Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

"Wake up at 5 a.m." my roommate Jerry told me before I went to bed. For what? I asked. Obama is speaking tomorrow and we are going to try and get in.

It really sucked getting up Monday morning but it was worth it. We decided to go see if we could get into the Arlington Cemetery ceremony. He didn't speak till 11:00 a.m. so we thought we had a good chance of getting in if we got there at 6 a.m. As we got out of the subway that is only 3 stops away from where I live it was an awesome site. There were so many people there that were at the nations biggest cemetery for war victims. I had never been there before and I was excited. It was a somber place. Quite with respect and it was fulled with men in uniform. I was blown aways by all the the perfectly placed white hedge stones that lined every inch of green grass. ( normally I would insert a picture here but once again... I don't have Internet access in my apt) We got in a little train type car and it took us to a small amphitheater that looked like it would hold about 3,000 people. Not all that large. There were a lot of many good seats left. We found a bench about 10 rows back, and for the next 4 hours we sat in the sun that sometimes the clouds would cover.
Finally some of the guest came to name a few, Bob Dole and his wife, Tom Cruz and Katie Holmes and of course H.E. President of the United States Obama. His speech was powerful and to the point. He gave a speech that would be hard to beat. He spoke to the families of war victims and to other solders. It was one memorial day that I will never forget.
We later went to the tomb of the unknown solider. Really awesome. I went to JFK's grave and Robert E. Lee's house. Hopefully soon I'll get some pictures up.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's been a while.

Ok ok ok... I know that my blogs are kind of text heavy and this time I was totally planning on adding pictures... but since I don't have Internet in my apt I have to come to a community room to use the Internet and since I'm not using my computer I can't upload my pictures.... Problems.

Its been a little while since my last post. I would love to blog more but my days are so full of stuff and more stuff. But the last few weeks I have had a lot of fun. I've become more of a DC'er now and not as much as a lost tourist which is good. Was to not appear like a tourist: Never wear the same colored shirt as the other people you are with... Buy a metro card that isn't made out of paper. Don't stare at the map in the metro. Always know what you are doing, even if you don't.

I went to Baltimore a few weeks ago with my friend Brock. We went to go see the Oriole's play the Yankees. It was a good game. I had no idea that Maryland was so pretty and Baltimore was so ugly. My love for McDonald's is still in full effect. Even though I have great food places to go to all the time here. It just gets expensive.
My work here has been great. I've been learning a lot and I love being in the middle of everything. My boss says that he is going to give me the best experience an intern can get. So far he hasn't let me down. I've been really busy. Here is what I do mostly. Every morning I try to get to work before my boss so I can be "read up" on all of the news. Mostly Afghan news so I can answer any questions he may have... mostly so I can ask him questions and so I can sound smart.
I write weekly reports on the Brazilian news and the Colombian news. Really cool. I get to use Portuguese to read the Brazilian news sources and give them a good report. My reports go to somewhere in Kabul (Afghanistan's Capital) I also keep up on the Afghanistan news, mostly their election news. Their elections are Aug 20th. kind of exciting to see their 2nd democratic elections ever.
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to go to dinners and lunches with my boss. So far I've met some really cool people that love working for their country. I had lunch with the Political Chancellor from Japan. He was very nice and gave me some really good advice for my future. He told me that what ever you do in your life make sure that you are doing A: what makes you happy, and B: Has a plan and a purpose. I've thought a lot about that these last few days.
Two weeks ago my friend Spencer Shell came out from New York to visit me. He works at the U.N. and we use to work on the school paper together. We had a great time going around to all the Smithsonian's here in DC and going to the sites. I was floored when I saw the real Star Spangled Banner. The one that inspired the National Anthem. I saw Abe Lincoln's black top hat and even Bill Clinton's saxophone. ha ha!
I returned the visit and went to New York last weekend and he showed me around. New York is a discusting city. It smells and even though it wasn't my first nor last time going there, I was happy to get back to DC. I had a great time in NY though. We went to the MET and I saw some original painting of Picasso, Monet, and many others. It was like I was looking at movie stars. I've seen them in books my whole life growing up but never seen them in person. Really cool. I saw the mummies and really cool artifacts. My trip to NY was fun... but like I said I was happy to be home again. I also stayed with my friend Eleanor in Brooklyn. I love her and her roommates. They are all so nice to me.
Its Memorial Day weekend and I just got back from the Memorial Day Concert on Capital Hill. It was so amazing. They had Katie Holmes speak and General Collin Powell which was cool. They had the Army band play and they did a big tribute to all the fallen soldiers in all the past wars and all the military service men and women that were there. Amazing.
Just on Friday, we had a little sit down party at the Embassy. I sat by the Ambassador on one side and his wife on the other. She was so nice to me asking me all my future plans and really supportive. They really love their country and want it to succeed.

