Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leaving Nothing to Chance

Bonjour,

The last two weeks have been the most exhausting time for me since I've been in Washington, DC. My workload has increased dramatically, thanks to the visit of my university’s liaison to The Washington Center from New York. However, it's not the augmentation of work that's been making my day arduous; it's the kind of work I've been doing. For example, last week, I spent almost the whole week analyzing nearly a million hospital visits (from 1998 to 2008) due to skateboard injuries in the United States alone. It's unnerving to read story after story of how children get injured skateboarding because of stupidity. For example, there was this kid who strapped a skateboard unto his feet and then jumped on a trampoline in an attempt to build momentum to skateboard over a table. Among that kid's many injuries were lacerations to his testicles. Anyway, everyone seems to be happy about the kind of statistics I'm producing. It feels good tobe in a position to create data people are actually using in their reports and speeches.

In other news, I turned twenty-one on September 28. Fortunately, on that day, the Science, Technology, and Society Program explored Washington, DC's watershed with an educational boat ride along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. It was the absolute best gift since it combined four of my favorite things in the world; adventure, water, conversations with an intimate group of friends, and education. The coolest part was definitely when I piloted the boat.

Fishing and Learning

Boat Ride

Nevertheless, unlike many people who turn 21 years old in the United States, I didn’t imbibe any alcohol. I wanted to do things a little differently for the day that I supposedly transform into an adult; having that day fall on a Monday made things a lot easier for me to accomplish that mission. To further celebrate, I went to an amazing equestrian show called Cavalia; attended Black Pearl Sings! at the Ford's Theatre; and had lunch at the Russian Embassy with His Excellency Mr. Sergey Kislyak of Russia, Rt. Hon. Lord George Robertson of Port Ellen, and Congressman Robert Wexler. And to top it all, I took a quick trip to NYC to visit my 93 yr-old grandfather.

Haiti-NYC, Mexico-MD, Vietnam-MA, SouthAfrica-AK

Nonetheless, as for my academic course on science and technology, there's nothing exciting going on. I always dread going to class on Wednesdays, especially since my classmates and I have to sit for 3 hours, not a minute less, to listen to our professor give his lectures. After an 8-hour day at work analyzing data on a computer screen, 3 more hours of intellectually bullying my brain with how to expedite health and environmental policy proposals through Congress has yet to make me glow with jubilance; no major complaints though.

Pres. Obama

Until Next Time,

Emmanuel H.

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