Only ten days left| August 9, 2010
After what felt like weeks of chilly and rainy weather, we finally had a sunny day on Friday. Sadly, it was short-lived and the weekend was full of rain, wind, and clouds. Today was an odd mix. Every time I looked out the window at my desk, it was raining, but at lunchtime and at afternoon fika (coffee break), the sun was out and everyone wanted to go outside. I certainly would not have called the weather summery before spending the summer here, but it is what the Swedes call summer.
Stockholm, and Sweden in general, are geared towards making a person truly appreciate the sun. Back home in Colorado, we have an abundance of sunny days, regardless of the season. It gets to the point that you take the sun for granted. Here, the sun is very much appreciated. If the sun comes out and the temperature gets above 20 degrees Celsius, you can hardly walk around town without tripping over sunbathers. Even if they are not able to fully devote themselves to sun worship at the moment, many Swedes are like sunflowers, turning their faces into the sun whenever they are outside. They say they are recharging their batteries to last through the dark winter months.
Considering that my time in Sweden is quickly coming to a close, I have been braving the less-than-ideal weather and venturing out to see the remaining sights on my list. Last weekend, I ventured further afield than I'd been, into a part of Sweden that is not really urban. It was a very different place. The vast majority of Swedes live in urban centers, and a large proportion of that number live in Stockholm. Thus, when you get out into the countryside, you encounter a very different lifestyle. Due to a lack of comprehensive planning on my part, I ended up going on a 4-hour bus tour of some very pretty Swedish countryside. My goal had been to take the bus to see some Viking remnants. Sadly, the bus stop I'd been told to get off at was in the middle of nowhere, with no signs and not even a shop to stop in and ask for directions. Having looked at the bus stop beforehand, I knew the next bus didn't come for hours. So, I hopped back on the bus before it left. Thank goodness it had been delayed by confused elderly people. I like bus rides, so it was not a big deal to me. The only problem was that I couldn't snap photos through the bus windows...
This past week at IDEA, we had a meeting to discuss the development of the CBP website constitutionnet.org. It is still a work in progress, but it has great potential to be a valuable resource for those interested and involved in constitution building. Technical issues, as well as certain inter-institutional issues have been delaying the website's progress to a degree, but the CBP team continues to work to organize the information they want to present. They are also trying to hone in on what their target audience would need to access and focus on building those aspects of the website. Having worked a bit on the website, uploading documents to the virtual library in our spare time, Snow and I were able to contribute some feedback as young people who are familiar with academic search engines and information organization.
I have finally finished the handouts for Module 3 of the training curriculum. The handout on the rule of law was the most difficult to complete. IDEA, unlike USIP where I worked last summer, does not have a standard institutional definition of the rule of law. That makes it tricky for an intern to write up a handout to instruct constitution builders on how to utilize the concept of the rule of law in a post-conflict environment. Luckily, the rest of the CBP team also understood the challenge and contributed their ideas and feedback to my efforts. The responses were all very insightful and informed. There was a lot to cover in one handout, though, so it took some time to get the material organized and concise.
Something that I've really liked about this internship has been the amount of truly substantive work that they have for me to do. I really get to use what I've learned and apply it to tasks that I know are useful to the CBP team down the line. They are also confident enough in my abilities to give me a lot of autonomy in my work. Also, working with such a knowledgeable group of international lawyers and political scientists has made this summer an incredible learning experience. I can't believe that the summer is almost over. I'm certainly going to miss working at IDEA!