Tag Archives: friends

Chinatown

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     It has been about two weeks since I arrived at GW. Although there are various American foods here that I have not tried yet, I still miss Asian Food a lot. Therefore, my friends and I decided to go to Chinatown to enjoy local Chinese food to relieve our homesickness.

    Chinatown is not too far from GW. You can get there by taking the metro to Metro Center Station and walk about ten minutes. When you see a huge colorful arch with Chinese characters “中國城” on it, you know you are at the right place. In addition to the arch, you can also see many Chinese symbols everywhere.

 

(Dragon is a symbol of luck in traditional Chinese culture and in ancient China, emperors wore dragon robes to show their authority and power.)

 

(Chinese Animal Zodiac Sign is a repeating cycle of twelve years with a specific animal that corresponds to each year. The order comes as: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Chinese people remember the animal that symbolizes the year they are born and the particular features that animal represents.)

It was so cold that day, so we decided to go into a restaurant and have our lunch to warm up ourselves immediately after taking photos of this beautiful place. The restaurant we chose is called “Chinatown Express.” It is quite a famous restaurant because The Washington Post and The New York Times have introduced the place. It was crowded then, but we were fortunate enough to find a table.

  

We ordered different kinds of foods and shared with each other. We did so not only because we wanted to save our money, but because it was a part of Chinese culture to sit together and share our food to show our intimate relationship.

 

(You can get a pot of free hot tea as soon as you sit down. For those who tend to eat a lot, I strongly recommend chicken fried rice!)

When we finished all our meals, each of us got a fortune cookie as our dessert. It was so exciting to pull out the letter in the cookie to see what it writes.

   

Chinatown is a really cool place for not only Asian people, but anyone who is interested in Chinese culture. If you feel bored after finishing eating, there are still a lot of stores that you can go shopping around there, such as GAP, Forever 21, H&M, etc.

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End of the first semester

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I’m writing this while I wait for my plane and tears are threatening to come. This has been by far the best semester of my life, well the year in general. I can’t believe the lucky I’m for being here and having the opportunity of meeting such amazing people and making friends that I’m sure are for life.

This last week, after all the finals, has been pretty exciting, we have done so many things trying to enjoy the last days together. We have gone to the waterfront to do ice skating, we have gone out and we have had lots of dinners in the best places. But after all, that can summarize this semester, exploring DC and having fun.

Thankfully I have another semester here, although it is not going to be the same. Most of the people is leaving, they were only here for a semester and I’m so sad about it. I never though I was going to find the best friend I could ever find here, in Washington DC. But I did, I found Martina and now I can’t imagine my life here without her. That is the worst part of the exchange year, that you make many friends but most of them are from other countries, even from other continents. And then the only thing you can think about is, am I going to see them again? However, I’m sure we will do something about it.

I have a million of memories that I’m going to treasure all my life, as traveling around US and getting to know a new country, seeing New York for the fist time. But other memories,  the simplest ones, are the  closest to my heart now. Kayaking, dinners together, and a day trip to Philadelphia, being some of them.

This is not goodbye to DC, as I’m only going home for Christmas and then coming back. Is a goodbye to all the exchange students and a hello for the ones coming next semester. Thank you for the best experience of my life.

Time to Say Goodbye!

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   It has been such an eventful fours months that it seems crazy that it’s all over! It has been a week of last celebrations, reminiscing and goodbyes. As some people head home and others move on to their next
adventures, it’s hard to accept that you’re not going to be spending every day with the same bunch of people that you have come to know and love.

Luckily, it’s not a final goodbye! People may live on opposite sides of the planet but its definitely not the last time you get to see each other. The experiences you share don’t disappear and the bonds you make last a lifetime. That’s the thing about studying abroad – yes you study and yes you are abroad. But it is the people that you share it all with that really make the difference.

Looking back on the semester, it has been packed with protests, parties, food, travel, learning, sport and friends! I got the opportunity to cross so many things off my bucket list! From witnessing the inauguration to participating in the Women’s March and Muslim Ban Protest. Spring Break in Miami to road tripping down South! Watching the Wizards, Tar Heels and Colonials win! Being in central park during a blizzard with no one else around. Pedal boating on the Potomac surrounded by the cherry blossoms. The countless nights spent down at the Lincoln Memorial. And not to forget the more mundane nights (which are also some of the best) of cooking all together in Shenkman Hall.

Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn new things (both in and especially out of the classroom), try new things, learn what you like and don’t like, travel, meet people from all over the world! It is six months that you get to attempt anything and everything – fail at some and succeed at others.

It truly has been a great time at GWU, in DC and in the US. Foggy Bottom very quickly became our home that it feels genuinely weird to be leaving. To all those that made the past semester possible – a massive thank-you! And to all those who are about to arrive – enjoy!!!!

Goodbye America – it’s been fun!

 

DC – Cologne Fusion

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After my quite serious and long blog entry last week, this week will be much lighter – I promise. In fact, this will probably be the first time, where I report from my time in DC and at GW from as a proper tourist. The reason? It is simple, I am actually spending all my time with two tourists right now – my friends from Germany. The day of the 25th anniversary of German reunification (10/03/2015) was chosen to have very own little reunion. Well, okay, them being here on such a symbolic day is only a coincidence, but still a very ironic one. Their timing was great or maybe not so much considering that they are here during my Midterm week. We will see how that plays out.

Since they will only stay in DC for a couple of days before we take off to the Big Apple aka New York City, I felt huge pressure on me to show them everything. Initially my goal was to be the best tour guide they ever had. However, my wish was crushed after I noticed that myself is still a bit of a tourist in this city after we jumped into the Red Line going into the opposite direction of our destination twice. I also forgot the way to Shake Shack so that we ended up walking the biggest detour ever shake shack
I like to be positive though, so to look for the silver lining at least they saw much of DC that way. Plus, we had a lot of time to talk.

It is a strange feeling; I’m not going to lie, to walk around with friends from my hometown back in Germany in DC. Walking around with people from Maastricht is different. I just share a different connection to them. My friends from Cologne are people I grew up with. They have witnessed all my good and bad days, have gone through crazy times with me and seen me change and grow. People from Maastricht only know the Bahar of the last two years. They do not know all of me. So having my friends from Cologne here is a strange feeling, because it creates an even stronger bond between us. Now they witness me being here. They can experience some of the things I encounter during my time in DC themselves now. It is not only me telling them about all my experiences as it was the case after my exchange year 6 years ago. They understand me better now and it makes us feel even closer to each other.

Hurricane Joaquin or lets rather say what one could feel from Hurricane Joaquin in DC was not the best sightseeing weather. We still did not let go of the chance to walk passed Obama’s little cabin and take a typical tourist selfie in front of it white house touris.

If shopping counts as some form of sightseeing, too, then we also did a lot of that in Georgetown– according to my friends even too much since they might be broke by now. The bucket list for places my friends have to see has still some important things on it:

 

The National Mall.

Eastern Market and H Street.

U Street with dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

The Pentagon.

Georgetown Cupcakes & the Waterfront.

El Chuco.

 

We also walked around the GW campus, which apparently has inspired my friends a lot. They really want to buy a GW sweater now. They are showing full on college spirit.

It is great to have them here. Now I can share my enthusiasm about DC and GW with them directly instead of only awkwardly talking to them via Skype, which 90% of the time consists only of me asking: “Do you guys hear me?”

Being here they hear me clearly and they can see and experience for themselves. They like DC and are very happy. We all are. The major reason is probably that we are together with DC being the icing on the cake.