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Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category

A first campfire

A couple of weekends ago, the intern gang and I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula for hiking and general adventure. One of my fellow interns grew up on the lower east side of Manhattan. As we sat around a fire on the beach preparing for s’mores and watching the stars come out, she said, “Guys, this is so cool, I have never done this before. None of my friends from back home have ever done it either.” I am sure that this intern had a number of experiences that would be completely new and foreign to me while I spent some time sitting around campfires growing up. But the statement made me realize how lucky I have been this summer to spend my time with this diverse group of people from around country, working to make the nation we live in just a little better place.
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is Mount Ranier. Knowing this interesting bit of trivia ahead of time may have helped me be a bit more prepared (at least mentally) for our hike last weekend. As it was, I was shocked to walk off the shoveled paths around the visitors center into at least a foot of packed snow. Nevertheless, we prevailed and got about a quarter of the way up the trail to where we could be above the clouds and get a good look at the summit. Getting up was a bit tricky, but getting down was a blast. In several places on the trail down park rangers had packed the snow down with shovels to create shoots, and then marked the slides as the preferred root down. It made a fun decent.
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A buried trail sign. I am not sure exactly how tall it is suppose to be, but I’d imagine it is at least waist-high.
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Walking in the clouds through the snow
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The thing about people in Seattle…

Is that they never cross the street without the light. Never. Not even a little bit. They patiently wait for the white man to appear. They wait from the curb; standing in the gutter is frowned upon. Even if you are on a one way street and you can see for ten miles that no one is coming, everyone waits for light. My New York instinct is to plow through them with my shoulders, but I have heard that gets better with time.

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Seattle

After finishing up my semester of school and work at Columbia, I spent a week in Denver and Boulder enjoying the company of my family and boyfriend before heading west on the Oregon Trail with my best friend and driving companion, Rachel. Seattle welcomed us with open arms and sunny skies when we arrived the Saturday of Memorial weekend. The incredible hospitality of one of Dan’s friend’s, Steve, who offered me a place to crash for the summer, also helped give the city a friendly feeling. I was impressed by how much I liked the city — surrounded by mountains and water, Seattle is a nice-sized city, but cleaner, cheaper and more manageable than the big apple. Steve took us on a whirlwind tour — hitting all the best views, the space needle, the market, the first Starbucks, and a number of local bars and restaurants, all before dinnertime on our first full day in the city.
After a few days to settle in, I started my internship at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). I am surrounded by fun and intelligent staff and fellow interns, and when we get bored of each other we call up someone like the president of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors or the director of community health for Georgia and talk to them about the preventive services available through Medicaid — analyzing the availability of these services will be my primary project for the summer. Secondarily, I will be working on a request from a congressperson regarding the availability of dental services under Medicaid, triggered by the death of a 12 year old boy in Maryland when an abscessed tooth became infected and the infection spread to his brain. We are currently working on scoping and creating methodologies for the projects and I have been working on some background research. So far, the internship has proven challenging and rewarding.
Guessing correctly that after my past nine months in Manhattan, a 40-ish hour work week would seem like a piece of cake, I came into the summer with brilliant plans of working on some hobbies of interest — writing, yoga, rock climbing, and cooking specifically. However, I find it difficult to focus on these pursuits between the hours devoted to interns’ quest to experience all the best of Seattle’s happy hours. Living out of a suitcase for 10 to 12 weeks lends one a certain sense of freedom. In an effort to create some balance, I have spent time the last two weekends hiking around Seattle. My mom came out this weekend to get a sense of the shape of my summer. She joined us on an evening of happy hours and she and I spent a wonderful day hiking along some beaches and enjoying a terrific seafood dinner.
While the first weekend was sunny, the sun disappeared for about two weeks shortly after I started work. A local newspaper headline ran, “Colder than Siberia.” I strain to see the humorous side of this small tragedy. However, the sun returned this weekend and it is begging me to go outside and enjoy it so it is probably time to put down my computer.
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Dan and I hiking in Boulder
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Rachel, Steve, and I in downtown Seattle
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Rachel and I in front of the city
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And by popular demand…my amazing mother

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