Sam and Sam

A photo of Sam and Sam
A photo of Sam and Sam
Sam and Sam / Photo by Katherine Sundt

By Katherine Sundt
UJW Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – Standing at the top of a set of stairs that mimicked the feel of the bandstand without the cost of a ticket, Sam and Sam took turns taking pictures of each other holding their baby girl while juggling their Starbucks cups.

Enormous pink balloons shaped like cherry blossoms made for the perfect backdrop Saturday as the Virginia couple attended their first National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.

“We just wanted something to do,” wife Sam said with a laugh.  “And I like marching bands,” she added.

“It’s the 100th anniversary, so we thought it would be something really special,” said her husband Sam.

The couple, standing near the beginning of the parade route at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue, also brought along husband Sam’s mother to the historic event.  Wife Sam braved it while nine months pregnant and expected to give birth in a couple of weeks.

The relatively reserved couple declined to give their last names, but said they were especially looking forward to the Japanese street festival and the choir performances. They were disappointed, however, that the early blooming of the blossoms did not coincide with the parade.

“Global warming,” husband Sam offered as an explanation. When asked if he thought global warming was the main cause, Sam said that he was just joking.  “There are colder years and warmer years.  Remember the snowstorm a couple years ago in February?”

Husband Sam, 29, who moved to America from Pakistan about a decade ago, said he works as a medical scientist for Inova Fairfax Hospital along with his wife, 26.  He said they unsuccessfully tried to get some performers from the National Cherry BlossomParade to come to “Lab Week,” a time of fun and games at their office.  He wondered what the performers do during their time in D.C. besides the parade.

“They’re just everyday folks,” he said.  “I was wondering if they would be nice enough to come perform.”

Sam and Sam’s work lives are closely intertwined with their personal lives.  They not only work together, but they also work with her mother.

“If I piss her off, then I would have two women to deal with,” husband Sam said, flashing a grin.  “Her mom was the one who introduced us.”

His wife jumped in: “Actually, the first time I met him I thought, ‘he’s really a jerk.’ He was sort of pompous.”

Sam countered, “Well, I would just get weirded out because so many younger nurses would [approach me at work].  And I would just think, ‘This is work.’”

Yet over time, they grew on each other.  “I really liked his work ethic,” wife Sam said, “and we started hanging out.”  They got married in Virginia two and a half years ago.  “No big ceremony; we’re quiet people,” she said.

Sam and Sam enjoyed the parade from their high-up spot, but they wished they had come earlier in order to get a better view.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.