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Locked Out

So you know what I did this weekend?

I locked the keys in the car. In the trunk. In a rental. In another state. Ugh.

Oh and I managed to do this the night of my cousin’s, Naairah, graduation party.

On the positive side, I guess it was a good thing that we were already at the hall, and we didn’t realize the mishap until near the end of the party.

It was an innocent mistake, but I felt terrible. Paraphrasing my brother’s words: Niagara falls of tears were shed [by me]. I’m a crier. A big one. Happy moments, sad moments, mad moments. I guess add stupid moments too.

My cousin, the graduate, needed to borrow blush. It was in my luggage in our rental, so I borrowed the keys from Faraz and we headed to car. Opened the trunk, took out bags covering my luggage, somehow managed to set the keys in the trunk in between, opened my luggage and dug out the blush. She used it, we put everything back in it’s place, shut the trunk with all my might [it was heavy!] and headed back in.

No keys. Little did I know though at this time.

It wasn’t until much later, near the end of the party, when Faraz asked my for the keys. My response? I don’t have the keys. His? Yes you do, you took them from me.

Panic mode as I check my belongings and head back to the car. My thinking [or hope]? The trunk wouldn’t have locked with the keys in it. I immediately knew it was in the trunk because I remembered not coming back in with it. Especially because I used both hands to shut the trunk door.

Nonetheless, we searched the hall, I retraced my steps, checked the bathroom, told the hotel workers [in case it showed up], etc. Finally, called Triple A who came to the rescue. A couple of hours later.

It doesn’t end there though. When they get there, they tell my brother and dad that they don’t think the keys are locked in the car because if that was the case the car wouldn’t have locked [BMW 2013 model]. Yeah, well, that’s what I thought too.

Oh, and the car alarm starts going off as soon as they unlocked the car through the back window. So my brother climbs in, and heads to the trunk, emptying our trunk… until finally: the key is found!

And so all of this. And all because of blush.

This will be a weekend to remember. Not just because my cousin graduated, or how great the keynote speakers were at her graduation (the best I’ve ever heard), or pretty much the whole family got together, or the crazy weather that first day… or anything like that: but because of the car. and blush.

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Weekend in Washington D.C.

Last weekend, during President’s Day Weekend, my family and I went to Washington D.C.

I’ve seen most of the tourist spots between my ten day stay in Baltimore/Washington D.C. through LeadAmerica’s Law and Trial Advocacy Program back in 2005. What I hadn’t seen then and really wanted to see was the Arlington National Cemetery [mostly for the eternal flame at JFK’s grave site], but I did get to experience that a few years back with my parents and brother.

At that time, my other brother, Faraz, was residing in Canada.  He wanted to do a weekend in D.C. and see some of the things he hadn’t seen before. As a family, we’ve seen some of the popular sites: last trip a few years back we did the tour of the Capitol, went to the Supreme Court, amongst a few other things.

But there’s just something about Arlington National Cemetery. Second time around, it was just as neat to see. The eternal flame at JFK’s grave site is something everyone should see, that’s for sure. The Tomb of the Unknown is another part that is a must-see — I talk more of that back in this post.

Other highlights from that day: watching “Journey to the Stars” at the Planetarium in the Air and Space Museum and the Washington Monument. We ended day one in D.C. with visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial before heading back to Virginia for the night to spend time with the family.

Day Two: We started our second day off with walking through the Vietnam War Memorial on our way to visiting the Lincoln Memorial.

What I hadn’t seen before this trip: the Newseum. We rounded off the trip with visiting the Newseum — which was probably one of the main reasons we all wanted to go to Washington D.C. this time around. We spent several hours going through the six floors, but could definitely spend more time going through it more in detail. It’s absolutely amazing, and something everyone needs to see. While most things in Washington D.C. are free of charge, the entrance fee for the Newseum, I’d say, is well worth the money. The best part is that the entrance fee is valid for two consecutive days… so well worth it for those who can spend the time. You won’t regret it.

