Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's the Final Countdown!

And so it all comes to an end. As I look forward to the remaining days ahead, I also cannot help but look back in awe of the number of days past and memories kept. The figurative box, in which I will forever keep my memories, would of course be remiss without two fantastic events from this week past: my meeting with Tammy Baldwin and my tour to the White House. –Both of these would be impossible without the kindness and help of my (fabulous) mentor Cheryl Sensenbrenner. On Friday morning I had the huge opportunity of chatting with Rep. Baldwin for about half an hour. While for the first time ALL SUMMER my alarm decided not to go off and I was in a heated frenzy to shower, change, buy donuts, and rush to Rayburn, my meeting with the congresswoman more than made up for it. Rep. Baldwin was extremely down to earth (a quality I’m beginning to associate with Wisconsinites) and incredibly easy to talk to. I asked her all kinds of “hard-hitting” questions like her favorite places to visit in DC, and more seriously, whether or not she felt that her sexual orientation hindered or propelled her political career. She also gave me a lot of things to consider in terms of potentially running for office one day, myself.
The other exciting opportunity I had this week(end) was that of having a guided White House tour by Cheryl. I loved all the quirky facts about painting, furniture, presidents, architecture etc. that Cheryl was so knowledgeable of. My favorite bit was probably learning about how Dolly Madison urgently saved two invaluable items during the White House fire in the early 1800s (the date escapes me): the first being a portrait of George Washington and the second of course, being her own portrait. I also cannot forget to mention the “interesting” if not gaudy, rather vermeil-style d├ęcor. Popularized by Jackie Kennedy, vermeil refers to the coating of a once sterling silver object in gold. This was basically what became of numerous candlesticks, chandeliers, plates, mirrors, etc. Probably would not have been my artistic choice, but I suppose it was the thing to do back in the day, much like our hipster skinny jeans and irony.

Before concluding this blog and my week, I would again like to give a tremendous shout out to Cheryl Sensenbrenner for being the best mentor imaginable. Some of my fondest memories here have easily been because of her. ☺

Posted by Nicole Tay

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