20 July 2009

"My Life Was So Much Simpler Before I Met You"

I wish there was such a thing as a speculative history major. If there were, I would be the first to sign up for it. The question of 'what if' could drive me absolutely mad if I ever decided to stop and ponder it. However, I am of the mind that everything happens for a reason if that reason is not immediately apparent at the time of the incident. So I shall just have to wait and see.

Since my last blog post (I think...I lack the inclination to go back and check), I've turned 21, continued on with my life as an intern at the State Department, have been in a car accident, and have continued to work on my grad school applications. All so thrilling, right? Perhaps not, but as I am under pressure to actually write on this thing, I suppose that details surrounding these incidents will have to be forthcoming.

Turning 21 wasn't as quite as exciting as everyone makes it out to be. Considering that I've been able to drink legally in the UK for the past year, it wasn't as if it were some great experience. To me, 21 is just another year in the grand spectrum of things. One year down, hopefully a few more to go (although one should never count on these things). However, I felt that I should at least pretend to be somewhat excited, and so my friends and I gathered for a night in Adams Morgan in DC. It was a bit strange because my home friends (Laci, Tina, Brian, and Amy) were mixed with my Oxford friends (Karen, Brad, and Elysa). We went to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in Farragut West and then headed to the Black Squirrel (and then Reef, and some rock n'roll club). I had a good time and really appreciated everyone traveling so far just for me. I think the highlight of the night was our having absinthe (complete with sugar and fire) at the Black Squirrel. Unfortunately, absinthe did not live up to its crazy reputation. I did not hallucinate and see the Green Fairy. It reminded me a bit too much of sambuca for my tastes.

My internship is going well. I work at the Foreign Service Institute (the State Department's Foreign Affairs Training Center in Rosslyn, Virginia) in the Transition Center. I assist with the Security Overseas Seminar, a mandatory course for all Foreign Service Officers and government employees heading overseas. It is interesting and fun, although the long hours do have a tendency of getting to me. Still, it has given me many great opportunities (for example, I assisted the US Delegation at the US-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue that has been headlining the papers for the past few days). For more details, contact me directly.

I do have a bit of sad news to report. Last Monday, whilst driving home from Greenbelt metro station, I was rear-ended on I-95. Besides the obvious psychological distress that this caused me, my poor car, the Red Rocket, was totaled. The insurance company made the official declaration today. I am incredibly upset. It was the perfect car for me and only tried to kill me once. And now...

In the meanwhile, I have grad school applications to distract me. I just found out that in order to be considered for financial aid at Cambridge, I have to submit my application by October 15th. So it is now rush, rush, rush for me to get everything together. I'm not too worried. I am also hoping to get King's and LSE's applications done by October as well. Which will just leave the two Oxford apps, along with Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Wooh. Everything is finally coming together.

09 July 2009

"Rebecca, why don't you update your blog more often?"

"Because, as far as I can tell, I am no longer 'abroad' and so keeping the blog is pointless. What would I write?"

"Oh, I don't know. Just update it."

And so, after having had this conversation at least once a day since my return, I am now getting around to updating. I have been home for a little over a month.

As I mentioned earlier, I went to my friend Elysa's graduation party in St. Mary's Co. On the way down, I picked up Nolly, Becky, and Karen from various locations in Maryland. All of us were at Oxford together. I had worried that seeing them again would be a bit awkward after so long a time away. However, the five or so months that had passed since we last saw each other made no difference. Indeed, it felt as if I had just seen them the day before. It was wonderful. As was the whole trip in general. It was just the thing that I needed in order to reintigrate myself into the US culture. To allow me to merge the two parts of my life into one again. And yet, it was strange to see Brad, Nolly, and Becky in a place other than Oxford (and in So. MD of all places!)

The week passed in a haze of ice luging, pina coladas, boating, sunning, and eating. On the final day, Elysa and I had our long-awaited grad school day (which we had arranged for ourselves). Holed up in St. Mary's career center for eight hours, we poured over books on grad school admissions, financial aid, CVs, and personal statements. By the end, we were considerably more knowledgable about the entire process than we had been, but a bit more worried about our prospects of getting in at all. It is hard to remain motivated and upbeat when your proposed course only accepts 19 students a year. We are having another grad school day in late July/early August, by which time I hope to have a personal statement done and CV finalized.

In other news on the grad school front, I've removed Oxford Brookes from my list and so am down to six schools (Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, King's) and seven programs (I'm a being a bit risky in applying to the MSc Global Governance and the MPhil IR at Oxford, but I have good reasons for doing so and can properly defend my course of action). I've also got two recomendees, which is such a relief since now I only really need one more (but probably will get two). I was so nervous that I wouldn't be able to get anyone that I really just thought about giving it all up. (Don't worry: I don't give up that easily.)

I've started my internship at the State Department and turned 21. The two things are not related, and more will follow on each at a later date.