To begin, two weeks after graduation, I hopped on a plane and flew to Washington, D.C. to intern at the House of Representatives for a California Congressman. It was my first time away from home, and it was honestly hard but we made it, boys!
From spending Eid (an Islamic holiday) stuffing letters in envelops to crying in a shawarma shop because I didn’t want to leave, it’s been a rollercoaster indeed. But through it all, I know one thing for sure: I am grateful.
I am grateful for my family and friends, who supported me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was their support that gave me the confidence to search, and mid searching this beautiful city, I found a home.
I found best friends whose weddings I’ve already started planning dance choreography for, and I found the best coffee shops to people watch at. In DC I found inspirational mentors and new book recommendations. I finally found words to say in conversations that make me question the essence and core of my being. I found Jerald Nadler to be much shorter in real life, and I found the House of Representatives cafeteria to be underwhelming. In D.C, I found and lived crazy stories that I’ll tell everyone I meet. In DC, I found everything I didn’t know I was looking for, and most importantly, in DC I found a big piece of myself.
When I reflect on my time there, a stupid smile creeps on my face. From seeing my heroes like Pramila Jayapal and AOC in the tunnels of Congress to meeting them (YES, I ACTUALLY DID MEET RASHIDA TLAIB), sitting in on hearings about the detention camps on the Texas border and bursting out in tears on the spot, learning about who I want to be, soaking in the stories of my co-interns and fellows...this was truly a summer of learning and I am so grateful for the experience and the people and places that shaped it.
If you're planning a trip to DC, check out my list of recommendations by D.C. locals and visitors alike below! Although I wasn't able to experience all of them, I've placed a star next to my EXTREME recommendations.
Bluebottle Coffee (New Orleans-style iced coffee)
Colada Shop - Cafe Cubano
Soho Coffee and Tea
Au Bon Pain (try their mudslide cookie!)
Magnolia's Bakery* (try their Banana pudding!)
Thomas Sweet (Ice cream)
Ice Cream Jubilee
Momofuku Milk Bar
Cakelove (cake in a jar)
Co Co. Sala (Best chocolates)
Spot of Tea (Boba)*
Busboys and Poets (American)*
A Baked Joint* (Brunch)
La Pain Quotidian*
Ben's Chili Bowl
We the Slice (Pizza)
Mama Ayesha’s (Mediterranean)
Old Ebbett Grill (American)*
Amsterdam Falafel Shop
Spice6 (Indian Food)*
The Washington Monument
The Library of Congress
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum*
Supreme Court of the United States*
Georgetown and the Waterfront*
The Watergate Hotel Rooftop*
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The National Cathedral
Martin Luther King Memorial
World War 2 Memorial*
National Gallery of Art
Museum of the Palestinian People*
The Spy Museum
The African American History Museum
The National Portrait Gallery Museum
If you’re ever in D.C, promise me you’ll take it all in. Promise me you’ll look over the Potomac River and think to yourself. Promise me you’ll attend a protest and take in the national landscape. Promise me you’ll believe in something bigger than you.