A Weekend Well Spent (Part 1)

Hi there lovely people,

As promised, here is another blog post before you were able to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” 🙂

In today’s blog post I thought I can share with you my well spent weekend with the fellow fellows (get it? Fellow fellows, LOL.. okay, sorry about that, back to the real story now) I thought I can share the weekend we had in both Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, MD with some recommendation on what to do if you ever find yourself in one of these places.

Believe it or not but we had a summer weekend in February (or as my friend Anna likes to call it: When February feels like June), which is quite rare I must say, but we sure did not let it pass by without getting a proper tan and plan a day trip to Annapolis, Maryland. I am always in for day trips and I think Annapolis was such a great choice … It is such a magical place!

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No wonder they call it America’s Sailing Capital!

We didn’t really plan much for our day trip. The only planning we had was renting the car and choosing our destination (so much for planning, huh?). I guess we simply wanted to have a relaxed, close enough, get away and Annapolis just happened to be right there, and when I say right there, I mean 50 km east of Washington , D.C. 🙂 But hey, who cares? It was a day well spent.

As most of us are coffee lovers, you can already guess what was the first place we wanted to go to as we parked our car… Where is the nearest Coffee shop, please?

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Their coffee was good! And having the chance to sip on our cappuccino as we soak in the sunshine was priceless. So definitely check them out if you are in Annapolis. Look for Hard Bean Coffee!

We then took a stroll along Annapolis Port, and I, of course, had to stop and take a picture on a Harley Davidson, because yachts and sailboats are just not as cool, JK! This one is for you, daddy :*

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It is so great when you don’t have to rush anywhere and you can stop and appreciate kind people’s offers ( Thank you, kind man with a Harley Davidson 🙂 ), when you can stop and appreciate the beauty of your surrounding, like these amazing buildings we later encountered as we were walking around the United States Naval Academy, located just across the port in Annapolis, MD.

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True, we didn’t plan much for our day trip but we were able to use our time wisely and enjoy the warm weather!

We didn’t stop there, though! Nope.. We decided to drive to St. Michael, which was close by… and look for a private beach for us to chill and read book and, of course.. SKIP ROCKS!

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After finishing our tournament, we started feeling hungry and decided to look for a good place to grab a bite and that is when we stumbled upon Ava’s @St. Michaels, MD… It was so delicious! I got their Middle Eastern Pizza and I highly recommend it! As a Middle Eastern myself I must say it exceeded my expectation in terms of flavour and texture.

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Sorry for the long post friends but I really wanted to walk you through our well spent Annapolis day… Stay tuned for A Weekend Well Spent (Part 2) in Washington, D.C.

XOXO,

Lian

“Always strive to excel, but only on weekends” – Richard Rorty

 

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#OnlyInDC

Thank you precious people for being so patient with me… I am sorry I didn’t get the chance to post and update you about my journey so far here in Washington,D.C.

I am sure you can imagine how busy and hectic it can be in the world’s capital, especially with the new administration!

So, I have had the chance to do a bunch of things here in D.C. over the past few weeks, including meeting great people!

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Yup! That is Madam Secretary Madeleine Albright… I know, it is crazy, right? Running into the first female Secretary of State at the Cinema! Now, that is what I title as #OnlyInDC

Beside running into her and being super excited, as any political science student/graduate would be, let a long a female one 🙂 I must give credit to my friend who spotted her among the crowd, so shout out to you my dear friend…

Earlier that day, my friend and I went to Woodrow Wilson’s house. It is an under appreciated  monument, one can say. There is something magical about having the chance to walk the same hallways and bedrooms former President Willson walked in after leaving the white house. To those of you who don’t know, President Woodrow Wilson was the first US president to stick around DC after the end of his presidency (Before Obama decided to stay here too, of course!) But yeah, I highly recommend visiting his house and making some time to take the tour. President Wilson is such an incredible personality and I am lucky to have had the chance to see the world through President Wilson’s eyes, even if it was just for a few hours.

Below some pictures of his house 🙂

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There is so much more but I’ll keep it for my next blog post, which I promise will come sooner than you can say Supercalafajalistickexpialadojus! 🙂

Have a good night lovely people…

XOXO,

Lian

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
―Woodrow Wilson

First week is about to come to an end…

It is Thursday night here in Washington D.C., and I just wanted to be able to write down my experiences and reflect on my first week as a Senate Staffer 🙂

The week was incredibly productive! Being in D.C. at such times with this administration transition has allowed me to jump into deep water sooner than I anticipated. My fellowship and my placement are really offering me a chance to learn as much as I can about the American Political System first hand.

I wake up everyday with a sense of excitement to see what the day will bring. I like that feeling! It is the feeling of satisfaction, the feeling of fulfilment… If I only had the time to tell you how many times/ episodes/ seasons/ series I have watched that revolved around life in D.C., life as a politician we would still be in the first half of the list! So, trust me when I tell you that sometimes I really have to pinch myself and accept this new reality. A reality that involves me walking with my Staff badge, which btw – if I may say –  I look GOOD in that picture (Let me know in the comments below if you agree or think my picture doesn’t really portrait my natural beauty 😉 JK!!)

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But to be honest, it is not the badge that gets me so excited… it is probably the streets… The buildings… The historical places I get to see and work from everyday that enhance my whole experience here!

For example, everyday as I am leaving Union Station towards my office, this is the view I encounter:

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It leaves me in complete awe! It leaves me with a sense of inspiration! It leaves me with a feeling of humility… When you are running around, alongside thousands of people, trying to keep the system working, you start to realise two important things in our society: the power of the individual and the power of team work and how the two are forever intertwined.