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NY Scenery

What do I do while stuck in the car for seven plus hours during a road trip?

Take pictures of the scenery, of course, from my iPhone!

 
P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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Texas Trip

Texas. What can I say about our trip? It was disgustingly hot. That pretty much summarizes the trip for me.

While our five day stay earlier this month was a lot of month, the heat and humidity more than took over the trip.

My brother Faraz and I have been there once before a couple of years ago to visit our uncle and his family; last time we went, it was May so we didn’t have to face the heat that time. Instead, we had to face their crazy, random, and unpredictable thunderstorms that year.

The night we got there, we had a BBQ. It was like 11 PM and it was around 100 degrees. If I lived in Texas (which would NEVER happen), I doubt I’d leave my air-conditioned house!

Last time my brother and I went, we went to the Sixth Floor Museum (from where JFK was shot). The musuem is really neat (for those interested in history and politics like we are), and I knew the rest of my family would like it too and so we made another trip. It was like the only tourist thing we got to do because everyday was packed with wedding festivities. I don’t know what else there is to see in Dallas, Texas anyways. Anyhow, the museum was a neat experience even the second time around. They did make changes this time around and now it comes with an audio tour.

Highlight of the trip? My cousin’s wedding.
Best food? Had the best bihari kababs (probably ever).
The downer? humidity.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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On Our Way to Texas

After months and months of planning, our trip to Texas is finally here!
Ironically, my uncle lived in Dallas for years, and always called all of our extended family to visit… and my brother, one of my cousins, and I were the only ones to go visit him now. My uncle just moved from there last month, and the WHOLE family is going to Dallas now.
It’s a family reunion of sorts… in a completely random area… because my cousin is getting married! Sitting here, at Newark airport, because yes, we arrived way too early anticipating both traffic on the way and long lines inside. Luckily, we got neither.
For the longest time, we weren’t sure who from our family would end up going because my mom just didn’t want to fly while my brothers and I didn’t want to drive (it’s TWO LONG DAYS WORTH OF DRIVING to get there). I was put to ease a few months ago when we finally booked our flights, etc.
I gotta say, I know the media over dramatizes everything… but boy did they do so for airport check-points. I don’t know if it was just a random occurrence (I’ll have to update after our trip back home), but it was like when we traveled before in the past. Take your shoes off, put your stuff through the scanners, walk through the metal detector. Simple, and easy. The only different thing was that the lady told me she would need to pat my hair down because I wore a hijab. Before I even put my stuff down though, she told me, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then she told ME to pat MYSELF down. Like come on, WHY are people complaining and making such a big deal out of nothing? If anything, people should be willing to go through extra security to ensure a safe flight, no?
Anyhow, back to our trip… besides all the wedding events and festivities of course, I am looking forward to going back to the Sixth Floor Museum and hopefully some other tourist spots. Not sure what there is exactly to see there, but if you have suggestions – I’d love to hear them!
Will update later, about to board for our flight! Most likely, I won’t update until at least our flight back home.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Happy New Year’s everyone!

I hope 2011 is filled with great things for you and your loved ones.

On our way back from Virginia yesterday, we took an impromptu trip back to Washington D.C. to visit the Arlington National Cemetery. We went to Washington D.C. this past summer as well, but because it started raining we couldn’t do/see everything we had planned to do/see. Even now, we still haven’t done everything but one of the places I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to was the Arlington National Cemetery.

