(Or Reflections from Washington DC)

I returned to Washington DC to spend the Memorial Day weekend with family–although my parents had no idea that I was coming home! The mastermind behind this surprise family reunion was my brilliant younger sister—Khelsea**. As Khelsea arrived later but still wanted to witness the unannounced arrival, we coordinated my entry to occur as she Skyped our parents. 2,900 miles (4667 km), 20 texts, and .5 Skype calls later, I walked through the front door and greeted my completely bewildered parents and a very excited goldendoodle.

Over the weekend, our family visited Washington DC. We walked along the Tidal Basin, stopping by the Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials. Next, we visited flower-adorned war memorials and walked alongside the grand Reflecting Pool, which links the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. Ten thousand US flags covered the lawn adjacent to the pathway, a temporary memorial to those who died in combat over the past decade. Each flag contained the name and biography of a fallen soldier. Family members, veterans, and visitors were allowed to walk through the flags—mourning, commemorating, remembering.

While DC has been swamped in the crazed and crazy election campaign, the Memorial Day weekend provided a much-needed respite and a time to honor American heroes and reconnect with family and friends. Last Memorial Day, I was preparing to start graduate studies in the fall. In fact, one of my first Skope posts discussed Memorial Day weekend (see HOLIDAY: Many new adventures have occurred since those early posts—grad courses completed, a review written, and mountain trips with new friends. Grad school has definitely been a challenging (but rewarding) experience. I have no idea what new adventures will happen when Grad Year 2 begins, but until then, I’ll keep exploring!

*Part II coming soon—the blog post where I’ll share some exciting microbiome news from DC!

**also a big THANK YOU to AR, RR, and JB for transport, logistics, and secret planning! You’re amazing!


By KCBauer

Hello! My name is KCBauer and I am a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. I am a researcher, writer, musician, and explorer. Originally from Washington DC, I graduated with a BA in Music and BS in Biology in 2014. This blog focuses on the gut microbiota, the trillions of microorganisms that reside along the digestive tract. My grad research at UBC examines the role of the gut microbiota on human health, brain development, and anthropology. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy ambling through Vancity, listening to music, reading science journals, and hiking. If you have questions, ideas for blog topics, suggestions for place to visit in BC, or corrections send me an email at


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