I sat down with my boss and he told me they are going to be opening a new embassy in Brazil soon. He said when they do he wants me to move to Brazil and work for the embassy there. So they have offered me a job when I graduate. I said yes of course. I was so excited when he said that to me. He gave me a lot of good complements on my work ethic said that "our relationship will not end at the end of your internship, but will continue for many years to come". I was honored.
I'm having a great time here and I'm learning so much I couldn't learn anywhere else. I'm so happy I'm here and meeting everyone. I swear I'll update more often and get pictures up asap. ha ha...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The weekend is comming.

Iba vs. the rain has been quite the battle. So far the rain seems to be winning. I've been bringing my umbrella to work everyday. I didn't use it yesterday, it was just in my bag, you know, just in case. But today, I laid it down on my bed as I ironed my shirt. Bushed my teeth and combed my hair, with my hands because for some reason I've become a custom to not using a comb. My shirt was pressed and I decited to go with the Banana Republic blazer (which is navy) and a pair of kacky pants. I was off, and my umbrella was still laying there on my bed. I realized that as I walked into the post office to mail off some pictures to a girl on the UVU basketball team. I took them for her mom during the season. I just forgot to mail them until today.

I got on the subway right as the a rain drop landed on my glasses. Nice try I thought. Nice and dry in the subway. Until Dupont Circle, that's what I thought. Fortunately it was not raining. I stopped off at CVS to get a red bull (Mormon coffee). Remember that girl on Punky Brewster Cherry? She was punky's black friend. Well I swear she works at CVS now. We all had such high hopes for her. Poor thing.

I got to the embassy right on time just as usual and still not rainy. I thought I was going to beat this one. I got back to work where I left off yesterday. I'm still working on his Twitter account. I've got over 1300 people following him now! I hope he uses Twitter to his advantage. Its a great tool.

I worked on that and read this huge reading assignment he has me working on. I finished reading it and started my summary. I figured out that its better to write the summary as you go. Because I've basically been re-reading the whole thing to condense it. Loads of stuff. Sometimes these documents go into great detail... pretty interesting. I'm just trying my best to do the best job I can do so I can gain a great experience and so I can gain the trust of my boss.

Lunch... rain you win... I had to eat something and the closest place was 7-11. It was about 4 blocks away at the end of Wyoming Ave. I got there and I was pretty dry. I bought a sandwich with turkey on it. I was not feeling comfortable bringing ham back to the embassy, cause they don't eat pork products and just out of respect. So I got my turkey sandwich and went along with some cooler ranch Doritos and a Snapple and I was off to the embassy. I made it back, kind of wet. Rain wins. I went to the kind of lunch room they have and ate. There is still no one at the embassy. The President of Afghanistan is still in town and everyone is with him. I kind of wish that I could be apart of that right now but I guess you need to pay your dues first. I assume.

There is some kid at the embassy that I'm not sure what he does, but I do know that he walks past my office all day and looks in. This happens about 18 times a day. I would say he is 20-years-old maybe. Not sure. I want to talk to him but I don't know if he speak English. I know he says hello to me and good morning but that's it. Weird.

On my way home it started to rain on me... but just as I slipped into Dupont Circle Metro station. Lucky me. From their on out I was dry. On the way home it was rush hour. Our train stopped mid-tunnel. Our driver came over the intercom and started lecturing us about how to ride the train and how not to stand in the door ways and bla bla bla. It was pretty funny. People on the train were like I'm glad we are getting lectured right now. Kind of funny. I made it home safe and 5-dollar-foot-long for dinner. Not to worry, I can bring ham into my apartment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My first days at work

Where do I begin... I didn't blog yesterday cause I was just so tired after my first day of work. I fell right to sleep. My first day went well. It rained all day and of course I didn't have an umbrella. I did however think of that song by Reianna or however you spell her name and I kept thinking that song sounds like a car alarm. Umberella ela ela ela EH EH EH EH!! But thinking of that song didn't keep me dry... but a guy selling umbrellas outside the metro for 5 dollars helped. I walked my 6 blocks up to Wyoming Ave to the Afghanistan Embassy for the first time of many this summer. I got there before my boss did. I sat in the waiting area as people spoke Dari / Parshdu around me. It was kind of cool. And I would really like to learn a 4th language so why not make it Dari?

