Oh-oh We’re Half Way There, Livin’ on a Prayer

With a month left, I want to make the most of it and experience everything D.C. has to offer. Every day on my walk home I try to make notes of places I want to go. Number one on my list since day one is L’Enfant Café, partially because it’s named after the person who designed D.C., but also because of the vibe the café has when you walk by. Outside there are a lot of single person tables meant for people to just casually enjoy their evening and the city. I saw an art museum called Phillips Collection that I want to go to for the modern art. There’s also a textile museum I’m interested in going to solely for the fact that I didn’t know those types of museums existed and I’m intrigued to see the focus of the history of textiles. There’s also a few cafes and restaurants that look both good and like something you can only get in D.C.

On Monday, June 26th, Aundrea, Bridgette, Suzette and I went to Monica’s work for a lunch with a speech writer. John McConnell worked in the White House during the Presidencies of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. He wrote eulogies for President Reagan and the president’s speeches after 9/11. He is definitely someone who could talk about his life and experiences for hours without boring anyone in the room. I have never heard much about speech writing so this session was very informational and intriguing. My biggest takeaway from lunch with Mr. McConnell was to enjoy what you do and who you work for. He loved working for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and mentioned how much of a difference that made. He, like many others in D.C., said networking was very important because that’s how he got his first job at the White House.

On Thursday, June 22nd, Guillermo, Suzette, Yadira and I went to Matt’s house for dinner. It was a lot of fun and nice to have something other than pasta with marinara sauce for a change. I tried eggplant for the first time. While it wasn’t bad, I think it’s an acquired taste that I don’t have yet. However, the pasta and chicken were fantastic. Matt gave us traveler’s umbrellas from a friend of his so we’ll be walking advertisements for travelers. He also gave us very nice keychains with his email on them. Matt has an awesome collection of baseball things, comic pages and elephants figurines from other countries. It was fun and I enjoyed doing something for dinner other than sit at WISH and eat.

On Saturday, Aundrea, Yadira, Mustafa, Suzette and I went to the American Indian Museum and to Georgetown for cookies. On Sunday, I started going to the National Community Church. Coincidentally, when my older sister was a senate page about 7 years ago, she attended this church. I think it’s pretty cool that without even talking to her about church we ended up at the same place. The church was nice and over by Eastern Market. I’ve never seen that area so it was fun to explore. D.C. has so many different vibes and culture depending on where you are. It’s a lot of fun to experience. After church I walked around the National Museum of Art. On Monday, we celebrated Aundrea’s birthday at Beau Thai sushi and then with cake and ice cream back at WISH.

I recently got the information I’ve needed to begin doing social networking analysis of OIG’s outreach methods using the statistical programming language R. This is quite a project to tackle with only a month left of my internship. So I will probably be doing most of the research I need outside of work so I can focus on actually creating the data functions while at work. Because of this, I probably won’t get to roam and explore like I have the past week, but I want to go to different cafes around DC for my research so I can still see new areas and subcultures. So I am learning more in depth practical uses of R than what I learned in my Statistics for Geographers course last semester. Hopefully, I’ll be successful with this task.

Another thing I learned is TO NEVER POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT YOUR WORK (which makes doing this blog a little stressful). Outreach teams are constantly searching for words or phrases that are associated with their organization so chances are one of them will see it. I always knew common sense wise not to post inappropriate things on social media including work related things, but I didn’t realize the depth of how easy it is to just happen upon an inappropriate tweet. I also met Peace Corps staff that are here for training from Uganda that know my sister (a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda). So I am going to send something back with them to give to her. My job allows me to network with people who have traveled all over the world. Lunch conversations at Peace Corps are so different than most places. For instance, yesterday we were talking about the weirdest meats everyone has eaten. There was a tie in my eyes of a coworker that ate a giant rat from Ghana and another that had raw horse meat sushi. I am getting a global cultural lesson everyday being at Peace Corps. It’s a lot of fun and very informational. Because of these stories and advice from my returned Peace Corps volunteer coworkers, I am going to Uganda in December to visit my sister. Overall I am getting a new world view that is a blend of American culture and the developing world’s culture.

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