I believe in what I call the “Wow” factor. My family and I immigrated to America and Washington, D.C. when I was 17. 13 years later, I still find myself saying “Wow, I’m in America” like I did on that hot August day in 1993 standing in the immigration line at my Ellis Island, Dulles Airport. I still say “Wow, I’m in Washington” when I jog past the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol and, my favorite, the Lincoln Memorial. My favorite “wow” moment is sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during my cool-down from my jog at 6 in the morning watching the sun come up over the dome of the Capitol listening to Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful” on my IPod. I still go to see the fireworks on the 4th of July on the Mall every year even though some native Washingtonians feel like they’ve seen it before. I still say “wow” when I shop at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market, stand on the foyer at the Kennedy Center, bike up Embassy Row, and hang out with my friends in Georgetown or Adams Morgan. I believe in the “wow” factor because after 13 years I still keep rediscovering myself, Washington, and America.
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