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Breaking Ground: Part 2

Monday, June 3rd 2024

As I woke up early in the morning for programming the first thing that ran through my mind were the words of Barney Stinson, "SUIT UP!"! I got ready and met up with my fellow interns as we boarded the metro to a new part of D.C. that I had yet to explore. As we rode the metro towards the place where the meetings would be held, I stared in awe at the towering buildings and apartments that swept by us in the train as we flew by. Though I only saw them for seconds through the windows of the train car, I couldn't help but stare in disbelief at the amazing structures that crowded the busy streets of D.C. Back in the valley whenever I looked up at the sky around me there was nothing but blue arid skies and mountain ranges on the distant horizon, but here I'm surrounded by monuments and clusters of concrete monoliths through which slivers of that same azure sky shine through. Once we arrived at our destination (we had gotten there a bit early) I waited for programming to begin as I reviewed my notes for the bill simulation that we were going to be a part of later in the day. I was acting as a lobbyist from the March for Our Lives organization where I was lobbying for the representatives who were played by other interns, to support a bill that we were in favor of. My partner and I had communicated throughout the weekend on the approach that we would take toward our speech and the answers to possible questions that may be asked of us. When our time came to speak, our speech was exactly what we needed to grab the attention of the representatives within the simulation, and as the questions began zooming like arrows, one after another, our preparations and diligent work served as a shield to repel them all from whichever angle they came! After this amazing simulation, we learned a bit more about the way in which bills were passed through the House and Senate, and later in the day we did a brief but needed seminar on growth mindsets! During this seminar, we explored the different ways in which our mind tackles different situations within our daily experiences and how we can change the way we think to be able to develop ourselves in healthy and positive ways! By the end of the day, we were all exhausted, but it was a day packed with amazing sights and even better lessons!



 

Tuesday, June 4th 2024

I started the day off with some tamborazos to make sure I had the right energy to be able to get to my first day of work on time and ready for whatever the day would bring! As I nodded my way along to a building that I had never been to, I decided to take the longer route on my way to work to be able to take in more of the city. I find that taking the scenic route in whatever context always leads to a better experience in the long run, so I made my way down the street with my music like the soundtrack to a movie accompanying me the entire way. As I walked, I noticed a woman with a very pretty bracelet on and decided to compliment her on it. Her name was Dawn, and we ended up talking almost the entire way to my internship! We exchanged cards as we parted ways, and it turned out that she was an academic and career advisor at the Catholic University of America! She wanted me to attend a dinner with some other interns, and also wanted me to reach out to her husband who worked at the District of the Interior for a tour! As I got to the LULAC office, my supervisor invited me out for a coffee for my first day and I gladly accepted! We chatted about the job on our way to and from the coffee shop, so I felt a bit more prepared for the work that I would be getting. Once I got to the office, I was able to meet all of the other interns and office staff. They were an amazing blend of people from all different Latino backgrounds! I was given a tour of the office and shown where my office would be. I would be sharing the space with another amazing research intern named Michelle who quickly became a good friend, and for the first time in my life, I was able to say that I had an office (albeit for only a summer)! Later that same day USAID came to give a presentation and a few of the USDA interns had come also, so I got to see a few familiar faces on my first day on top of everything new I was getting to see! My first day was filled with trainings and paperwork, and in the end it was an amazing day!



 

Wednesday, June 5th 2023

As the sun peeked through the blinds of my window and lit up my room, I arose happy to get back to work for my second day! The day before, I was informed that I would need to attend two briefings at the Rayburn House Building on public health and the diabetes epidemic that is currently sweeping the nation. While there I was able to interact with several health professionals while getting insights into the ways that different organizations are working to combat the disease that is affecting so many Americans! They were able to break down both how diabetes functions, and the different aspects that affect the way that it can change your health. Apart from this, I learned about the different bills that they were working to lobby for in order to help combat the rising rates of diabetes. Dr. Rios, a speaker at both briefings, was able to explain how we need to start a change, especially within the Latino community as it is disproportionately impacted by diabetes. After the briefings, I returned to the office with my fellow research and policy interns where I was able to get a new assignment, which was creating a presentation breaking down one of the current Supreme Court cases. My job was to highlight how the decision of this case would affect Latinos, and analyze the various ways in which it would negatively impact the community. I set off to work researching and developing my arguments alongside Michelle, my partner for the assignment, as we dug into the details nonstop for the entire workday gathering evidence. After the day was over I was able to walk home and got to see the bustling city during the sunset. It was a very surreal experience and one that I enjoyed, and look forward to after leaving work now!