Here are a few of the pictures we took:

The eternal flame at JFK’s grave site. It’s located between JFK and Jackie Kennedy.
View of the Washington Monument
Not sure if you can make it out, but this is the grave site for Edward Kennedy
The Tomb of the Unknowns
There is a guard present 24 hours a day, every single day with no exceptions at The Tomb of the Unknowns… and there is a ‘changing of the guard’ ceremony at the top of the hour that takes about 12 minutes (which continues to happen after the visiting hours are over as well).
I remember the day this happened I was at the Liberty Science Center with my family.
View of Washington D.C.
I was surprised (and amused) that they sell this at the gift shop there.
By the way, did you know that Washington D.C. doesn’t have any fireworks for New Year’s? We also went there the night before with our extended family from Virginia and my grandfather (13 people) and there were none! Apparently they only have them for the 4th of July. Who would have thought?

I would have never guessed that the nation’s capital wouldn’t do fireworks for New Years! I guess the no traffic along the way (when we left after 11 PM) and the fact that we found parking relatively easily should have been a hint, but there were so many other people waiting there expecting the fireworks too… very odd.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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A Quick Recap of the Weekend

I HATE when everyone leaves at the same time, and that is exactly what happened this past Sunday. We had family arriving last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for various family gatherings, but they all left Sunday.

On Friday night, our aunt and uncle (Chotti Anna and Javed Chachoo) hosted a BBQ, and it turned out to be a graduation party for all the graduates in our immediate family (six of us from NJ and one from Canada) and a house-warming party for them at the same time. Saturday, we had a brunch at our house and that night was Shahbaz’s Graduation Party.

Not only did all my aunts and uncles and their families leave, but so did Faraz!

If I said it didn’t seem weird, I would be lying.

I guess it will take some getting used to. Even though Faraz has lived away in Hoboken for five years, we still saw him a couple of time a month. We’re planning on going to Canada at the end of the month though, so we’ll see him then.

Sunday night, after all of our relatives had left, we went to see the fireworks at Piscataway High School and then yesterday went to NYC for a few hours in a the evening. It’s funny that we have lived here for so many years (ten to be exact) and haven’t really seen many of the tourist spots.


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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A Trip to Mississauga with Faraz

Earlier this month, the Sunday after our Washington D.C. trip, Faraz and I drove up to Mississauga in Canada for about five days (which was originally supposed to be a 2 day trip) because he had a job interview.

On our drive up to Mississauga, we passed through an area (Binghamton) that just had a tornado hit. Passing the storm was insane, with crazy rain and wind – but thankfully we drove right through it in fifteen or twenty minutes.

We have a LOT of family up in Mississauga (some of which were just here for the wedding). I love going to see places and things, so one of the nice things about just us two going was I got to go around downtown Toronto the two days Faraz was there interviewing. I used to live in Toronto, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone before.

Did you know that pretty much the whole downtown Toronto has an underground mall that is connected by pathways. Because its so cold there in the winter, people can just go to the basement level from their office buildings and get to virtually anywhere in downtown they want without ever having to step outside. It was pretty neat, and immaculate!

Faraz got the job, and he’ll be moving to Canada the first of July! Whoa, talk about growing up fast!

I’m going to miss him a lot, and it’ll be weird having him move there… but I wish him nothing but the best… and I guess the past five years of him living at school kind of prepared us… but not really considering we would see him a few weekends a month.

Sigh.

The night he got the job, my brother and I went to Demetre’s with my aunt and her family to celebrate. Demetre’s is an all-dessert restaurant and it was amazing to say the very least. We definitely have to take our parents there next time we’re in the area.  I’ve always heard about it, but never went there before.

This is what I had:

It was absolutely delicious! It’s called “Sweetcar Named Devour” and consisted of chocolate ice cream (under the crepe), fresh strawberries, and fudge sauce! Yum!

 
 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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Touring Washington D.C.

While we travel to Virginia occasionally to visit family, we never set time aside to actually go visit places and see things.

For the longest time I have wanted to go and tour D.C. since the last time I did so, I was pretty young and a) I don’t remember much of it and b) I wasn’t interested in that stuff like I am now. So on the first thursday of June, we took a family trip to D.C. for the day (and to prove our dedication… we left at 6 AM!).

