“Join the Navy see the world,” my husband says as he packs our suitcases. We have lived in Washington D.C. for 2 and a half years and are being relocated back to San Diego. Even though we have been relocated once, living on the East coast played a fundamental role in my life. We haven’t traveled much, but I truly felt like D.C. had a little bit of everything, as well as, the people to go along with it. It was an experience that made me realize the astonishing amount of love and care people have for you after only a day of knowing them. It made me truly believe that it is human nature to be good. As if we were born with the nature to help and care for others. After living in Washington D.C. for two years, I felt like it is naturally engraved in us that we work towards the greater benefit of society without even realizing it.
Even though I have a cultural background and was once an immigrant from Iraq myself, I was still oblivious to the world outside of San Diego. I knew there was a place called New York and some city where the “oh so famous” White House was but who was I kidding, I barely even drove the two hours to L.A. to see the Hollywood sign. (I’ve only seen it once and that was 4 years ago while passing Melrose Place for a Pink’s Hotdog). YES, I guess you can say I was in my own bubble. I was so socially awkward and in my own world that if someone said “Hello” as they were passing, I would cut off all eye contact and speed walk across the street. However, my point is that I was a closed minded Arab with no motivation to diversify. Hence, why when I went to the East Coast it was tough for me to understand the kindness that these strangers had for me.
What changed? I met my husband. Small town boy from Washington state who joined the Navy at the age of 17. I mean seriously how enlightening could he be? Well, he has seen more of the world then I could ever imagine and the kindness that many only believed happened in storybooks. After getting married and moving across the country, he helped me open my mind to a world that is outside of San Diego. A world where people’s natural instinct is to have empathy for each other, no matter what culture or background. Where every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons helping each other with compassion and encouragement. Every person I have met or crossed paths with had a story, and with every story made me recognize what type of amazing individuals there are out there.
My husband and I met friends that took us in as if we were a part of their family from day one. I can say that they are the type of friends that I can call framily. Friends that will be a part of our family no matter how long it has been since we last saw them. Friends that never once did we ever have a dull moment with. Friends that helped us realize that the love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege. They had a story, a story that made us recognize the beautiful souls that we will continue to meet throughout our lifetime. I became more open to the idea of listening to other people’s stories and the friendships that many are willing to build with you. Friendships that I will forever cherish.
I have met many more influential individuals that have changed my mindset. Whether it was a classmate or with a random stranger, I was constantly reminded that sometimes people come into your life to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.
For instance, a friend that helped me understand the many different Middle Eastern cultures and appreciate where my roots are from. A foodie just like me, where our friendship started by just talking about food. A friendship that I built with her mom without even meeting her, but because I would send Sara home with treats to give her mom.
Classmates and friends that helped me appreciate that no matter how long you have lived in America, you still strive towards the same goal, the American dream. That with every different cultural background comes a similar story. Immigrants just like me, with the same goals and values, yet from a totally different country. I was reminded that just because many of us are from a different country we have more similar traits than we think.
When traveling to Atlanta a beautiful family took us in as their own for Thanksgiving dinner. We had never met them before and when we were invited over for the holiday my husband and I were not expecting such a warm welcome. We felt like we were right at home. How is it that strangers could be so loving and kind and take us in as their own? My husband and I may or may not see them again, but I will always have a place in my heart for them. I admired their kindness and truly believe that there are many more families out there just as long as we keep our hearts and minds open.
As my husband and I explored the East Coast, the history of our country was truly influential. I realized that we are still functioning as a society, which is why our civilization has not yet crumbled. We have gone through some difficult times like everyone else and perhaps our working together and respecting each other’s abilities, in addition to that little thing called love has helped us survive.
As I move back to San Diego, I now have a different approach towards strangers. I now appreciate the time that many are willing to give, the kindness that many are eager to share and the stories that many are happy to tell. No matter if I ever see you again D.C., you will always have a piece of me. So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.
I want to thank my husband for influencing me in a way that I could never imagine and sacrificing his life for the freedom of this country. Because of Keith, I now see the wonderful souls that we are surrounded by.
