I attended the Republican National Convention with my parents in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008.
In 1992, it was in Houston and I had to miss the first few days of 8th grade. So that I wouldn't miss the whole week of school, I had to fly back to Oklahoma by myself. It was the first time I had ever been on an airplane. I was thrilled with the independence of traveling alone. I was thirteen.
At the security checkpoint, they made everyone take pictures with their cameras to prove that they weren't weapons. When we got home and developed the film, we have all these pictures of us going through security, like the one above.
In 1996, we were in San Diego. I can't seem to find any pictures from that trip but I have several distinct memories from that week. We spent one afternoon at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club visiting a friend. My dad went to play tennis and left me beside the pool with my book for a few hours. There were flags on the back of the lounge chairs, and if you wanted to order something you just flipped your flag up and a server would arrive. I pretty much thought I had died and gone to heaven.
In 2000, I flew straight from my summer study program in England to meet my parents and sister in Philadelphia. Going from living abroad straight to an American political convention was culture shock, to say the least.
Married less than a year, I flew by myself to Minneapolis for the 2008 convention. This was my first convention since I had moved to California, and it made me feel like a kid again. I spent a full evening in my hotel bathroom vomiting, and was secretly hopeful I was pregnant. Turns out it was just a stomach bug.
Clearly, I come from a very political family. At our dinner table, we didn't discuss school or sports or movies. We talked politics, and if you couldn't hold your own at a very young age, then you weren't welcome in the conversation.
As I've aged, I've become less politically active, but am still very politically interested. This election, in particular, is personal for me.
I woke up every morning at 5am while I was in Sri Lanka because my body clock was so wonky. This early hour wasn't great for fatigue, but it was a bonus to watch the Republican National Convention around 7am. The tv in my room didn't work, so Tony Jones let me borrow his, and Matthew snapped this picture.
If you've never been, the conventions are a ton of fun. Parties and flag-waving, it's like a week-long adult pep rally. If pep rallies included stuffed animal hats and the future of the country.