Page 2 of Yasmeena Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland November 3rd 2015

Good heavens, I was going through old cover letters looking for inspiration for a wide range of jobs I am applying to right now (real world… here I come), and I came across this old one in my files. It was saved on January 14, 2014- not long after I had moved out of my beloved Chicago- with memories and experiences still fresh and deeply embedded in my mind. Even though some time has passed since and the adventures have continued onward, this cover letter is a snapshot of how I felt during my time there. It has profoundly influenced who I am today in almost everything I do, how I see the world through a new lens of compassion, and how I continue to want to serve in the public sphere. Those formative years in ... read more

On my run today, thoughts floated in my mind as to why I enjoy this seemingly painful sport so much. Yes, I take a lot of pleasure and relaxation in running, finding the hour or two when I’m on the road as a journey in itself. Maybe circumstances are a bit heavy for the moment, stresses piling up, or I need to mentally sort some thoughts and emotions. By the end of a five or six mile journey, problems seem to be solved, stresses melt away, anger and frustrations gone and replaced by a sense of inner peace. I run as much as I can, some phases in life more than others. For example, in the budding stages of the Syrian war, I ran so often to cope with the shocking horrors of an unraveling civil ... read more

North America » United States » Louisiana » New Orleans August 18th 2014

New Orleans has always been a city that has captivated the imagination and taken the visitor over layers of the most fascinating episodes of New World history. Its history reads like a novel where the city does not serve only as the setting, it serves as its own protagonist. The town has so much character and is so confident in itself, it does not need to impress the visitor (parallels I drew with my beloved Chicago). It does not need to prove anything. You change to be a part of its story. That, I realize, is what I love most about places I encounter. New Orleans is … Unique. Classic. Original. Scent of musky rose seeps from the antique buildings Soft jazz and gentle ragtime float from block after block of open bars The French Quarter ... read more
Esplanade Ave
New Orleans is...
Rathbone Mansion c. 1850

I had been waiting for them all winter. Since I had flown back here on the eve of a snow storm in January, I looked forward to the day where the snow would melt for good, and I would experience a world famous spring in Washington, D.C. After months of below freezing temperatures and a steady pounding of snowstorms, small hints of life ventured through the melting frost. Slowly the temperatures climbed. Then one day, as if overnight, beautiful bouts of color illuminated the landscape. And the cherry blossoms arrived. Over three thousand trees were given to the city of Washington, D.C. as a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912, meant to symbolize a long lasting friendship between Japan and the United States. The flowers are in shades of pink and white and bloom ... read more
Bao Bao's ma
bloom 2.0

Whereas 2012 was the year for Europe, 2013 was the year for America. I rediscovered the beauty of my home country and I am gaining a deeper appreciation that grows with every passing week. I spent the first three months of this year in Chicago, the following four months back in my hometown in Southern California, and I'm finishing off the year here in Washington, DC. In between moves, I had the greatest fortune and pleasure in snatching glimpses of other parts of the country in Southeast Texas, Northern Oregon, and New England. Following tradition, I should be celebrating the New Year back in California. Southern California marked a chapter this year of endless sunshine, a restoration of peace and balance to a spirit admittedly depleted from a few years of cold, stress and work. When ... read more
My all-time favorite Chicago roommates
Campus at dead of winter
Harper Memorial in between gray

North America » United States » Texas » Galveston June 4th 2013

I'm here on a beach house with my mother's family, happily isolated on Bolivar Peninsula for a week, celebrating the completion of my years in college, the conclusion of my adolescence, and bracing for the next chapter of life to commence. We are, overall, just celebrating life. In a moment of reflection, here are a few things I've learned over the past few years. Things I want my younger brother to know and a snapshot in my life's timeline that I will one day look back and laugh at my nativity. 1. Seize opportunities, especially when it comes to traveling or trying something new 2. Determine who really matters in your life- family, close friends, coworkers, good bosses. Deepen those relationship because they will last a lifetime 3. Good bosses are hard to come by. My ... read more

A few photos from home... California. is. awesome.... read more
Cucamonga Peak, view from Rancho
descending mountain

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago March 25th 2013

As I stand at this moment, I have on one hand a degree from a world renowned institution, and on the other the prospect of a very promising future. I wrote to the admission office over four years ago that I wanted the U of C to be the cornerstone foundation for the rest of my life. And it is. Gratitude is not enough. Words are not enough to express incredible appreciation for opening doors and windows into a world I had never before experienced. For showing me a beautiful city, and giving me the courage to act on life. And for giving me the room to grow and the space I needed to embark on a lifetime of self- discovery. We as students of the University of Chicago are blessed to attend an institution that ... read more
The KLEO Center
Lincoln Park
Rainbow Push Coalition

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago December 27th 2012

The excitement of November 6th, 2012- the energy, the atmosphere, the creed that better days are always ahead of us- has stirred up emotions dormant since 2008. Feelings that one leader elected by an energetic and hopeful nation can stir up. Reflecting on exactly what he said: We are the Obama generation. This election, as was stated in 2008, is not really about the President. It is not about the remarkable story of one freshman Illinois senator who catapulted his way to victory because he can rock a speech. It is because there really is “something happening” in America, something has been waiting to be stirred for a very long time. Just like for every innovator, creator, artist, and scientist, there is a passionate fire that exists in the souls of every individual. A passion that ... read more

Middle East » Syria » West » Tartus November 7th 2012

It has been a little over a year since I returned from a summer long visit to Syria in late August 2011. I was twenty years old, and it was perhaps one of the best summers I had in a very long time. I traveled, I explored, I learned some Arabic, but more importantly I learned the values from a society that promotes generosity, love, family, peace, and friendship- values not easily learned when living alone. Last summer I was shown through numerous people, friends and family alike, that it is a hundred times better to give and to love with your heart even if you have little to offer, than to hold back or hold in any adoring emotions or possessions. The love I received from my family that summer is enough to empower me ... read more

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