A Travellerspoint blog

St. Patrick's Day in the Capitol

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Not to exaggerate or anything, but today was probably the most exciting day...ever! I got to help with the luncheon that Speaker Pelosi held for the Taoiseach (pronounced tee-shuck) or Prime Minister of Ireland, Brian Cowen and President Obama. In addition to escorting the lovely Irish guests from the entrance to the reception room, I found myself in close proximity with some amazing people. On his way in, President Obama led the Speaker and Taoiseach down the hall about 2-3 yards in front of me. I got a picture just as he was lifting his hand to wave...he looked right at me!! I literally started shaking with excitement. Next thing I knew a staff member in my office had thrust a coat into my arms and said quickly "This is the Speaker's coat. I need you to take it back to the office for me." I'm going to be honest...I felt really, really cool. haha. Then after the luncheon was over we were right outside the door in the perfect spot yet again. As they exited, the Speaker pointed out to the President a staff member who was standing on the stairs behind me. Obama pointed at him and, as cool as ever, said "Yo!" Before I recovered from that (thank God I kept recording!) Vice President Biden was walking right in front of us. As he passed he looked at me (along with my friends Melanie and Evangeline), nodded, smiled and said "Hi ladies." At this point we looked at each other in complete shock and finally let out "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!" Today I was within 2 feet of America's 3 most important government officials...UNREAL! Then on our way out of the Capitol back to the Congressional Office, my friend was eating one of the elaborate desserts (layers of chocolate mousse and whipped cream on top of each other) when we passed Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. He looked directly at her fork full of goodness and laughed.

I still have not recovered. I am SO THANKFUL that my office allows me these opportunities. Here are the links to the photos (there's only a couple) and the video. Be warned, the video has about 2 and a half minutes of very loud bagpipes before the exciting people start showing up. Just know, you will want to crank up the volume in order to hear Biden greet us. It's quiet...but definitely there!



Posted by aabyars 20:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Fun in DC

Hi Everyone!

So I've been getting to do some pretty amazing things lately. I am loving my job in the Speaker's Office and my classes! Last week I was fortunate enough to get to attend an event for Lincoln's Bicentennial at which President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader of the Senate - Harry Reid, and Republican Leaders of the House and Senate - John Boehner and Mitch McConnell spoke, along with a couple other Senators, Representatives and Lincoln historians. I ended up getting to sit in the second row of the Senators' section (to fill in the seats of absent members). I got a great picture, although the quality isn't very good (cell phone). I was in such awe that I realized when I watched the speech online later that I didn't really hear about 75% of it. It was pretty amazing.

Today we got to have class on the floor of the House of Representatives. Former Congressman Michael Flanagan spoke to us and then took us on a pretty special tour of the Capitol. Although we couldn't take pictures on the floor, we did get to go out onto the Speaker's Balcony and take pictures there. (There are pictures of a few of my classmates included because they didn't have cameras...so I put them up to share for them).

Other than that, I've been very busy and very tired. And now I'm very hungry, so I'll update more later! Miss you all.


Posted by aabyars 14:12 Comments (0)

Inauguration Week


Well, something pretty important happened this week. All the people clogging up the Metro was evidence of that.

Inauguration 2009!!! I'm just going to apologize ahead of time if I start to ramble or make no sense because everything still hasn't really sunk in yet.

Sunday was the inaugural "We Are One" concert. Rebecca and I woke up bright and early to go stand in the cold for that. It was totally worth it; we were so close that we had to move back a little so we could see better! All kinds of big movie and music stars were there, it was an amazing show and a lot of fun. My friends Kyle and Alex (who I went to elementary school in Davis with) were there too which was really cool.

3:30 Tuesday morning Rhianna and I started our Inaugural adventure. We got down town at around 5:45 and waited in the cold (probably around 15 degrees) with a lot of excited people. Luckily we ended up with tickets, courtesy of my friend James, so we were on the right side of the Capitol lawn for the ceremony! I of course am quite short, so I still had to stand on my tip toes with my camera in the air...but I knew how close I was and that's what mattered. Before they let us in, while we were all squished together in line, there was such an incredible energy, people were singing, and it was just unlike anything else. I thought I was going to be pretty emotional during the ceremony, but I wasn't too bad. I later realized that it was because I was just so excited during the day - that night I pretty much lost it listening to a 7 year old boy missing his 2 front teeth talk about how he's going to tell his kids that he was there "when he's all grown up." I still can't believe that this all happened. I'm just so thankful to be here, and where I am in my life right now, studying Politics and able to experience all of this in such a unique way. I suppose I still don't really have the words to describe it all. It's just so overwhelming/amazing/exciting/emotional/incredible etc...etc...etc...

This past weekend Rebecca, Kyle and I went ice skating in the sculpture garden at the National Gallery...that was an experience. It was fun and I didn't fall, but it definitely took some concentration. Afterward we met up with Alex to quickly pop into the American History Smithsonian. We were tired and hungry so only spent an hour or two there, but I will definitely go back to see more.

Today was an especially happy day. I had been stressed about choosing an internship for about a week, and last Friday I accepted a job with US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group). Wouldn't you know it, two hours later I got an email from the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After talking to both my parents and to my professor, they all told me I absolutely needed to take the interview anyway and see what happens from there. I had a phone interview with them this afternoon and they offered me a job!!! I of course accepted and am thrilled! This is my dream job, I can't believe how lucky I am. I'm thankful for being registered in her district and having connections through USF, those definitely got me in the door. I know another girl who applied and was equally qualified, but got turned down. So thank you San Francisco!! And to top it off, we had some beautiful snow for the first time since I've been here today! Ok, that part is a little less exciting, but I still like it!

