Week Six: Team Bonding and Brexit

     Well, I'm past the halfway point now. I feel like some sort of bell should toll when I say that, like when the doorbell rings in lower and lower pitches in that one scene in "Christmas Vacation" (a movie worth seeing for anyone that's interested). Yet, the day passed with out any pomp or circumstance, probably much like when my father skipped his high school graduation to go camping in the Canadian woods.

     Although I felt the time ticking on this week, the work didn't stop. Except for on Tuesday, that is. Tuesday was the yearly "staff bonding" day, an office-wide venture into the Hague to see what we could learn about each other. This year, we went kayaking on the North Sea. Of all of the times I have gone to the beach, this is likely to be the one that I will remember the most. It was a (not) balmy day reaching temperatures of 62 degrees when we made it to the beach. But we were given wetsuits and a look of pity from the instructor when we got there, which raised my spirits somewhat. Plus, in the European way, we spent about an hour beforehand drinking tea and having "sweet things" to eat, so I wasn't about to complain about an hour of ice water. I did end up underwater a few times when the waves took me down, but all that does is increase the "wow" factor of my story when I go home to tell people about my trip. And while we were learning to surf the waves, a seal paid us a visit, so the day will go down as a success.

     After we finished kayaking, we went out to lunch. Although I always love a free lunch, this meal surpassed my expectations. We spent three and half hours at an incredible seafood restaurant drinking white wine, eating amazing sushi (disclaimer: I don't particuarly like fish, so I tried a vegetarian kind), talking about the upcoming Brexit vote, and playing games designed to get us to know each other better. It was great to have a few hours to speak with my coworkers outside of work itself. However, I did feel the impact of being an intern at one point. It's that transitory feeling that you get when you interact with a group of people who have worked together for a while and will continue to do so after you're gone. Regardless, though, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know everyone better and to push my limits with kayaking. It's always good to have something to think back on when times get tough. For example, if a project starts to feel overwhelming next year, I can always remind myself that I'm not doing it while also trying to maintain my balance on a floating piece of yellow plastic as the current tries to carry me away to England (as our instructor so casually told us was possible).

     Speaking of England, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU on Thursday, a decision that has drastically affected a few of my coworkers already, since some of them are British citizens. Consequently, Brexit was the topic of the day on Friday as everyone tried to wrap their minds around the implications of the decision. It was both interesting and a little scary to hear about the possible effects that this decision could have on people that I know. I think Americans can get somewhat disconnected from events across the ocean; on Friday, the issue was not only in my own backyard, but sitting right at my desk. I'll be sure to pay attention to the issue in the next few years, especially since it implicates one of my interests: the impact of politics on the global economy.

Lastly, to give everyone an idea of how nice the weather was on Tuesday, I've attached this beautiful picture of the Harbor at Scheveningen.

 The Harbor