Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry/Happy [Insert holiday]

It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since I graduated & almost a year since I moved to Washington, DC. Over the past year, I have amassed many memories & have developed a bittersweet relationship with the city. So, as 2005 draws to an end, I've decided to share some of the things I've learned this year!
  • Living in DC has made me a professional jaywalker
  • Even if you have never suffered from allergies before, you will develop them in DC
  • It's great living in a city with a good public transportation system so I don't need a car
  • Washingtonians freak out when it snows 2 inches, which causes many accidents and federally issued delays
  • The city is extremely transient which makes it hard to make long-term friends or establish a community because people are always either coming or leaving
  • Women in the city like to wear high heels even if they are uncomfortable - so when they walk to and from work, they will wear sneakers or flip-flops even if it looks ridiculous with the suit they have on
  • Transitioning from being a student to working a 9-5 schedule can be challenging; but I love that I don''t have to worry about papers & exams in the evenings & during weekends
  • You are surrounded by politics 24/7 and it's not impolite to talk about political issues over dinner
  • Living so close to the center of power can be overwhelming & empowering at the same time
  • It feels horrible to have worked on an issue (in my case Darfur, Sudan) for a year & knowing that the situation has become worse
  • "The bill has moved out of HIRC and is still in SFRC" is a part of the English vocabulary because it is very common for people here to speak in acronyms
  • Two popular sayings in politics: "It produces strange bed follows" and "there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies - just permanent interests."
  • Most people in power are white middle-aged Christian men
  • When Republicans & Democrats work together, a lot can be achieved
  • Not everyone who works for the government or in the military supports the Bush Administration - I've met amazing government & military officials who strongly disagree with many of the government's policies
  • It is easy to develop an elitist culture within political circles - after a while, people are just "preaching to the choir." Thankfully, organizations like the one I work in work really hard on reaching out to the general public & empowering Americans
  • When youth are given an opportunity to create change, they can do amazing things
  • Art, music, films & pop culture are great avenues to talk about important issues & affect social change
  • The diversity within Muslims has taught me so much about Islam
  • "The Daily Show" by Jon Stewart is a great way to unwind at the end of the day
  • I'm surrounded by some of the most amazing people in the world who work really hard to make a positive difference in this world & inspire me to be a better human being
  • And my favorite one of all: "In our increasingly interconnected world, countries need to work collectively to solve global problems that no nation can solve alone."

And to get you all in the holiday spirit, I want to share something one of my co-workers passed on to me – enjoy!

I head out of town tomorrow to spend Christmas with Catherine & her family in NY & then off to Minnesota with my family until January 8th. I'll try to blog when I'm away, but if not, I'll see y'all when I return.

I hope you all have a great Holiday/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/New Year/whatever else you celebrate! May this year bring you all much happiness & peace.