It’s Memorial Day Weekend this weekend in the U.S., which means that there are national sales at all big retailers and that it’s a Government holiday on Monday in memory of Americans who died in wars. For me, it’s kind of a dull weekend because Ms. Monika is in Sweden and Mr. M is on mission in Central America, and my circle of friends here isn’t much bigger than that. So apart from a ballet class, skyping with friends in other countries, and some work, I have had plenty of time to write on my book. Hopefully, I will have more time to focus on it this summer, so that I can finish it sometime soon.
The World Bank and the IMF are having their annual Spring Meetings this weekend and ministers, government representatives, and civil society are here from all over the world. And I think no-one has been able to pass by the World Bank entrance these days without feeling inspired and motivated! Join the cause and let’s end poverty in this generation!
It’s been a long winter. Not very hard compared to what I grew up with in Sweden, but long nevertheless. But now it seems like spring is finally on the way. The almond trees are almost blooming and the Cherry Blossom Festival is less than two weeks away. My friend from Moldova has been here on training for almost a week so we spent yesterday walking around the National Mall before she had to leave for her flight. After that, I met up with another colleague for a drink in Georgetown. A very pleasant Saturday!
I was there. Again! And while less spectacular than the 2009 inauguration, it was definitely worth it. As you all know by now, the speech was fantastic! Perhaps, in my view, even better and more visionary than the one in 2009. And it felt like this year’s inauguration, with President Obama and his family, Sonia Sotomayor, and Richard Bianco (whose poem, by the way, was very touching) really represented today’s America Also, Charles Schumer did a good job at hosting it – really funny and relaxed, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir did the event’s best performance. Certain things worked less well, of course. I’m not sure who is responsible for organizing the logistics around the inaugurations, but they definitely could learn some from the big Northern European Music festivals. Just as last time, there were too few jumbotrons, the speakers or sound system didn’t work properly (or barely at all where I was standing), and the logistics of people, facilities, trashcans, etc, was poor as always. (It’s sometimes curious how much power this city still has in the world…) What makes this event so special, though, is to see Washington DC come together. I don’t mean Washington as in the Federal Government, but Washington DC as in the city district. In many aspects, it’s such a divided city. Not between the haves and the have nots, but between those with prospects, education, and opportunities, and those almost without. But when President Obama is inaugurated at the National Mall, we’re all there and we’re all celebrating. It’s a nice feeling!
I had a nice surprise the other day at work when I realized that my colleague had in fact not yet moved to Romania, but is around for another couple of weeks. Great for me, especially since my friend has his mind set on going through DC’s best burger places before moving away from the U.S. Last week, we went to the Daily Grill, which is one of my favorite place this time of the year, and tonight we went to Good Stuff Eatery in Capitol Hill. The latter probably makes some of the best burgers in DC and is President Obama’s favorite hamburger place. It was my first time I was there and I can definitely recommend it (although a plus would have been proper plates and cups instead of the disposable stuff). Plus I had a very nice evening!
I just came back from my last ballet class before the holidays. To go to my classes, I usually take the S2 bus outside my building, which runs on 16th Street all the way up to Silver Spring in Maryland, where my dance studio is. 16th Street is apparently the street in the world with the most religions represented in the same street. (Yes, I too see the irony of me living here!) Therefore, the bus is always full with a variety of different church goers every Sunday morning when I take the bus. It’s quite interesting to watch people from all over the world, often dressed up traditional clothes, heading to their particular church. I am, of course, not entirely sure what the difference is, but it seems important to my fellow passengers who get off at different stops according to their Christian affiliation. They often come in larger groups with several families going together and they seem to look forward to their church visits. It is still more common in the U.S. to believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time over the last 10,000 years or so” (45 % according to a 2007 Gallup poll) than it is to not belong to a particular religion (some 15%). Perhaps in an attempt to counter balance all the different believes in the street, this this campaign has run on the 16th Street buses these past months.
I realized on my way home from work tonight that it’s Halloween and so I tried to celebrate the best I could: with orange (carrot) soup, orange ( Port Salut) cheese, and a themed petit four. I barely saw any kids out either; it seems like the city is still not fully back to normal yet after past days’ drama. Strange was also the feeling to come home after work and not have to study! Relaxing and yet a little empty! I think I need a hobby now…
I am still buried in my studies and to not get distracted, I try not to think about the wonderful holiday season that is around the corner. I was, however, reminded today when I went to the store for groceries. Although I am writing about obesity and unhealthy nutrition transition around the world, I can’t help longing for this year’s first piece of pumpkin pie!