Asharf Harari, my boss came in and welcomed me by showing me to my desk. It is right next to his. He was so nice introducing me to everyone and showing me around. We got right to work because the Pres. of Afghanistan was on his way. He would be in Washington to meet with the Pres. of Pakistan and Pres. Obama. He showed me around upstairs where the office of the Ambassador was. He wasn't in there at the time but he assured me that I would meet him later on. I couldn't wait. We went back down to our office and I sat at my computer. He said "go ahead and see if it works". I turned it on and it was great. Worked no problem. Of course. While I sat there he reminded me of an email that I wrote to him about Twitter. He wanted me to show him more about it. So I did and I got right to work trying to get him friends. As it stands right now he has over 600 friends already! So I guess I've been doing my job.

Today wasn't much different. Other than everyone in the Embassy was with the Pres. of Afghanistan. He was here and Obama was meeting with them both. When I got into the office there was an literary on my desk of the daily events. I really wanted to go and check it out but Haidari told me he couldn't get me into this one. Which is understandable. He said he is going to get me into some other ones. Which I'm really excited about.

Finding a place to eat in Dupont Circle isn't that hard. Finding a place in Dupont Circle that isn't either a Gay Club or cost $20 bucks for lunch is impossible. But I did find a place down the road from the embassy that sells hamburgers and stuff. I need to go and buy some peanut butter and jelly.

So this afternoon I spent most of the time figuring out how to get him more followers on Twitter. Like I said before I started with 30 friends and last time I checked he had over 600! So my hard work is paying off. I'm just afraid that we are going to get kicked off Twitter for adding so many friends so quickly. ha ha.. So I made a second one just in case that is the case.

On my first day he gave me an 80 page report and told me that they didn't have time to read it. So it was my job to read it and then summarize it. Although it may seem boring... it had some pretty cool stuff inside the "documents". I'm not sure I'm at liberty to say what they said but it was interesting.

Today there was no rain until I decided to go home. I was in my office today all by my self. I guess I could have left at any time. But of course I stayed the course and worked till I was done. It was a good day and I felt good about my work today. On my way home I got a real metro pass. not one of the paper ones. I promptly loaded it up with 100 dollars of credit on it. That should last me a little over a month and a half. So my roommates says.

2 double cheeseburgers for dinner and family guy, I came down to the computer area to blog a bit. I can't wait to see what is in store for tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm taking pictures of Hidari for his Facebook and his Twitter page. I think I'll like doing that. So I'm bringing my laptop to work tomorrow so I can photoshop a bit.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 2....

I fell asleep pretty quickly last night feeling tired due to blogging all night, well till 3 a.m. I wish they had some type of hot tub or something that I could sit in while I type. I mean the computer room is nice, but how much nicer would it be if there a hot tub room? I can only dream.

Well I woke up and promptly put on my St. Louis Cardinals hat as my roommate went to church. "See ya later man, GO CARDS!" I yelled as he left the house. I kind of felt bad. I should have been going with him, but it was stake conference and I don't know anyone. I'll go next week when I can meet the bishop and such. I called my friend that was suppose to pick me up for the game. He said look outside man, All I can see outside my window is the PBS offices and then it hit me.... It was raining. Crap! I kept optimistic and said to him, well come anyway maybe this will all just blow over. "ok", he said, "I'll be over in a bit". I laid down on my bed and started a book again that I started reading a while ago. Its called Boom, its a book by Tom Brokaw (I have no idea how you spell his name) Anyways, its all about the 60's and is it ever. He talked about smoking pot with his wife at parties and then doing the news later that night. Pretty funny.

My friend Brock that is out here to sell pest control, he picked me up to see if we could still make it to the game. By that time it was still raining. Brock is an old roommate from back when I was living behind the D.I. in Provo. We always joked that our girlfriends were also our roommates. I guess its only funny to us... anyway, "where is the Pentagon?" Brock asked. This was my second full day and I had no idea other than I knew it was a 2 subway stops away from where I lived "that way" I proclaimed like I have lived here my whole life. I turned up being right. I thought that it would be a lot cooler. But it was just a pentagon shaped building that I couldn't help but wonder what secret documents lay inside and that I knew I would probably never get to read them. There were plenty of police lined up which made it look like they had nothing to do. "Well, lets get something to eat", Brock said, we typed in, well he typed in something to his Garmin GPS system. Steak and Potatoes was the name of the place we decided to go to. It ended up being in the mall food court. The garmin took us in a few circles past the Pentagon before we landed in our final destination. The Pentagon Mall food court.

