The Liebster Award: I Got Nominated!

The Liebster Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers as a way of recognizing their accomplishments and sharing new blogs. I am honored to say that I was nominated by the blog Cherry Flare. It is always amazing to see how one’s writing can inspire people from all over the world!

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

  • Thank your nominator.
  • Share the award on your blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions asked to you.
  • Ask 5 questions to 5 new nominees. (Taking the liberty of editing this requirement)
  • Notify them.

Onto the ten questions!

1. What were your first thoughts when you started blogging?

When I first started blogging, I had just moved to Brussels, Belgium, where I would be staying with a host family for 6 weeks. It was a part of a 10-week study abroad program in Europe, learning about the European Union, US-EU Relations, European Security, and Human Rights. Like most college students who go decide to study abroad, my intention was to use a blog as a way of recording the amazing thoughts, ideas, and memories that I would have while traveling.

However, by the time I wrote my first post (“Capturing Imperfection”), this blog began to mean so much more to me. In many ways, it became a conscious attempt to articulate the complex emotions and intellectual tensions that I was facing during that time my life.

2. What post of yours would you say is your favorite one and why?

This is really difficult for me to answer! Each post has meant something completely different to me, which makes it really hard to pick a favorite. Here’s my top 5:

  1. 10 Valuable Lessons I Learned from Studying Abroad – It was the first time that I felt like I was able to succinctly explain complex changes that I had had by converting 10-weeks of extreme emotions and revelations into a simple 10 bullet list.
  2. The Paradox of Renewable Energy – After my trip to Iceland, this took about 3 full nights of researching, writing, and re-writing in order to craft. It’s my favorite because by the time I published it, I felt like I was successfully able to form the narrative that I had in mind when I first starting writing the post.
  3. Stop Waiting to Change – I love this one, because I was able to talk about my experiences with meditation (and getting started with it); it was incredible to see how many people it resonated with.
  4. Changing the World: A Youth Perspective – Such an incredible opportunity to be able to have a post get published on Huffington Post! Definitely got me excited and more confident about considering myself a writer and encouraged me to take advantage of more opportunities like the United Nations Youth Assembly.
  5. “To You” (A Spoken Word Poem) – A moment of openness and vulnerability; this was something that was humbling to be able to perform and share.

3. Have you experienced writer’s block? How did you get through it?

Absolutely – it feels like I’m experiencing writer’s block almost all of the time. Generally, the way that I get through it is by starting with a half-baked idea that may come up (or something that I’ve thought about in the past), writing down as much as I can about that idea, and then allowing it to churn in my mind for about a week. Throughout the week, I’ll usually bring the idea up and allow it to grow – by using it in conversations, letting it sit for a while in my morning meditation, and ultimately developing it into a concrete outline about the point I’m trying to make.

Once I have some sort of idea about the arc of the story that I am trying to convey, it’s fairly easy to get back into writing!

4. Do you still remember the first blog you read before you started? If so, which one was it?

The first blog I can remember reading was the blog of a friend from high school (Recombinant). Her blog showed me how beautiful it can be when we are vulnerable with our thoughts and willing to share them with the world. After all, one word, one post, one blog just might change someone’s life.

5. What do you hope for in the future? Not only for your blog but in general as well.

I hope for a more balanced future. More and more as I grow older and as the world around me undergoes various traumas (environmental, conflict-induced, and from growing inequity), I realize just how important it is for there to be heart in our lives and our societies. There is a Chinese Proverb that I heard in a speech at the 2016 Winter UN Youth Assembly:

If there is light in the soul,

There will be beauty in the person.

If there is beauty in the person,

There will be harmony in the house.

If there is harmony in the house,

There will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation,

There will be peace in the world.

– Chinese Proverb

So, I ultimately hope for peace in the world through light in every soul. For my blog, my only goal is to assist in this by sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences.

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?

Honestly, in many aspects, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was, as I wrote in the article, stop waiting to change. While I may make it seem like the easiest thing in the world, the whole process of changing my lifestyle to become more and more like the one I had previously only reserved for some “ideal future” was one that took much sacrifice and a lot of tension. Cognitive dissonance is real and ever-present in our contradictory existence. So understandably, it takes a toll when one insists on trying to resolve as much of this dissonance as possible until personally satisfied.

7. If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Earnest. Empathetic. Enthusiastic.

8. What are you most proud of?

There is always much to be proud of and happy about in life; I’m not sure I can rank or pick! However, one powerful moment for me was in high school when I helped to start a club against human trafficking and planned/coordinated a field trip for about twenty students to attend a Lobby Day at the State Capital in order to petition our congress members to support anti-trafficking legislation.

Just imagine a room filled with adults sitting quietly, listening to a press conference with legislators and FBI officials – when suddenly, a group of 20 students all wearing the same PATH Club t-shirt walk (fashionably late) into the room. The energy and excitement was palpable. It felt like the youth voice had arrived and was finally present!

It was an amazing experience to be able to see how persistence in getting something like this field trip done can lead to a positive impact and it was a really rewarding moment that helped inspire me to do more.

9. What has been your main motivation in life so far?

Love. I’ve come to realize that I am driven by love – whether in common, everyday situations, career goals (by bringing love and care to those who are often ignored), or big picture (existence as a whole).

10. What is one thing nobody knows about you yet?

If there is something you want to know about me, just ask. Be careful, because you better be willing to listen and you may not get the answer you expect!

Nominations:

My Questions:

  1. Why blogging?
  2. What are you most grateful for?
  3. What is a memorable moment in your life?
  4. What is the one post you’ve always wanted to write? (and if you haven’t written it yet, why not??)
  5. Favorite thing to read, listen, and/or watch?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Alka says:

    Suraj, I love to read your blogs. Keep writing. Congratulations for your nomination for Liebster award.

    Like

  2. Dolly Nicolai says:

    Congratulations Suraj! You deserve it. Great and quiet job. I love the way you write.

    Like

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