written by Liz Liew from Malaysia
DC excites me for so many reasons – beautiful sunsets, walkable meanders, social messages enveloped in artistic street murals, talented buskers around every corner playing instruments of sorts, just to name a few. For an outdoor enthusiast, politically savvy nut and a lover of arts and music, Washington D.C IS living a dream.
After 2+ weeks of working in the capital of the nation, I’ve fallen in love with this city.
I love the massive safari-like zoo, the endless row of well-maintained museums and monuments, the free outdoor fitness events, the cultural festivals in Kennedy Performing Arts Centre where I watched the U.S Army Blues perform, the diverse food truck options parked just outside my office and the reasonable proximity to stunning national parks just outside the city. I love the Free Speech corner, a physical space for small and large political rallies outside the White House, where people protest, demonstrate or just stand up for a cause or concern they feel strongly about – no one is judged, hated, or prosecuted: I have never seen nor felt so engaged in power of expression on a daily basis. But most of all, I love how the spirit of social justice binds activists and passers-bys like myself.
Every spring, DC’s Mayor Muriel’s team organises a series of free outdoor activities for the D.C community – Yoga, Pilates, cinema, live jazz music, and even an outdoor office “Outdoor Office at Farragut” – a co-working space in open green space in the Golden Triangle of D.C.
Last week, as sirens blared and cars honked, as heavy clouds loomed across the grey sky, threatening to rain on us, and more than 100 women held themselves up in side plank, the Yoga instructor said something that summed up my gratitude for this experience: “Breathe and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Now ladies and gentleman, how amazing is this – to be in the middle of the city, the capital of USA, in downtown Washington D.C, amidst this chaos, amidst the threat of thunderstorm…we are here doing core Yoga with a hundred different strangers.” That moment is one I will always remember.