We walked inside and there were plenty of people there, much different than the Provo Town Centre on on Sunday afternoon. I opted out on the Steak and Potatoes place and went for Panda Express. There is something about that place that always gets me. I guess I just love their orange chicken. But you have to get it to go, (so goes the myth) they give you more. I ate my left overs for dinner.

With it still kind of raining, by St. Louis Cardinals application for my Blackberry said that game was still on delay. We decided to go and try to find something to do inside. We drove past a few Smithsonian museums. No parking. We drove past the Lincon Memorial, I kept my eyes closed cause I didn't want to see the statue of him till I was right up close. No parking, and still raining. We went to the Watergate hotel and I Twittered: I'm at the Watergate hotel "I am not a crook" -Nixon-. I wonder if they give tours of that famous hotel room or if you just have to pay extra to stay in that particular room.

After getting rained out we just went back to my apartment and tried to figure something out to do. They ended up leaving and I decided to go find my new place of work. I walked to the subway and ended up in Dupont Circle. On the way when I got on, I heard a mother and daughter speaking Portuguese. I said to them in Portuguese "are you Brazilians?" Oh yes! they said... you speak Portuguese? I told them that I worked for the Afghan embassy speaking Portuguese and bla bla bla. They were really nice. They had just left New York and were in town until tomorrow. They were going to Orlando then Miami next. My stop came up and I have them my business card and said that if they had any questions to call or email me. Lets see if they really do. I don't expect they will but I thought it would be nice.

Dupont circle was kind of hard to navigate. I pulled out my Blackberry and typed in the address to the embassy and tried to locate it. I walked around in circles and finally found it. Yup, google street view is right on. It looks just the same as it did on there. But this time there were a few black SUV's with the licences plate that read: Diplomat. Cool. I was talking with my good friend Jack Waters while I was walking thought the streets and we were wondering if each embassy is actually owned by that country and if it is considered their country. If that is true, I went to Afghanistan, Algeria, Sweden, Portugal, and Spain. I stuck my foot through their fences and steeped on the grass.

I found my way back to the subway while talking to my mom. Fell asleep on the subway and polished off my panda express from lunch while watching season one of Flight of the Concords. Funny.

kind of off topic, but there is a girl in here with me. She is on the phone and she keeps saying OK... Ok... Ok... Ok... in a really stupid voice. I wish she would just say OK once when the person was done telling here what to do or what ever they were saying. OK... Ok... Ok...

P.S. My middle finger doesn't hurt anymore, or as much as it did yesterday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


bla bla bla
I started this journey with the thought, how am I going to pay for this? I have to come up with enough money to live without a job for 4 months. As a college student, I just didn't have 5 grand sitting around, nor, 5 grand worth of stuff to sell. So I looked up the local medical testing center and became a lab rat. They payment was 4 grand to just take some pills. Sounded easy enough. I drove to Salt Lake City every morning and evening for a month faithfully, took the pills and drove back. It ended up being a good thing because I was able to start making it to my morning classes. I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth it, taking these pills that made me feel less than par, but as I boarded that plane things started to feel a lot better.
I left Salt Lake City yesterday (May 1st) first stop Denver airport for a long 3 hour layover. That is a huge airport. I was talking to my good friend Dave Boyd on the Blackberry as I sipped down an over-priced airport jamba juice. He told me that the Denver airport is the supposedly the New World Order head courters. There are some really weird paintings in that place. I walked around and saw paintings of dead babies and just weird stuff. Huge wall hangings and a big time capsule that was placed by the free masons. That was kind of cool. Ipod blaring to Girl Talk I over heard them saying that it was time to board. "First Class and Red Carpet is now free to board". I sat their because my ticket said seating group 7. After the higher paying customers all got on they announced, "we are having a delay due to maitence on the plane's engine. This lady that ended up being from L.A. looked over at me and said "Engine?". I chuckled and said "well at least the engine won't give out on us".
She was going to visit a boyfriend or something in DC. She seemed nervous. I didn't dare ask if this was their first meeting off of G-Chat. They told us we were going to end up staying the night and they were picking up the bill. Flashes of my trip to Bermuda came into my head, because last time this happened they hooked me up with a free plane ticket. I was almost excited. After waiting in line for about 20 mins with the other DC bound passengers they announced that they were boarding. Internet boyfriend girl grabbed her over sized purple purse and started running back to the gate. I thought to myself "are we going to miss this plane?" Of course! so I started jogging behind this girl that was sure we were going to miss this flight. We were fine. The free hotel giving desk wasn't that far from our gate.
After boarding I was a little excited to be back on the move again in the right direction. It was a good feeling once I sat down. The only problem was that the person that was sitting in my spot the flight before left the reading light on and it was aimed right in the right spot so it glared my glasses. I reached up to push it in like it was a light in a car. The light was at least 100 degrees. Its hard to type this right now. It hurts every time I press I, the comma button, and K button because the tip of middle finger has a blister on it. The problem was despite it being so hot I kept pushing it thinking that I just hadn't pushed it hard enough. I found out later that there was a button on the arm rest next to the volume control for the on flight movie. ouch, I, ouch, I, ouch.

