Cold Can't Extinguish Bay Area Ticket Holders' Mood

I'm sitting on a chair in (D) Nancy Pelosi's, D-Speaker of the House, office and I'm looking around. In this office, in the hallways, lined up outside the doors, stand thousands of people, all here with one goal; to be witnesses to history.

As an African American I can't help but notice how many other people here look like me. Has the Cannon Building, where Pelosi's office is located, ever hosted this many African Americans before? Is this just one of many firsts taking place this week?

Martin Luther King Day can often be a somber occasion, but today feels like a party. It took an hour to pay for the fare at the metro station but no one seemed upset. The train was crowded but no one was grumpy. The line outside the Cannon Building, where thousands of people waited to pick up their tickets, was long. The icy, cold winds were excruciating but, as people inched closer to the inside of the building, spirits lifted.

My mom, who flew to Washington from Miami, and I just received our tickets. It suddenly feels very real. We are really going to see Barack Obama assume the role of Commander-in-Chief. Standing for hours in the cold doesn't seem so daunting anymore because my mother and I will be immersed in a crowd of people eager to see Obama get sworn in and to usher in a new era in our lives, in this country's history.

I just met Rali Abdullah, from Pacific Heights, who is sitting next to me in Pelosi's office, feeling overwhelmed. She volunteered with Obama campaign on and off throughout 2008 because she was still disappointed about John Kerry's loss four years earlier. She decided this time at least she can say she did all she possibly could to put a Democrat back in the White House. She even booked her plane and hotel tickets for the inauguration back in August, just in case. On Nov. 4, when her dream came true, she was watching the news with other volunteers in Ohio. When Obama was declared the winner, Abdullah literally passed out. She awoke to find her fellow volunteers standing over her with worried expressions. She had a big smile on her face and tears in her eyes. She says she expects to feel the same way tomorrow. "I'm going to have tons of tissues with me. I can't get enough of this feeling. I'm so excited I don't know how to describe it."

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