Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Day at the Inauguration

I wrote this the day after and sent it via email to many friends and family. I just wanted to place in on the blog as well because it coincides well with the theme and I would like to remember it as a starting point. Here it is:

Greetings friends and family -

Dave and I just recovered from attending the inauguration yesterday and I wanted to share a bit about it all. IT WAS AMAZING! I am so glad that we braved the cold to attend. It was our first outing from our new residence in D.C. Since we returned from our honeymoon on Friday the only outings we've been on have been errand-related. Here are some of the highlights from the ground...

* It was cold, but everyone was super kind and warm -hearted towards each other. The temperatures were in the teens and got up to the high twenties, but never above freezing. We came with long underwear, hats, scarves and our toe and hand warmers. We didn't bring a blanket like many others and regretted it, but a lot of people shared.

* It was packed! I have never seen so many people in one open place before! The people looked like tiny colorful dots on the horizon from far away. Up close we broke the social space barriers and snuggled up next to strangers. The closest we got to our fellow Americans was on the Metro when Dave decided that watching five trains go by with no one getting on was just too many; thus, we jumped on a fairly full train to go two stops. People were so close together that many couldn't move their arms. The containment couldn't stop people's joy and many were helping each other figure out where to go and how to get there. It was humourous to watch people trying to get their maps out of their pockets while we were so squished together only to bring them up to their faces (usually a top another person's head) to read directions. Navigating genius that he is, Dave donated his map to a stranger on the train and directed many people that day to their destinations in DC. I have never seen people so packed together in the US - we actually had to hold each other inside the train at stops so that the doors would close!

* It was inspirational. We walked like droplets of water flowing downstream to the Mall where we slowly gathered together to form one large pool of people. We stood by the Lincoln Memorial, then walked next to the reflection pool towards the Washington Monument. It was amazing to be there so many patriots and civil rights groups have been there before. In that area, we were able to see the inauguration from the Jumbotrons. No, unfortnuately we weren't close enough to see Obama in person (we couldn't bring ourselves to be in the cold from 4am onwards- what it took a lot of people to be so close); but the spirit was there nonetheless and we were happy to watch on the steps of the WWII memorial history in the making. After wandering around the Mall for about an hour (we go to their about 2 hours early before the inauguration started) we found a place in front on the Jumbotrons and began waiting. They showed us the procession of all of the people involved - past, present, and future cabinets. They also microphoned many of these people so that we heard the casual greetings and side comments coming from their mouths. We collectively laughed when one elderly congressman asked, "Where am I supposed to go? I don't where I am supposed to go. Where?" Dave and I stood next to a fire hydrant where an African American lady was sitting. We were talking amongst ourselves trying to figure out who everyone was (we didn't have the titles at the bottom of the screen, or newscaster's commentary - only the voices and a slightly delayed feed). I thought that I saw MLK the third and pointed. She overheard us and confirmed this fact and when I confessed that I didn't know the faces of many of the people, but wished that I had, she said, "Don't worry baby, we'll figure them out together." I think collectively we identified about a quarter of the people. We didn't mind, however, because it was fun to be there attempting to recognize our leaders.

* It was emotional. As many of you cried from home, we cried outside. It was an amazing thing to watch for all of us and crying with strangers is amazing, and healing. People were so proud of Obama, but also of ourselves. It isn't just that Obama is so amazing that he rose to the head of our nation, it is that we recognized this and chose him to be the head of our nation.

I would love to go on, but I would be naive to think that all of you don't also have amazing stories to share about your special moments of yesterday. Thanks for listening to mine.

Much love from DC -

Intro to New Blog


We just got married and moved to our nation's capital! Excitement, fear, anticipation: these are only some of the feelings that we experience as we embark on our adventures of being married, looking for jobs and searching for purpose in Washington D.C. I say "we" - alluding to Dave and myself (Alicia), but more than likely I will be doing most of the reflection and writing.

It is an exciting and stressful time - for us and for most everyone else in the world. We are excited about the changes to come, and worried about the effects of the economy and global politics. We hope to be involved to strive for good change: by making individual efforts to help strive towards environment friendly habits and international justice - just as using a cloth shopping bag and buying fair trade; but also by searching to be part of a larger community to support legislation and movements that support equality and equity, encourage growth in social capital as well as economics. It is difficult, but we are praying that we can resist the temptation to strive for comfort and instead living lives that reflect our mandate to love and serve others as we have been served.

I am not really sure to whom I am writing, mostly to myself and my husband, but I think by just making a statement concerning my intentions, I make them more real, more tangible, and perhaps more sustainable.