We finally landed 3 hours and 34 mins later in Washington Dulles airport. The wrong airport. I should have gone to Washington Regan, It's walking distance from my new apartment. After picking up my luggage, one large black suit case I used on my LDS mission, and one red suit case that belongs to my Step-Mom Tami. I drug them to the taxi post and said "Crystal City Please". My driver was from Pakistan and I found it funny because my internship is with the Afghanistan Embassy. They are next door neighbors. I'm not sure how friendly they are to each other, but he was nice and knew right where to take me. Unfortunately my apartment had no idea who I was.

I pulled my luggage into this nice apartment complex and wheeled my bags across the marble or granite floors to the front desk where a big lady sat and said "hello sir who are you?". I with Utah Valley University and they should have a key or something for me. She said she had no record of me coming. "Cant you call someone that you have been working with?". I'll try I said but its 12:00 on Friday night, I doubt she is in her office at school. She gave me a look like, don't you be a smart ass. "go sit over there on the couch and I'll see what I can do". I sat down and played BrickBreaker on my Blackberry. She yelled over to me, "Come on over son". She took me up to the girls apartment that was over the students. She was sick and in bed already, but we got her up. She said "you're early, you aren't suppose to be here till next week". Ooops I said, now what? she gave me a key and brought me to my room. At this point I hadn't eaten anything but that Jamba Juice in Denver. I decided to make my first venture into DC, well Virgina.

I walked outside and I could see people spilling out of the bars up the road. I thought well maybe there is a place to eat if I go in the other direction. Nope, just me talking on the phone to mom telling me to be careful. I decided to go against her better judgement and walk up by the drunks leaving the bars. O thank heaven, there was 7-11. One tuna fish sandwich, 2 hard boiled eggs, lime chips, and a blue Gatorade I was off to my apartment. I ate it all up as I watched the office season 3 on my Ipod. funny.

I woke up this morning, unpacked my stuff and went out to see what I could find. I walked to the subway and after looking at the map for about 25 mins, I made my way into the National Mall area. I went to Barack's house. The White House is really rad. I had no idea it was so nice. Well I assumed it was nice but whatever... it was the white house. I wasn't expecting to see guys with AK-47's standing on the top. That was weird, also a Monk praying and playing a drum on the outside was kind of cool to stand and watch. I'm not sure if he was protesting or just praying.

I made my way up the the Washington Monument and I just kept thinking of that part on Forest Gump when Jenny was a hippy and she ran out into the lake pool thing while Forest spoke at the rally. Funny. They have little pillars for every state surrounding some fountains. I went up and found Utah's and said out loud "If I ever see you again, it will be Zion to me". (for those of you who don't know that is was Eliza says to her husband as he joins the Mormon battalion in the movie Legacy) It started raining so I walked back to the subway. That was about a 30 min walk. I talked to my friend Kate Loveless, Kate Ayer, Dave Boyd and mom all the way back home. I sat in the subway station waiting for a blue line train to come but 5 trains later I found out that there are two levels and the Blue line train goes down there. Crap!

I got home and was hungry from walking around. I found a diner up by the bars and 7-11. I got a cheeseburger and fries to go. Stopped by the 7-11 and got some Mountain Dew and went home. My first whole day done.