So here is the link to probably more pictures than some of you want to see, but as you know, this was an important week, and I documented it well. Enjoy!


Posted by aabyars 15:41 Comments (0)

Catch Up

Goodbye Ireland, Nice to See You California, Hello Washington D.C.

I am back from my disappearance from the blog world. Sorry to not update, I had a very busy few months. Since the last entry I turned 21, I experienced Thanksgiving in Ireland, got to see family and feel the sun for 2 weeks over Christmas, and moved to Washington D.C.

On my birthday I was lucky enough to have 3 visitors - Stacey, Laura and Kristi. We, along with others from UCD, went to a pub right on the Liffey called Messrs Maguire to celebrate. For Thanksgiving the school held a big dinner for Americans (+guests) in the cafeteria, at the end of which they had us sing the national anthem. It was pretty funny. The dinner was decent, sadly no pumpkin pie. But the night was all a round a lot of fun. During our last week, Evelyn and I went to Cork and toured around Blarney Castle. That was the most beautiful and fun trip of the semester! Oh! And also when the girls were here we went to Galway, Dun Laoghaire, the Guiness Factory, the Jameson Distillery, Kilmainham Gaol (the old jail - very interesting!) and other random tourist things around Dublin like the ghost tour and walked around St. Stephen's Green.

I was really sad to leave Ireland and all the people I met there. It was easily one of the best semesters ever! But luckily I had D.C. to look forward to, and also some great time relaxing at home...finally! Unfortunately the flight back to the States was hell, and on top of a four hour flight delay, my luggage got lost. But it was worth it to see everybody and to get to wear t-shirts again.

I've been in D.C. for a week now and I am loving it. Both of my classes (The American Politics seminar and The American Presidency elective) are a lot of fun and the teachers are great. The very few pictures I have so far are from the scavenger hunt we had to do for class. I have been on a couple interviews for internships so far, and have at least one, maybe two, job offers, but I haven't decided what to do yet. I have two roommates, Rebecca who is from up state New York and goes to Allegheny College, and Rhianna from Torrece, CA who also goes to USF (but I didn't know her before). Luckily all of us clicked immediately! And luckily the room is huge! So we all have plenty of space. There is only one thing that will take some getting used to...it is often colder than Ireland...which was way too cold already!

It is almost inauguration and I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!! I will post another blog in the coming week or two all about it. I hope you all enjoy watching it! I'll be in the freezing cold all day...totally worth it!



Posted by aabyars 19:30 Comments (0)

Leeds/York, Halloween, and the Election

Sorry I've been slacking, but school's getting pretty busy! Two weekends ago I went to Leeds to visit Stacey and I had an amazing time! She lives in a flat with 4 other girls...the ones who talked were pretty cool. I got in really early Friday morning, then in the afternoon Stacey took me down to the city centre and showed me around. It was a really nice city. Then on Saturday Stacey, Mari (Stacey's flatmate from Spain), and I took the train to York. IT WAS FREEEEEZING!!! But it was the cutest town, and apparently there was a historical Roman event going on, which was pretty interesting. In one of the reenactment booths I got "held up at knife point," which was odd but funny. Sunday a group of Mari's friends were having a bbq, and the cooking was done by this kid from Brazil. I don't know if it is because I mostly eat instant meals here, but that was THE BEST bbq I've ever had. He made rump, pork, and sausage with lime and sea salt...it was awesome.

Last weekend was Halloween and Evelyn and I went down town to my friend Rachel's apartment building, where her neighbor was having a party. The building is incredible, looks like they are living in a museum. Rachel is in both my logic and human existence classes, she goes to Georgetown, and is from Philadelphia (so I had someone to celebrate the world series with!). She is only in Ireland for one semester as well, so I will have a friend in DC already next semester!! Anyway, the party was fun, and it wasn't too cold. I dressed up as Snow White, pretty much because I have black hair and a red ribbon. The whole costume was free. One of the resident's of the apt putting on the party was also Snow White, but more traditionally. There is one picture of that in the loads of photos attached.

Election day here was fun! I wore an Obama pin all day that Rachel gave me. Evelyn and I stayed up pretty much all night long, following the results and coloring in states as our 6 different internet browsers updated. I wish I could describe how excited I was when 4am rolled around and they officially announced that Obama won. If I'm going to be honest, I shed a couple of tears (...and maybe a couple of times since then haha). It made me even more happy to get on the internet and see how many other people cared and were so excited. I love that I could share this with my friends back home. But then of course there are all the kids, mostly from Temecula, who post the most hateful, negative, insulting, ignorant comments. It's ok though, because I'm very excited about our future! In my life thus far, I've never been so proud of my country, but so ashamed of my state (the results on prop 8 are ridiculous).

The semester is nearing the end, only 3 more weeks of class left, which is completely blowing my mind. But I still have 6 and a half weeks until I go home. My 21st birthday is in two weeks, which my friends Stacey, Laura, and Kristi will all be visiting during! Probably the best present right there. I'm planning to go to Scotland after classes end, before finals start at the beginning of December.

Hope everyone is doing well! Miss you all.


P.s.- My grandpa, King, sent this to me...funny and appropriate for my semester:


Posted by aabyars 12:01 Comments (0)

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