We visited the Air and Space Museum, toured the Capitol and the Library of Congress, and saw the Monument amongst other things. One thing that we didn’t get a chance to do that I really wanted to go see was visit the Arlington National Cemetery. I’ve always wanted to go and see the eternal flame at JFK’s grave site. But on our way there, it started raining and thunder-storming a lot, so we ended up heading back home instead.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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Politics and Possibilities, Part Two

This is a continuation of this.

A combination of loud neighbors, sirens going off all night outside, and just being in a new place equaled a sleepless night on Monday. As much as I love the city life, I definitely don’t see myself living in one.

On the agenda for the second day: the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Rutgers Federal Relations and the Haitian embassy.

Thankfully, there were no cancellations that day (at least that we were made aware of) and things ran a lot more smoothly. Without a doubt, the faculty member we traveled with and her supervisor had realized how annoyed we were at how the previous day had gone by (especially considering the fact that they have done this for so many years).

One of the things the man we spoke to at the department of justice talked to us about was how he has four brothers and all are either in prison currently or in the process of going back to prison and ironically this man works for the department of justice/federal bureau of prisons. This came up as we discussing peoples’ backgrounds and where they grew up and how your upbringing effects what you do in life. His point basically was that even with adversity, it is what you do that effects what you become in your life.

At the Rutgers Federal Relations office, we spoke to two Rutgers alumni’s. We talked about the budget cuts that would be effecting education and its impact on schools everywhere, especially Rutgers. I’ve talked over and over again about how I feel about education, and it is so sad that tuition fees keep going up, yet resources and classes that are offered (amongst many other things) keep getting cut.

Our final stop was the Haitian embassy. As we were walking there we passed the embassies of so many different countries, so that was pretty neat (especially trying to figure out what country some of the flags represented).

Anyone with half a heart has to be beyond devastated in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. Such a large natural disaster can create havoc anywhere, and for it to effect the poorest nation – one can only imagine!

Of course, the number one question on everyones’ mind was ‘what can we do for help?’. The man used the example of bottled water. One of the things that people continue to donate is bottled water – because if you think about it, their rational thinking is probably that water is a necessity and Haitians need it. Well, they are partly correct – they do need water, but instead of exporting water there… what they need is money to build things up once again so they can provide things for themselves.

He also told us a chilling story that gave me goosebumps. A friend of his (person A) works in an embassy (I think – I might be misremembering the place, but that’s not really important) in Haiti and it was a frantic and busy day at work. While he was doing his work, a friend of his (person B) called him and said he really needed help down at his office and if he (person A) could please come down right away. Person A told Person B that he was really busy and that he would come down later, but person B kept insisting and said ‘you would be a lifesaver’ if you came down and helped. Person A finally annoyingly agreed and as he was on his way to person B, the earthquake struck. The outcome was that Person A’s office was completely destroyed and everyone died… but person A survived because of person B!

Person A told the guy we spoke to how guilty he felt and also how person B had said ‘you would be a lifesaver’, yet person B had saved person A’s life. It’s amazing, yet so sad. The situation was completely out of his control, yet you can’t help but realize how torn the man must feel. Thankful and fortunate that he survived, yet feeling horrible that all of his colleagues died.

After visiting the Haitian embassy, we headed back to our hotel to get to our van and head back home (not before the faculty member and her supervisor wasted another half hour though).

It was pretty weird that we went to Washington D.C. and didn’t even see the White House or the monuments and memorials, considering that pretty much defines D.C.

You would think driving a four and a half hour drive (one way) and spending two days with four other students (I did know one of them from last semester) and two faculty members you have never met before would be awkward, but luckily the other four students were easy to get along with and even in the car ride – we all were talking from everything from movies to political events (we were all political science students after all!). I think who you are with makes all the difference, so it was definitely a good thing.

All in all, we got to speak to several people who gave us great advice and were quite informative, so at the end of the day – I’m glad I went.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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