“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
9 YEARS AGO from today, on October 9th, 2009, around 9:30 pm, I arrived in Washington DC, after completing my Masters and spending 5 months of job hunting while in my Wisconsin home. I sent over 300 applications and got 2 or 3 phone interviews. But I decided to suck it up and make my move, so I landed in DC with high hopes, a couple pant suits, an old 10 lb laptop computer, supportive family from afar, and just a little cash in my pocket, so I can begin “living the dream.”
Today, I celebrated my 9 year anniversary by attending an awesome think tank event, and paying a short visit to the White House, the National Mall area, and the Washington Monument and of course hitting up my favorite DC area joint, Busboys and Poets, to do some writing.
On my way to the monument, I stopped by a little gift shop I saw on the road, and out of chance, I was given a free Presidential Collectibles photo shoot (Photos are below). What a treat on my 9 year anniversary! And it was pretty cool because I was wearing green to honor Pakistan today for my upcoming travels, as well as my beautiful Red Sindhi Ajrak stoll.
DC and I have had quite the roller-coaster love-hate relationship, but I still feel the same awe when walking the streets of downtown. Perhaps its the nostalgia from the hopes and dreams back when I first experienced DC as a teenager participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy in 2002….as well as the nostalgia from twenty-something Elsa: super ambitious with a lot of dreams for making a small contribution in public service.
I thought it was great to pay one final visit to the city limits before I leave on a jet plane and not know if I’ll be back again.
I have been so privileged and blessed to have been given opportunities to follow my dreams and aspirations of living, studying, and working at the Nation’s Capital in the many capacities I had the past few years.
As challenging as it has been to “be somebody,” amid what I call the “Hollywood of Politics,” I have had quite the ride.
And it will be my 10 year anniversary next year. 🙂
I don’t wear pant suits as often as I used to anymore… 😉 but the “dream” still remains. The “dream” evolves and changes in its unique form, and sometimes it has to. And even though you don’t accomplish exactly what you imagined you would, as long as you keep moving, something beautiful will come from your persistence, perseverance, determination, tenacity, zeal, heart, compassion, passion, love, dedication, honor, hope, and resilience.
It is possible to change your stars.
And I want to believe that 2019 will be a good year for me.
Because, my hope is that by this time next year, I will be holding that doctorate degree in my hand.
And then new adventures and games will begin soon after.
For now, I will just continue. “Living the dream.” And as usual, honoring and enjoying every moment of this incredible journey.
…At that same time…. I will continue trying to become a better person along the way, as a dreamer and warrior.
In God’s Plan.
Thank you to those of you who have been with me on this challenging and rewarding journey, the past 9 years….
Peace, Warmth and Blessings,
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – Anais Nin
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Oprah Winfrey