The first leg of our trip has been nothing but a success! The Smithsonian Folklife festival invited us to help represent the Basque American Diaspora. We performed twice a day to hundreds of people who were curious and excited about the Basque culture. We were able to reunite with friends who were just in Boise the last year as participants of Jaialdi 2020 and made new friendships with other dance groups, musicians, and artists all over the world. We were also able to explore some of the finest museums and monuments in the United States. To escape the heat between performances, dancers explored the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, Natural History Museum and much more!
In the evening we visited the memorials. Will Overgaard, one of our chaperones on the trip, gave us a walking tour of the monuments that span the National Mall. We learned so much about our nation's history! After seeing the Washington Monument up close and then walking through the various war memorials we finally came upon the Reflecting Pool. This was the most beautiful and humbling experiences of my life. To know that I was standing where someone before me stood to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. was profoundly emotional. We then walked up to the Lincoln memorial. These grand monuments reminded me of how small I am, but also of how strong a group can be. Different groups in the Basque Diaspora as well as groups from the Basque Country came together to share and celebrate a vibrant culture that has endured its fair share of challenges. It reminded me of how honored I am to be a part of this culture and of how proud I am to be a part of the communities who continue to celebrate their roots.
With that being said... The Basque Country can't come soon enough!