Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DC Orientation

I realize it has only been a little over twenty-four hours since I last posted, but I feel like it's been forever.
Kevin was telling me about the insanity of orientation at his divinity school...I didn't really believe him.  I do now.
I am utterly exhausted.
But it has been wonderful.

Sunday: Becca takes the Metro to the Tenleytown/AU Station, the closest Metro to the hotel.  She naively assumes that a taxi will be incredible easy to find from there.
I did find one.  But it took more jumping and waving than a girl with orange suitcases just outside a metro stop should really require.
Nonetheless, I arrived at the hotel more or less without incident.  Welcome to the endless parade of "Hi.  I'm x.  I went to y for undergrad.  I am going to z to study a, b, and c.  Who are you?"  It's a really fun group.  I know the majority of them by name and face now, and can give you some indication of what they're studying and where.  For a few, I'm still pretty in the dark...the musical chairs game we've been playing for thirty-six hours simply hasn't rotated quite far enough.

Sunday we checked into hotel rooms around 2.  (The hotel was a bit behind, so some of us got into rooms closer to 2:45.)  3 pm saw us walking to the British Embassy, where we had a lovely discussion about the Affordable Care Act from a legal perspective with Professor Jeff Rosen, Marshall Scholar alumnus.  Jeff also gave us plenty of advice for life as a Marshall.  Then we were off to the Ambassador's House, where we took individual photos with the British Ambassador and a group shot on the terrace steps.
The reception was lovely, and filled with incredible Marshall Scholars.  Folks who were just returning from their two years were there, as was an amazing woman who had gone to Oxford in '57 (talk about epic).  There were also numerous Brits there (embassy staff and visiting dignitaries).  Our guest of honor was Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, also a Marshall alum.  Ambassador Burns' marks were funny and filled with fun advice, but also incredibly poignant at a few moments...he had just returned to the States with the body of the much lamented Christopher Stevens, who died in the turmoil at the Libya Embassy.
After the Reception, we broke into small groups to have dinner with Marshall alums.  A good time was had by all.  (And I got Thai.)

Monday morning began with breakfast in the hotel and a departure of 8:15 am.  9 am saw us at NASA Headquarters talking with an Associate Chief Scientist.  (Yes, you should be jealous.  Very jealous.  I am now aware of NASA's major projects for the next thirty years or so.  Asteroids and Mars and Lagrange points, oh my!)
We toured the US Capitol Building and talked with Congressman John Spratt, whose 1966 Marshall trip included a boat ride rather than a flight...the "Queen Elizabeth 1" hit a hurricane on their way over!
At the State Department, we had a really fun conversation with Legal Advisor Harold Koh.  He's really quite a character...shared with us some of the decision with Libya regarding the War Powers Act and also had a poignant moment recollecting friendship with Ambassador Stevens.
We had a fantastic tour guide at the National Museum of American History...it was quite cool to go through the Presidential and First Lady exhibits again.  I toured them many years ago during a Girl Scout trip, but they have been much altered and my knowledge of the White House has changed just a bit!
Dinner tonight was pizza...our last American pizza!

Tomorrow we will have several more activities at the British Embassy, mostly policy workshops, class project discussions, and the like with returned Marshall scholars and embassy advisors.
The flight to England takes off tomorrow afternoon...when you next hear from me, I should be posting in English.  ;)

1 comment:

  1. You're right. Some of us are jealous but don't begrudge you the joys & fun that you have earned. There will be lots of hard work in the future, I am sure.
    Thinking of you often -