Tag Archives: Childhood

Air and Space Museum- My Favorite Childhood Memories

National Air and Space Museum

By Siddhi: 

After years of treading through the earth of our world’s ancient civilizations and culture hunting for significant historical landmarks that always make it onto UNESCO’s list of must-see places, the city that remains the most precious in my heart is our nation’s capital. My strong attachment to Washington DC over all the other places I’ve seen likely stems from the experience of being born and raised during the early years of my life in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a short metro ride away from the heart of the most giving city I’ve had had the privilege of knowing. Growing up, I never tired of my ventures into the Smithsonian complex even though I had already seen the museums a million times before. Every visit rekindled my childhood love for exploration and discovery. And the place that I can singlehandedly attribute for kicking off my still-burning passion for adventuring beyond the realms I know is the National Air and Space Museum.

I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of an infinite universe existing beyond myself. My Star Wars obsession aside, the intrigue of outer space has been a part of my mental language since early elementary years, leading to stories and entire amusement parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon being themed to extraterrestrial life and intergalactic voyages. The Air and Space Museum was an aspiring explorer’s utopia, a literal and metaphorical playground for my dreams that simultaneously provided a solid educational experience. From the first class IMAX shows that blew away the film offerings at any museum I’ve visited to the real space shuttle models that allowed me to be an invincible space explorer, so much of what I saw and did here became indelible marks in the timeline of my youth.

But unlike other places that fade into memory as we grow, the Air and Space Museum never become a fad. When I walked through the doors as an eleventh grader en route to the land of college applications and portfolios that forced me to really grow up from running around below the projected stars in a planetarium, the magic I felt as a child was just as pure. My friends probably thought I was a bit juvenile for standing in the same lines as dozens of kids less than half my age to see the shuttles I could probably draw out of memory and insisting to eat overwhelmingly average museum food just because it was what I did as a kid. But I couldn’t care less. It was like the museum was telling me that I would always have a place for me no matter how old I got. It was a true testament to the spirit of human imagination.

Recently, as I was browsing through my college’s course catalog, I found myself spending insane amounts of time on the astronomy offerings section, just allowing myself to be enraptured by the descriptions of space, time, and the universe. I let my mind drift, and found myself back inside the magical exploration grounds of 600 Independence Avenue.

No other place reflects the beauty of my childhood that well.

To learn more about the National Air and Space Museum and its wonderful attractions, you can visit their site here:


Childhood Summer Vacations – Oft Dreaded as a Child, Much Valued as an Adult

Padmanabha Swamy Temple

By Lakshmi:

I grew up all over India and despite those moves, there was one constant in our lives.  Every summer, we had the exact same routine.  Months before school closings, we would bring home our student “concession” forms, dad would book  the discounted second class train tickets for my mom, brother and me and the three of us would embark on a day to two-day train journey to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala where both sets of grandparents lived.

In the last decade or so, every travel magazine has featured Kerala as one of the most beautiful destinations on Planet Earth and the state slogan for tourism is “God’s Own Country”.

Well, to put it bluntly, I did not appreciate our vacations and in fact resented them.  All my rich school friends were off to exotic locales like London, Singapore and the US, and when I was asked about my plans for the summer, the answer did not budge.  Yes, I was off to spend two months with my grandparents, there was no TV, we ate our meals with groups of 50 people, went to the temple every day and everyone was in bed by 10 at night.   So much for idyllic childhood summers.

As clichéd as it might sound, I credit so much of my gratitude and strong sense of family to what I learned through those summers.

– Our train journeys took us through some incredibly arid areas and when the train crossed the border into Kerala, the palm tree fringed waterways, the small boats, the traditional homes, the women with their waist length hair, the smell of the moist air all shocked your system’s appreciative senses into full gear.  And to this day, the simple things continue to take my breath away.

– My grandparents had coconut groves,  banana trees and cows at home.  Before the concept of reusability and environmental consciousness were buzz words, every thing was used and re-used to its full potential.

– My grandparents were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination and yet, every member of the immediate and extended family along with anyone they knew was always welcome to partake in a meal

–  Since all the cousins had summer break overlaps, the house was always filled with food….entire branches of bananas and jackfruit, freshly roasted cashews, sweet and savory foods of every kind in abundance and non-stop eating became our only pseudo occupation over the summer.

– Our cousins, who we spent each of these summers with now live in different cities, but our closeness continues over Skype, Facebook and face to face meetings, a legacy to the strong sense of family left behind by our ancestors.

– At the end of every summer, the entire household would be in a state of frenzy packing a plethora of much beloved food items for each family to take back to Mumbai or Delhi.

Today, I have traveled to places that I never thought possible.  And despite the proliferation of ready-made foods, to me there is nothing more valuable than a family gathering over a home cooked meal.  And of all the gifts I have in life, it is the gift of my family and the love of those still around me that I cherish the most.