Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day at UNHCR!

I was a little nervous for my first day at my internship today, but things went really well. I probably overdid it with a tie, but only slightly. I'm going to spend most of my first month helping to plan the Nansen Award Ceremony, which is being held for the first time in the United States this year. I know who wins, but I'm sworn to secrecy.

I sat in a meeting where the director of the office was casually talking about, "having Obama say some words in this," and "whether we should invite Senator Hatch to this" and "asking Angelina to come to that." I know. Awesome. I think I might get to meet some big wigs this fall.

The day flew by and it seemed like I had barely gotten back from lunch when the day ended. I'm not really allowed to work before 9 or after 5, so I think it'll be relatively chill.

I've added some pictures...

K street, where all the think tanks and non-profits and lobbyists are. And UNHCR.

The park across the street where I ate lunch.

My desk. It is small.

Fears and Solutions

I spent most of yesterday working from Caribou Coffee, and then I went to go check out an apartment. Don't tell the lady, but I didn't like the digs and they were too expensive. I think I'd like to hold out for a place I truly like.

Pursuit of Happyness was on last night, and watching it made me a bit nervous about my situation. The scene when Will Smith has to sleep in a subway bathroom with his kid always gets to me. I had to actually remind myself that I have a lot more resources, opportunities and friends than he did. Still, it made me worried about my lack of housing and unpaid internship.

Part of my fears were allayed around midnight, when a random Craigslist check popped out a request for a September subletter in Capitol Hill. For $600, I could sublet in this house that's near everything, for a whole month. I could put all my bags which are currently in the back of John Chase's truck in a closet, which would be convinient. The best part is that I could take my time looking for places and not be forced to settle for a less than optimal situation, which would be awesome. By late September, renters might even start to get desperate, and I might get a good deal!

Anyway, the potential sublet guy has been very communicative and we seem to click. I'm going to meet him and his roommates tonight at 7pm and we'll see how it goes. Yay!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Caribou Coffee

I've wandered all morning looking for free wireless. I finally found sanctuary in a little coffee shop called Caribou Coffee. I ordered my usual caramel apple cider so I wouldn't feel like a mooch (I don't drink coffee) and settled into a corner.

I've been working/apartment-hunting/general internet-ing from the home of Amy, Chase, Lisa and Benjamin. We've started to nickname their place "the Refugee Camp" because of the large amounts of people who regularly crash on their couches.Couch surfers are all fine and good, but sometimes it's hard to find a place to sit. Like this morning. Hence the coffee shop.

In other news, I have not found an apartment. But when I find my self sitting in a relaxed, air-conditioned coffee shop drinking apple cider, that fact doesn't seem to be too worrisome.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One Day In

I'll keep it succinct because nothing about my first full day was too terribly interesting except for the THUNDERSTORM!

Woke up, did awesome errands at GW (and by awesome, I mean I got all the things I needed done). I went to REI with Chase and Amy, and then I got home and did some work and apartment Craiglisting. I'm still struggling to figure out what my price range is. On one hand, I have money saved up, on the other, I'm functionally unemployed. Hmmm.

The best part of the day was the amazing THUNDERSTORM. I left the house for my GW errands and the sky looked really ominous. I just figured the sky always looks really ominous in DC. However, after completing my last academic errand, the clouds must have been hanging with Fat Joe and Lil Wayne because they made it rain. Wearing a t-shirt because of the heat, I obviously got soaked.

Tune in next time for apartment-hunting adventures!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Farewell California

To my beloved state,

After 24 years of grateful residence, I'm unfortunately leaving for the East Coast.

For all of you who followed my adventure this March, I finally realized earlier this year what I wanted to do with my life. I started to apply for jobs at think tanks and non-profits in an area I'm passionate about: International Relations. After a short stint applying for the US Foreign Service (I passed the exam but am too underqualified to get past the next step), I got a summer internship at a great non-profit called in San Francisco.

Wait what about D.C.?

I realized at some point this spring that the vast majority of jobs I was applying to and found interesting were in our nation's capitol. I emailed a bunch of friends (thanks friends) who live in the area and the overwhelming consensus was that to get a career in D.C., I'd best come here. My plan since then was to come to D.C. in the fall, apply for Masters programs in IR, get a job, and follow my passion.

This summer, while working for explore, I was able to land:

1. A place to stay (well, not really, but I'm crashing on my friends Amy and John's couch for a week).

2. Something to learn (I applied to the George Washington University non-degree program. I'll be taking a last prerequisite before I apply to masters programs).

3. Something to do (I got a sweet internship at the UN High Commission on Refugees although it is unfortunately unpaid).

So all I really have to do is find a real place to live and a job. That's the adventure part! I hope to share with you my semi-idealistic quest to pursue my dream in a new city where I don't know many people. It really sucked to leave California, my friends, my family - the people I love. Some of the goodbyes were the saddest I've ever had. I will miss everyone dearly and I hope that by sharing my life in this small way we can still keep up.

Stay tuned as I take my whole life (pictured), move it across the country and try to start a new home in a place I've never really been. Fortunately, it's going to be an adventure, and that's what I do.