This past week was a short week at USIP due to the holiday. I did not have work on Monday, so I used that time to prepare for a conference presentation I will be giving next week. The conference is for the National Association of Court Managers. This year it has an international focus, as the International Association of Court Administrators is a partner. I will be on a panel discussing foreign aid for the rule of law sector, presenting the results of a research project that I conducted with Matt Kleiman when I was a fellow at the National Center for State Courts. Although I am not a confident speaker, this is a great opportunity and I’ve been working on the project for a year. I’m hoping my level of familiarity with the information will ease the anxiety. Other than that, I have mostly worked on the actors lists for the JSD reports, finishing up Senegal and Nigeria.
Over the weekend my mom came to visit D.C. On Saturday we drove out to Great Falls National Park along the Potomac River, and spent the morning walking along the river and taking in the beautiful scenery. We then planned to walk around the National Mall, but we didn’t make it very far when a storm rolled into the city. We decided to seek shelter in the closest museum, which was the Museum of the American Indian. This proved to be a stroke of serendipity, as the museum has an exhibit on the Inca Trail, which my mom and I plan to hike next August. It was a great way to start thinking and getting excited about our future trip. I then introduced her to Ethiopian food, which was a staple in my diet in college but which I haven’t had at all in the years since.
On Independence Day, a few friends and I escaped the city for the mountains, driving down to the George Washington National Forest to hike Humpback Rocks. It’s a trail I’ve hiked before, and though it is short, the view is highly rewarding. I also learned that my daily bike rides to and from work are paying off, as I hiked up the steep trail with ease. We then headed back into the city to beat the traffic for the fireworks, which we watched from the crest of the hill in Columbia Heights. It was a great holiday weekend filled with some of the best moments I’ve had so far in D.C.