Thank you. ❤
28 Comments Add yours
Wow what an awesome wonderful post!! I wish you and your husband the best as you relocate to San Diego!! Hugz Lisa and Bear
Amazing Pictures… 🙂
My heart melted. I found your story to be very inspiring, and I’m thankful that you took the time and energy to write a post about your journey. It made me realize something about my friendships and I had a revelation. I felt as if you were talking about my friend when you mentioned meeting friends that you could consider them to be your family. One day, I would love to visit Washington, D.C. because of your journey.
It’s amazing how friends can become like family. I am happy to know that you took the time to read my story. Thank you for stopping by 🙂
My husband is in the Air Force. We’ve only gone through 1 move together, but already it has opened my eyes so much. I thought I’d hate Las Vegas, but I truly love it and appreciate what it’s taught me. Great post!
That’s awesome! I’m so happy for you! At first moving feels so horrible but once you have opened your heart, you start to enjoy what is around you.
Good luck with the move back to San Diego! I love D.C. myself, and I’m so glad you were able to create such fond memories there. Yes, traveling can really open our eyes to just how similar all people’s goals are. Now as you return to San Diego may you be able to “know the place for the first time.”
Thank you! I am glad to be going back to San Diego now with a different mindset and actually getting to know it for the first time haha.
I hope your time in San Diego is wonderful!
thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I feel so fortunate to have read your post.
Beautiful post! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to spend a few years in DC for university, and your story makes me even more excited about the possibility of being able to explore there 🙂
Great blog. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the beautiful pictures.
Your story is so touching. Beautiful story, beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. Good luck with the move. 🙂
Such a beautiful post! Let me welcome you back to San Diego. As a native of SD, I have never lived elsewhere (except two years in temecula which I try to forget) so I admire your courage in these moving adventures.
Your writing is beautiful and heartfelt. I loved your post and the photos are absolutely breathtaking. All the best with your move back to San Diego.
Hi Julie! First, welcome back! I’ve missed your beautiful blogging. Second, thank you so much for this lovely post about your time in DC and your experiences with friends and strangers alike. I think every place we go, whether it be to live for a short time or to visit for an even shorter period, informs our perspectives and really adds a richness to our daily lives. I lived in Boston for one year — through every season there — and still remember the people and town very fondly (despite the snow). 🙂 Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos. Have a great day!
Thank you! I know it’s been a while since I last blogged, moving took so much of my time. That’s awesome that you lived in Boston, I wanted to take a trip up there, but time wouldn’t permit it hopefully I can visit soon! Thank you for taking the time to read my post!
I know how it is to locate but we to stay in one state. I wish I could see the soldiers and give them my Thanks. .Be strong ..I had my share. also thank you for liking a post;0)
What a loving and moving post! Beautifully written….
Greetings from Houston, Texas. A very nice and inspiring post. I wish you and your husband all the best in San Diego. Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you will stop by again soon.
What a wonderful post! You’ve made me miss DC. I grew up in the DC area, but have called SoCal home for 16 years. Good luck with your move!
What a truly endearing story! I wish you and your family all the best with your future endeavors.
Beautiful & inspiring post! Thanks for sharing your experience and wishing you and your husband all the best in San Diego! 🙂
Thank you! It was a wonderful experience and truly am grateful for the friendships that I have built.
What a beautiful way to look at change and the world around you! Best of luck to you on this transition. It might be difficult at times, but I hope that you can see the light even in the darkness.
Very heartfelt post with beautiful and moving pictures! Wishing you all the best on the move, I think you be blessed…Thank you for stopping by my blog 🙂
I have a certain woman who is learning about me & understanding what I have gone through & what she has to do to help me get out from the shell I am living under for a long time. I am & have been like you in a way where life has been very protected & I just now learning of how to be socially acceptable if only online through wordpress or chatting with people right now. This was a great post & makes me think of what I will be doing soon as I get to be with my woman who loves me lots & sees me as a very knowledgeable person if nothing else as I learn lots from her & she does the same with me. Thanks for your support & giving of yourself.