What's the Date?

What's the Date?

Wait, it's November what? Time is flying by! It's hard to believe we only have a month left in the program. I'm just starting to really feel at home here and like a real member of the staff at my internship. I've been throwing around acronyms like a pro (and actually understanding what they mean) and building some great relationships with the staff and International Fellows at NDU. It will be a sad day when I have to say goodbye to everyone.

 

We're not going to worry about that yet, though. There's still plenty of things going on before it's time to leave! Last week was another busy week at my internship working on after action for the Tennessee trip and getting prepared to go to Philadelphia over the weekend. The Philadelphia trip was for all of the Fellows and their families, so there was around 300 people total.

 

We had five full coach buses to transport everyone from D.C. to Philly and all of the interns and some of the staff were in charge of their own bus. Being in charge of 50 internationals for the duration of the trip made me feel like I really contributed and was trusted by the staff which was pretty rewarding. And I didn't leave anyone behind, so I'd say I did a successful job.

 

We had an early start Saturday morning departing at 6:30 a.m. When we arrived in Philadelphia, we toured the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell. Some of the staff went to Reading Terminal for lunch, and let me just say it was quite the experience. It was a huge indoor market with all sorts of food vendors and packed wall to wall with people (we did go right at noon which was admittedly poor foresight on our part). We split up and got food and somehow managed to find a table that fit us all, which was quite the feat, I may add. We then explored some of the shops on South Street before loading up the buses and heading to the hotel.

 

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall*

 

Reading Terminal*

 

After climbing 21 flights of stairs to get to my room (instead of waiting for the insanely slow elevators) I had worked up an appetite. The staff all decided to try some authentic Philly cheese steaks. We were not disappointed. Somehow, after lots of sharing, all of the food on our table managed to get eaten. The rest of the evening was spent in the hotel lobby socializing with the Fellows and their families.

 

A gigantic and delicious Philly cheese steak*

 

On Sunday we visited Valley Forge which was beautiful with all of the leaves changing color. The tour was really interesting and very informative. We got to see a replica of the huts they built to spend the winter in and tour Washington's house/headquarters during the winter of 1777-1778.

 

One of the many beautiful views at Valley Forge

 

That evening, a few of us decided to go out to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. I successfully ate a whole meal with chopsticks for the first time ever! I was very proud, even after quite a few laughs from the staff as they tried to teach me. Continuing my evening of firsts, we went to a Boba tea shop after dinner and enjoyed our drinks  as we got into some philosophical life conversations. The field studies trips have really allowed me to bond with the other staff members and Fellows in a way that I don't think would be possible just at a regular internship.

 

The many shades of Boba tea*

 

Monday was the final day of our Philadelphia trip and we visited an Amish village in Lancaster, PA. It was interesting to see first-hand how they live and compare their lifestyle to that of other cultures. We were even lucky enough to enjoy some delicious Amish style food for lunch before starting our journey back to D.C. Seeing the Fellows with their families was cool because that's a side that we don't usually get to see at work. Many of them have young children and watching them interact reminds you that, as high ranking and important that they are, they're the same as everyone else, too.

 

Unfortunately, that concludes my travels with ISMO. They were both awesome experiences, though, and I'm so thankful that I was able to participate in them. Being a part of the trips and seeing all the planning and work that goes into them really made me appreciate what our office does, as well. Especially since that's just one branch of the operations conducted there.

 

Being so busy with my internship and programming really has made the time fly by, but I'm determined to make the most of my last month here! So, off I go! No time to waste!

 

*=photos from google

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