“Yeah, the bar exam, I need to take that, and then I’ll be ready.”
“Ready for what?”
Tomás and Filipe are twins many miles from home. Coming from Chile, the duo is traveling together through the at times hostile eastern United States, with roads that crack with salt and temperatures that refuse to rise on their summer vacation—well summer there, winter here, one twin points out.
They landed in Boston amidst the Blizzard Juno, stopping by universities they couldn’t remember the names of. I asked them if they saw Harvard, to which they half-nodded, as if to say yes, that university sounds familiar. New York was their favorite city, filled with everything the movies told them to expect: picturesque scenes from a snow-flaked Central Park and billboard lights bursting over pedestrians shuffling purposefully from one place to the next—the fashionistas in never enough black, the businessmen with lapels draping in the wind hurrying to families in high rises, the students in their technicolor knit hats with heads nodding quietly to music. But, then again, they thought that the more simple delights, like the delis that take credit cards and outdoor beer gardens, were pretty great too.
To give them the benefit of the doubt, it’s still Tomás and Filipe’s first day in DC, so they haven’t had the chance to discover that DC really is the best US city south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Today they’ve toured the district by bike, rolling down the cobblestoned streets of Georgetown, past the flanking pillars of the Kennedy Center, and up to the White House, where there was unfortunately not an Obama sighting; though Tomás and Filipe said the peaceful protesters of far away wars waving sharpie-written cardboard signs were enough culture for one day.
They ended up by Capitol Hill, stopping to rest by the Reflecting Pool, where the typically incumbent mallard ducks were nowhere to be found. Tomorrow they plan to spend the day at the mall museum hopping, both brothers being most excited for the Museum of Natural History. “It’s a dinosaur thing,” they said simultaneously.
While Tomás and Filipe don’t complete each other’s sentences per se, when asked a question Tomás would interject eagerly for Filipe and Filipe for Tomás, and to be honest, I’m not certain of who’s who in the photo above. I do know that they would be flattered at being mistaken for each other, for each brother almost competitively touted the other brother’s accomplishments.
Both brothers attend university in Santiago, one at the Universidad del Desarollo and the other at Universidad Andrés Bello; one studies to be an engineer, the other a lawyer. While they both love attending university, they even more so enjoy spending their summer holiday together, even when—perhaps especially when—summer means a brothers’ snowshoed adventure through the Bos-Wash corridor.
Photo: Caitlin Joelle Cain, The Georgetown Voice