This week I got to meet Tom Ginsburg! He is a professor at University of Chicago Law School and an internationally recognized expert in constitutions. He was here to work with (slash consult for) IDEA on a project that we are doing (again the whole NDA thing causes me to be reluctant about giving more information). Two of my supervisors have been working on the project for the past two weeks. I was asked if I would like to take a break from researching to listen in on the meetings. I like my research, but I thought new things sounded fun. The meeting consisted of the two people from our office, Professor Ginsburg, one other person who had flown in to join the meeting, and me. I brought a pen and notebook and had planned to just sit in the corner quietly and take notes. As the meeting went on, I made a couple of suggestions during their brainstorming...and next thing I knew I kind of became part of the writing team. It was rather exciting, though I was really nervous about inserting myself into these discussions. At the lunch break, I asked my supervisor if I should just keep quiet, but he said he appreciated the input. The next day, my other supervisor reiterated that he hoped I would join again that day. I felt so honored to be able to be part of what they were doing. I think it will be a great tool for [constitution-related thing]. (Facebook friends, when they release the final project, I will post a link for you). IDEA does such great work. I am so excited to be part of it, and the people here really make me feel like I'm part of the team, not just a temporary research assistant or something. It's really a fun place to work.
The World Cup starts today. The excitement has been growing around here all week. There are Dutch flags and orange flags everywhere. Actually, as I'm typing this, I'm watching the first Netherlands match. I had thought it would be pretty easy to follow, even if the announcer was only speaking Dutch. I started by watching part of the previous game and learned that this game is far more complicated that I remember from elementary school - likely because when you're 8, they don't really apply the rules as strictly. Now, I'm sitting with the family asking lots of [likely very ridiculous] questions. It's fun!
I'm also seeing the general feeling of America's irrelvance to this competition. For example, a recent commercial implied that going to a Spanish restaurant or Italian restaurant is akin to unpatriotic. You cannot eat the food of another World Cup competitor! However, McDonalds was the perfect choice. Yes, it was a McDonald's commercial, but I found the implication hilarious.
Oh, I went to Antwerp this past weekend. It was absolutely gorgeous! Pictures here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10101619786855955.1073741831.426526&type=1&l=57bdc04741.