Student Blog: Interning at the Canadian Embassy
A Week of Festivities
by Cyle Petersen '10
This week definitely would have to take home the prize for most fun so far. With two different national holiday celebrations in the same week, the celebrations were to be expected. Although there were many parties and celebrations, I did have to get through Wednesday night before the fun could begin.
Monday morning started with a briefing at the Federal Reserve. It was pretty interesting and we sat in the actual Board of Governors room and I sat in Chairman, Ben Bernanke's chair. I really wasn't expecting to be guided into the actual room where Fed policy is made, so it was pretty surreal. From there, I proceeded to salvage the rest of the day at work at the Embassy. This week was pretty slow at work because Congress is in recess for the 4th of July so there wasn't much for us interns to cover on The Hill. I did manage to stay busy updating the Congressional database with meetings held and letters sent between members of Congress and Canadian diplomats around the country. I left work right around 5 to get home for my LAST Comparative Economic Systems class. Yay! Since I knew I wouldn't get much studying for the final, I studied quite a bit after our class with my friends across the hall — boring but
Tuesday was, again, quiet as not much was going on so work wasn't the most exciting. I guess it can't always be though. After a quiet day at work, I met with my mentor which my program set me up with. We went to a lounge on Capitol Hill and we talked about how to get a job in DC and other things like that. Since there was no weekly lecture so that we could study for our final, I was finally not in a rush to get home like I am every other day. My friend came down to visit on her way to the beach so I was appointed tour guide of Georgetown for the night, which I didn't mind. I don't know much about the area so I wasn't too helpful, but I knew how to get to the main streets and how to get back so the bare minimum was covered. So much for studying for the final, I guess! I didn't feel too guilty though because they keep us so busy here that anytime I can relax I try to to avoid going crazy.
Wednesday — Canada Day!!!!! The Embassy was closed since it's a national holiday in Canada. I did have to go down to the Embassy and help run the big celebration they were having. There was a ton of free food and beer and a jumbo-tron set up relaying the Canada Day celebration from Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was somewhat of a recipe for disaster since my final exam was that night. I managed to hold myself back a little bit so I fared fine that night at the exam. This is when the weekend really began for me since my supervisor told me not to come in on Thursday since most people were taking it off and Congress was in recess.
It was really nice to have an extended weekend to mark the halfway point of my program and stay in DC. Since I hardly ever have time to go get groceries, I figured it would be smart to go on my one day off when I wouldn't be fighting rush hour transit problems. I was down to Pop-Tarts in my apartment so it was a much needed trip. Things started stacking up in my cart and soon I was faced with the bigger problem of getting all these groceries home without having to pay for a cab. I had to resort to walking my shopping cart right to the bus stop and then somehow grabbing about 10 bags in each hand and struggle onto the bus. Since I had barely gotten my fingers through all the bag handles to start with, I didn't dare try to re-arrange them. I got back to campus after about a 15 minute bus ride during which all my fingers lost circulation and turned purple from holding the stupid grocery bags. I finally made it
in the door and got one of my friends who also got the day off to come help me carry all my groceries up to my apartment. Success! The rest of the day I cleaned up the apartment and got it ready for two other friends who were coming for the holiday weekend. It's kind of weird for me to have so many visitors because during every other summer while in college I have been so far away that I would never see any of my friends from school. It's a luxury to be close to so many friends while I'm here because when the weekends come I feel like having fun since those are my only 2 and a half days of complete freedom.
The rest of the week revolved around extending the 4th of July celebration to 3 days instead of 1. Friday afternoon my friends and I ventured off to the National Zoological Park, which is one of the Smithsonian Institutes so it was free. Many of the animals were hiding in their much cooler and less humid indoor facilities instead of coming outside for us to see. We did manage to see most of the animals, but the Giant Pandas were nowhere to be found, and we missed the lion and tiger exhibit by about 10 minutes. By the time we got back it was dinner time, so we ate at the restaurant right on campus beside my apartment building and then threw a party in my apartment so I could introduce my friends from Catawba to my new friends here in DC. Much fun was had by all!
Saturday was the actual holiday so there were more festivities yet. A small group of us walked halfway to the National Mall to the metro stop and then took that the remainder of the way. We started at the Capitol Building and walked down to the Washington Monument. There were thousands of people and hundreds of different tents and groups selling things, giving things away, and giving live performances. After we had walked the Mall, we met up with one of my fellow interns from the Embassy and her friends and went to one of their houses near the Capitol to wait for the fireworks and concert later that night. We left at about 8:30 to get to the Mall in time for the festivities and we watched the fireworks as we were walking as close as we could get through all the people. The madness afterwards was unbelievable. Thousands of people heading in every direction to get to the metro, their cars, their houses, and any other place they
were going. We didn't dare try to fight the crowds so we stopped on our way at a bar downtown and the big group of us waited the stampede out. When we finally left it was much more manageable to get around, even though we did still have a little trouble finding a cab back to campus. The night was nearly gone so we proceeded back to my apartment to relax our sore feet after a day full of walking.
I was warned by one of my supervisors that this week coming up would be very busy as Congress goes back into sessions and they attempt to pass or stop as much legislation as possible before the August recess. I guess I can't complain after pretty much having a 5-day weekend. I'll let you know next Sunday if I'm still alive and well.