I will leave you with that for now.

Good night xoxo,

Lian

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius

First Day at Work!

Wow! They weren’t kidding when they said: “Let’s hit the ground running” 🙂

So, today was my first day at work as a legislative fellow for a US Senator, and let me tell you… It was amazing! It exceeded my expectations, the people, the work, the atmosphere and so much more. It is always nice to be in a place where your opinion is being valued and respected. I can’t share too much about my work itself, so I hope you will understand, but yet I am going to try to share with you my feelings and experiences.

On top all of that, I got to experience my first protest! In case you have missed it, recently trump issued an executive order that bans muslims from entering the USA and the people have decided to protest and show Trump that refugees and immigrants are welcome here, regardless of their faith! As a young Muslim woman myself, I felt the need to take part in this protest and let my voice be heard… This is what democracy looks like:

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Plus, I need to share this sign with you (people are so creative around here):

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But yeah, today was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t help but come back home, sit on my computer and let my fingers type what my mind thinks. I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity to be a Fellow at the Senate and watch how to American Government works… Especially in these times, where you see so much political activism from the people and I am excited to be able to witness it.

On another note though, last week I got to discover a used books store

– Capitol Hill Books –

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It is in Eastern Market neighbourhood and it is just packed with books you didn’t even know are out there.. So I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area 🙂 Because reading books will expose you to new worlds…

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Let’s see what tomorrow brings 🙂

XOXO,

Lian

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” -Steve Jobs

Moving to D.C.

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Hello my beautiful friends, how are you all doing? I hope it is going well 🙂

Yes, you guessed it, I moved to Washington, D.C. about a week ago and as I am sipping on my Hot Coco, I have decided to share my thoughts and emotions with you. So…I hope you will like this post, and if you do, then feel free to let me know in the comments below whether you would like to see more content like this one.

Not many people in my life knew I applied for the Lantos – Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship at the US Congress, and not many knew I was about to move to Washington, D.C. for the next few months. I myself didn’t know I was moving until I was first introduced to the program a few months ago (10 days before the deadline, btw, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing all the paperwork that needed to be done).

The fellowship has taught me something extremely valuable, even before it started and it was that I need to learn how to flexibly plan my future!

Here is the thing, I had it all laid out in my head, every single step I will be taking after my graduation… I thought that I will be: studying for my GRE, writing my applications and submitting them to the different MA programs I was interested in. Nothing, and I tell you, nothing could have prepared me for this, for packing my life into two suitcases, one is small and the other is medium size, and move to the center of the world, in terms of POLITICS! I learned to be open to new possibilities and new adventures that knock on my door/window 🙂

We are enjoying our orientation week as we are about to embark on our journey at the US Congress.

Stay tuned for my next post 🙂

XOXO,

Lian

”I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s forward.”  – David Livingston

There Is Still Hope for Shared Existence 

Hello my beautiful friends!

Today’s post is going to be a bit different than usual. To give you a little background, I am an Arab-Israeli coming from a liberal Muslim family. I went to a Christian high school and for the past 10 years I’ve been volunteering at a Reform Jewish Education Center  (You can imagine how being a part of all these three different religions has helped shape my pluralistic world outlook).

As a public speaker for minority rights in the Middle East in general and for Arabs in Israel in particular, I couldn’t help but write about the recent developments between Israel and Azerbaijan. I stumbled upon this article ( http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-azerbaijan-pm-hails-arms-deals-as-beacon-of-jewish-muslim-coexistence/)  I must say, it was nice knowing that besides all the bad news out there in the world – and the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism- the minorities refuse to let the world order and stereotypes dictate their relations, their cooperations and their existence side by side.

The symbolism of the two flags – one with the Jewish star, the other the Muslim crescent – show not only the ties between the two nations of Azerbaijan and Israel, but the international level of Jewish-Muslim shared existence made possible as the 50+ Muslim-majority nations around the world begin to open up to Israel.

Maybe, there is still hope out there

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Be Courageous!

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Say you decided to act on your dreams-

What would your life be like?…

Well, I can tell you one thing, it is going to be AMAZING! You see, back in high school I was majoring in Physics and Electronics, everyone thought I will go straight to college and study for a B.Sc in Electronic Engineering, work for a Tech company and simply live my life till it is time for me to leave this earth.

*Spoiler Alert!!*

I decided to act on my dreams, not on other people’s dreams for me. I loved electronics, don’t get me wrong but it was simply not my passion to sit behind the computer, write codes, program softwares and etc. I have passion for social activities, for talking and meeting new people and for building and supporting a caring community. I have passion for advocacy and public speaking, for story telling and videography, for traveling the world and learning new languages… So, I have decided to act on my dreams and my life has been nothing but an amazing ride so far!

I guess what I am trying to say here is, dare to be courageous! Don’t judge the possibilities of what you can do based upon the circumstances, because the circumstances won’t determine who you are! Don’t determine what you are able to do just upon your resources… Don’t determine what is possible for you based upon where your life is right now because if there is one thing I have learned, it is never to plan your future based on your present! Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Who knows what opportunities are waiting just around the corner? Promise me one thing, when you are dreaming, dare to be courageous! Dare to dream!  (You can follow me as I follow my dreams on my youtube channel: Lian Najami – Youtube Channel )

Today, I am living my dream life, I get to travel around the world! I even started a new tradition, celebrating my birthday in a different country each year… I get to advocate for causes I care deeply about such as minority issues and entrepreneurship and raise awareness to people with different abilities.

” Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”  – Ralph Waldo Emmerson