I’m sitting in the gate area of Union Station, still lamenting that the incredibly slow line at Amtrak ticketing kept me from catching the 11 a.m. Acela and shaving two hours off my trip back to Boston. But I’m one to make lemonade out of lemons, you know, so now I see this extra time with poached wireless to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude and to update the blog.
From Wednesday through Friday, I had training at the ABA offices around the corner from the White House to prep for the trip to Tajikistan. A lot of the time was taken up with administrative explanations: here’s how you fill out a reimbursement request and the like. Then another big portion of time was devoted to versing us in the alphabet soup of funding agencies that provide the dough to make the various rule of law programs happen: OPDAT, DRL, INL, AID, and those are just the U.S. Government ones that I remember. Luckily, my role provides me with a degree of separation from the bureaucracy of donor funding as my job will be focused on the implementation of an already funded program.
Aside from the scheduled training, simply being able to meet with the folks in the DC office and get a sense for the dynamics there made the exercise worthwhile. The staff covering Central Asia seem smart, engaging, and competent, which is a good combo. It should be fun to work with them.
Plus, it was a terrific time to be down here in DC. I got to see so many people who it is a joy to hang out with, and I got to have that frisson of pride that I always get in DC when I turn the corner and see the Capitol or the Washington Monument or the White House (or all three). Yeah, I know that this country has its demons and they are reflected in its monuments, but we’re working on it, and seeing those places always gives me a lump in my throat.