 8 miles. Not too bad for a spontaneous day of adventuring!