The other day I was invited to attend the naturalization ceremony of my Moroccan friend. The event took place on the national mall in Washington DC. The most fascinating aspect of the ceremony for me was the tremendous diversity of people becoming US citizens that day. They really came from all over the globe: from Asia to Latin America to the Middle East. I heard Costa Rica, Paraguay, Morocco and Pakistan, among others. This was my up-close and personal experience with the melting pot that makes the United States of America. Neat! [Image enlarges on click]
We spent this past weekend with our dear friend Amal, who was in town for a few days. We met at DC’s breathtaking Union Station, where we sat, had lunch and talked like there was no tomorrow. While munching on pizza, we both came to the conclusion that life can at times surprise you, taking you places while you are just too busy to notice. We had met Amal during our Doha stint last year. So it was fascinating to realize that, at that moment, we were sitting in Washington, DC and having lunch in one of the most beautiful train stations in the country. "From Doha to Union Station," Amal giggled. "It should be the title of a book."
We did lots of touring in and around Maryland, taking Amal to the sailing city of Annapolis and then, after a wonderful lunch at Pusser’s, on to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Both cities were alive and buzzing with activity, although each had a distinctive vibe.
Amal is now on her way home to Lebanon, while we return to our daily routines. Nothing beats reuniting with a close friend! Amal is already dearly missed.
After returning home from work the other day, I found an unpleasant surprise waiting for me in the mailbox. Amid the junk mail and endless brochures was a notice from the Maryland police. Of course, I was intrigued. I tore the envelope open quickly only to find a paper with three small images of my car running a red light! The first feeling that came into my mind was a sense of being naked — exposed — for the enjoyment of Big Brother.
I was shocked and surprised to realize that I actually did this early one morning. I’m someone who drives very carefully and extremely slowly, something that drives my husband absolutely crazy. "These cameras are just revenue generators!" was his only commentary on the incident. Well, they certainly are controversial. The only reason I can offer for my red light running was being half-asleep while listening to the early morning weather report! The price for this careless behavior: $75! Sigh. No more early morning radio for me! Bring on Green Day. (Image enlarges on click.)
While the Jameeds were in town, we had our first official East Coast Jordan Planet meeting. Attendants included the Jameeds, Beisan and yours truly (along with the husband). The venue was Paolo’s Ristorante in beautiful Georgetown, rumored to have been a favorite of the late King Hussein. We discussed blogging issues, Jordanian politics, life in the US and the development of Jordan Planet.
I found it fascinating that all of us were able to converse non-stop for hours on end like long-time best friends. I guess, in a way, we were all connected by the love for our country and our passion for blogging. One thing that Jordan Planet has created — in addition to its serving as a platform for self-expression — are these mini-Jordanian communities that are scattered across the globe. So once again, kudos to the man who created our wonderful Planet.
After a delicious feast at Paolo’s, we made our way to another favorite of mine — Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe — for continuing discussions. Oh, and here’s a link to a previous "non-official" East Coast congress, where Laith, Besian and I enjoyed a brief encounter.