Sometimes You Make Your Way Through the Marble Halls

Sometimes You Make Your Way Through the Marble Halls

Channeling my inner politician personality, I ran after work to join a large group of Texans to meet with Ted Cruz’s chief of staff for an after 5:00 on a Friday meeting. It being my first time in the Senate buildings, I got completely lost and could not remember the number of the room I was supposed to go in after my phone died. Walking quickly as I could, I knocked and went into the first office that I saw that looked friendly. Awkwardly, it was the office of the Democratic Party.  As I was asking for the office number of one of the next possible Republican presidential candidates, we all acknowledged the tension then laughed it away as they were more than helpful by telling me the office number. I ran back downstairs, and as I walked in was greeted with snacks, refreshments and a reassurance that I was not late because the chief of staff was right behind me.





Most of the conversation then followed with Chief of Staff, Paul S. Teller, focusing on how he landed his current position. He explained that he obtained his position through a combination of internships in graduate school, his experience and network in the House and his rabble-rousing spirit which actually got him fired from his last position.


The other aspects of the conversation focused on Ted Cruz and his close mission to the Republican party ideals which include freedom, opportunity and prosperity. Their office is strongly affected by Ted Cruz's three tiered existence; one position being a national leader in the party, the second being a Senator, and the third a possible presidential candidate. We did not get to meet Cruz, but Dr. Teller reassured us that he is an absolute extension of the person that he is on TV. During meetings everyone is laughing at his bold personality. His idea is to show a vision and from that point, to start to make compromises. These compromises are typically small, one-page zingers that are easy to explain and could get a few Democrats on board.


It was reassuring to be in the federal offices. I had only ever been in my state congressional offices, and I really thought that nothing could be as beautiful or friendly as the New Mexico office, but meeting the people in the Dirksen Senate Office Building has changed my mind.  If I had been here on my own, I would not have taken the steps to meet up with a Senator because I had been told the offices were so closed off.  It was nice to have a little push in the right direction.


On a side note, I love all the baby birds!





Li Xiao

Li is from Chongqing University, which is in the city where she grew up. Here in D.C., she is interning at the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. The main job of this organization is to serve as a liaison between the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to the D.C. government. Li works mostly on outreach and fundraising. Li feels that this internship really chose her. It was the first offer she got because she needed to have one before she could even start her visa process.  She loves the position and is finding the inner workings of government really interesting.

Who is your role model and why?


Li's current role model is a man named Peter Hessler. He wrote a book about his years in China as a Peace Corps volunteer that Li read before coming here.  He gave a lot of advice about joning a new culture. One piece of the advice that Li has tried to say very true to is being patient about other people’s cultures and this has helped her a lot while she is here. Other pieces of advice that have helped her a lot are to find your own focus, to observe and experience every present moment rather than thinking about people that are not in the same room as you, and to try and ask why when looking at individual's actions rather than making an immediate judgment about them. Li recommends learning about the experiences of people that have been where you are going.

What has been your greatest challenge this semester, and how did you overcome it?


As an English major, Li came to the U.S. thinking she knew everything about the culture from the books she had read. When she got here, she found out that her ideas did not necessarily represent the people that she met. She had always been told in China that Americans were extremely individualistic and that everyone had a heroism element to them that came from a sense of their own identity. When she arrived and started meeting Americans, she realized many people were just as lost as everyone else in the world and just trying to make their way. Nor were the Americans she met overly individualistic. In fact, she has enjoyed doing team work over the semester.

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