 

Thursday, June 6th 2024

With my daily routine relatively discovered, now I got up ready to seize the day at LULAC! I walked to work and got there early to make sure that I was able to have as much time as I could to be able to properly delve into the subject matter to properly understand and elaborate on what it was that I was trying to convey through the presentation. Every morning I make my way around the office and say good morning to all of the interns, office staff, and security. This helps me to both remember all of their names, since there are A LOT of different people there, as well as get to chat with them to be able to get a better understanding of who they are as people. I spent most of the day sitting in my office while trying to research more of the subject that there seemed to be so little information on! At lunch, however, I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a tradition for all the new interns where we were taken to lunch by all of the departing interns! They took us to a little shopping area where they had food from all different cultures, and to describe the aroma of food in the air in words would be an injustice! Unfortunately, I had no money and forgot my wallet at home, but one of the interns paid for my lunch because we were both from the Central Valley!!! She was the first person in all of D.C. that was relatively near where I grew up, and being able to talk about all of the similar and shared experiences with her was one of the best moments I've had in D.C.! For a brief fleeting moment, I was reminded of all the people that I left behind to be able to come all the way here and work to make a difference in our community! After lunch, I went right back to work and was able to continue to dig for more recent evidence for my presentation. At this point, my partner and I were going crazy trying to find evidence that was pre-covid to be able to actually support our argument, but regardless of the difficulty of the task, we managed to persevere! After work, I walked outside to my favorite weather, a sky full of clouds and a grey pall looming over everything you could see! I decided to take my chances and walk home, taking in, again, the beauty of the city alongside the calmness of a gloomy day.



 

Friday, June 7th 2024

I was extremely excited for Friday because the office staff had informed me that today was the day that they celebrated all of the birthdays in June! When I went to work they told everyone that during lunch not to go out because they were going to treat the whole office to Dominican food!! Needless to say, my mind was mostly on the food throughout the morning and when lunchtime came the food was a bit late. I was trying to focus on my work to pass the time quicker, but between the grumbling of my stomach and the starving office workers, it wasn't too easy (to say the least)! However, once the food finally arrived, the entire office was ready and waiting to be able to eat. After some opening remarks from my supervisor, Ray, we got to dig in! Although I had never had Dominican food before, I went in without fear and piled my plate high with foods I didn't even know the name of. To describe to you all the way I devoured that plate, I can only really say to imagine the scene from Jurassic Park where the T-Rex goes on a rampage!! After eating about three plates of food, each piled only slightly less than the last, my hunger had sufficed and in it's place the "itis" kicked into high gear. It's that feeling after eating when that wave of drowsiness washes over you like a wave crashing into rocks on the shore. Apart from this, after we had all finished eating, the interns who were leaving all gave the new interns some advice and funny stories about their time at the office. While I may not have known each of them for a long time, I really appreciated being able to learn what I could from them. The confidence that they gave me in myself, and in my ability, is something that will carry me past this internship, and not only that but their stories were all so inspiring to hear that I felt immense pride for each of them! The rest of the day was a battle between drowsiness and a struggle to find current data on the topic that I was trying to highlight in my presentation. Once the day was over, however, I made my way home to prepare for the weekend!



 

Saturday, June 8th 2024

With the start of the weekend, I got to sleep in and relax! As I made myself huevos con chorizo I got a message from the group chat with all the interns asking who would be interested in going to the Pride parade that would be happening later in the day. Excited to support the community I let them know that I would be ready to go whenever they were ready to leave. I cleaned up the dorm a bit and towards two in the afternoon we made our way to the parade. There I got to see people from all different identities come out and show the support for pride!! There were people dressed up in angel costumes, drag queens, and busses full of people tossing necklaces and Skittles to the crowd! In the middle of the Pride parade they had several trucks that were dedicated to Latino pride, and as they passed by our entire group was going crazy! Not only were they Latinos supporting Pride month, but they also had reggaeton playing on full blast as they cruised through the parade! After standing outside for the parade we were all starting to get really hungry so we made our way to find a restaurant to get some food. After downing several cups of water and eating some really good sandwiches, we decided to call it a day and head back home. Once I got home I decided to take a 30-minute nap to re-energize and I even set an alarm to wake me up. As I got up, I looked around at a dark room with the bathroom light being the only place where light was coming from. I checked the clock, and it was 1:30 IN THE MORNING! I realized how badly I overslept but decided to go back to sleep rather than thinking about how and why I overslept so much!



 

Sunday, June 9th 2024

As I woke up from my "extended nap", I felt more energized than I had been all week! As I got ready, I messaged the other interns who were going to Mass that I would be tagging along and made my way down to the lobby. I'd not been to an English Mass in years so going to one all the way on the other side of the country was even more new to me! The church was very beautiful and I found myself adoring the interior while inside. Apart from the architecture, the singing was angelic to say the least! While it may have been different it was all still the same and I know it sounds a bit contradictory but being bilingual you find a lot of similarities in the way things are done! After Mass, I went to the breakfast that the church was doing on a lower level of the church itself, and had some amazing conversations with the pastors that were present! After leaving and getting back home, I immediately started cleaning up the whole dorm. It's now part of my weekly routine to clean up on Sundays, while also getting my own personal chores done as well. While cleaning I realized that I was going to need some more food for the coming weeks and decided to head over to Costco with some friends to get things I needed. After getting our groceries and making our way back, I kept cleaning for a bit and started working on my journals. I received a message from the other interns inviting me to go play volleyball at the park and not wanting to miss an amazing opportunity, I got on my gym clothes and went downstairs. We played volleyball for a few hours and after it got too dark to play we trekked all the way back to the dorms, where I then finished up my work and prepped my clothes for programming on Monday!




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