Washington, D.C. & Kicking Off Summer


Summer is here!

I finally finished my first 20-credit semester and somehow pulled off straight As. PLUS, my Yemen food insecurity report was published on the UN-OCHA's Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) website. You can say I'm feeling pretty proud of myself! If you want to check out my food security brief, here it is: HDX - Yemen 2017.

This past week was my first full week with no classes, and even though I had to work almost every day, I've been making the most of the start of my break. Last week, I took a trip to the beach the first day it reached 80 degrees, played some tennis, and went on a quick "summer kickoff" weekend trip to Washington, D.C. with my family. I have a whole bunch of plans for the summer, but with Ramadan coming up this weekend, I'll be taking a break this month to fast and begin studying for the GRE I will most likely be taking this summer. Wish me luck!

Without further adieu, I want to dedicate this post to my second trip to D.C. Here I am, right before we left. Yay for comfy, put-together clothing!


Our first day there was dedicated to the famous monuments. After finding some street parking, we walked to the Washington Monument which is visible from wherever we were in the area. It's a pretty plain monument, but standing at 555 feet and 5 inches tall, it makes a statement. It was also probably my favorite monument we visited, aside from The Capitol.

Our next visit was the World War II memorial:


We went the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, but D.C. was still super packed. P.S. do you see what I mean about the Washington Monument in the background?

The Lincoln Memorial was beautiful as well. It's always so interesting seeing so many pictures of places on the computer and then visiting them in person and forming your own memories and ideas about them.


We were there on a pretty overcast day, which I appreciated because it meant we didn't overheat walking through D.C. Our last stop was the White House, which I actually didn't visit during my first trip to Washington, D.C. It was nice, but a bit underwhelming. In photos the yard appeared much grander and the house seemed much more important. And the area around it could've been tended to a little better, especially for such an important landmark.

Right in front of the White House, I found a man sitting in front of all these signs which I had to photograph -- I couldn't have said it any better!



My family and I had dinner outdoors at the Occidental Grill. Although their menu isn't extensive, I highly recommend visiting because their food is delicious and their servings are perfect. It was the first time my family ate everything off the plates and still felt satisfied. Plus, the ambiance was cozy and warm with the outdoor heaters, fairy lights, and table-top candles.


Day two, which was also our final day, began with the Botanic Gardens and Conservatory. I LOVED this place:


The conservatory was my favorite part. We saw banana, avocado, and mango trees, walked through a jungle-like room, learned about medicinal plants, and experienced the different plants that grow in different climates.



Right outside of the gardens was the Capitol Building, which in my opinion should be what the White House looks like. It's incredible! I loved the architecture, the large dome, and all those stairs.



 Another favorite from that day was The Air and Space Museum. We watched Beautiful Planet in 3D at the IMAX theater which was incredible to say the least. I really felt like I was on the International Space Station and seeing our world from outer space just changes your perspective on so many things. I haven't visited a museum in years, but after this experience I plan on visiting another near me very soon!


 And...that's all! We were exhausted after just two days there. My dad's FitBit recorded about 12,000 steps which was almost 6 miles of walking each day. It was a great summer kick-off trip and I can't wait to plan (and blog) some more this summer!

I look forward to posting on my blog some more now that I have some time!

Simply,
Raza




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