Monday, October 19, 2009

Finland October 10th-12th!

The weekend of the 10th, I went up to Finland to visit a friend I hadn't seen in over 5 years! It was a short, but sweet trip up there, and pretty interesting since I have never been to Finland before. I flew into Helsinki- not the best flight, but not the worst, I'm a bad judge since I think all flights are terrible though... and stayed there for 1 night and then we went to Turku, where my friend lives, and stayed at his house the next night and then I went back to Vienna the next day!

This is the Olympic tower, where the flame was kept burning during the 1952 summer Olympics. It was 11 stories high, I think, and had amazing views. (No worries, I did not die trying to walk up all those stairs...there was an elevator! In fact, you could not even use the stairs at all)
These two pictures are views from the top of the Olympic spiral flame holder at the Olympic stadium where the 1952 Olympics were held. Once again I lucked out and it was beautiful (but freezing) out!

This is the National History Museum. It was a lot bigger inside than I thought it would be, we spent probably 3 hours in there. But it was very very interesting, probably because I had never been in a museum that had really anything about Finland before, so I learned a lot about Finnish history and culture. It had exhibits from the prehistoric times all the way up until present time, including a room on Lapland! (where the reindeer are and Santa supposedly lives)
This is really the only thing I got to see in Turku because we got there around 9pm and so we just walked around the river once and then went back to sleep and I left around 10 the next morning so there wasn't time to do anything, but it is a very pretty city from what I saw and I recommend seeing it because next year it will be a culture capital in Europe!

Belvedere and work

Well the next week on October 4th, I decided to visit Belvedere, home of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.

Picture by: Wikipedia

Belvedere was amazing! It's such a beautiful building!
These two pictures show the back of the building as well as the view of the gardens. Thankfully I lucked out and it was an amazing day out!
This was just a funny sign that was pointing to a souvenir shop across the street where Sharon Stone apparently bought something.
During work, I began my new project for Heather, the NRC attache, which was writing a draft on conference conclusions for a conference being held in South Africa in December. Yes I know it was the conclusions....apparently they will just add the specifics after the meetings, but would like everything else added before...
I also got to have my courtesy call with our ambassador (not the main Ambassador to Vienna, the ambassador to US Missions). We just sat and chatted about a lot of things for about 30min, what I'm doing, how I like it here, where do I go to school, etc... I also got to know a little more about him, and it's pretty to realize that an ambassador is just a regular guy with a family, not some scary way high up important government man!
On Thursday and Friday, the only thing that really happened was that I helped to set up for some talks that were being held in our office with the Indian delegation, and I got to be their escort up to the office! They were all very nice, and polite.

Klosterneuburg and the NRC

The week of September 27th- October 3rd started off with a trip to the Klosterneuberg Monastery with a friend. It's a very interesting 900 year old monastery/palace/church! We took a tour, which was actually very nice because there was only a British couple with us, so it was like paying for a big general tour but getting a private tour!
The altar piece on the left is called the Verdun Altar and is 900 years old and the little box on top holds the bones of St. Leopold. It is is the second largest gold and enamel alter piece in existence, and there are three rows, one from the Old Testament before Moses, one from the Old Testament after Moses and one is the New Testament.

This is a picture of the front of the church.

Picture by: Chtamina

At the start of the week I went to some meetings with the NRC attache Heather. They were really just organizational meetings about the big meetings coming up in December and in 2011, but they were still pretty interesting. I took notes for them and wrote up summaries at the end of each day. The first meeting was the First Extraordinary Meeting and dealt with some changes that had been made to some resolution drafts and the discussion of a hand over meeting for the new officers and when that would take place. The second was called the Fifth Organizational Meeting which basically dealt with the dividing up of the member states into country groups. There was also a time set up for opinions on the review process which went into along drawn out discussion because some countries did not understand what was being said and done for some of the issues discussed. That was September 28th and 29th and on the 30th I finished up my part of the General Plenary cable, which had been to look through every statement in search of what each state had said about Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (DPRK)

That was about all that happened that week

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week #4 Cool Down and a Record Breaking Weekend!

So, the Week after the GC everything kind of slowed down...a lot. This was when a lot of people took a day or 2 off because the last week was really pretty crazy for most everyone.

I was supposed to join a group of colleagues and go to SAL on Friday the 25th....however..... a little bit of a news popped up that morning that caused just a little bit a stress for everyone...a secret nuclear facility in Iran. Things actually got pretty interesting that day and the following week, reading all the emails sent out and the news reports talking about the IAEA and Vienna- pretty cool to be right in the middle of some big international scandal...kind of.

The coolest thing I did this week was that I was in charge of writing part of the GC cable; the parts about the meetings I attended by myself. So I was told that I wrote well (thank you GPS English teachers!) however I needed to basically pare it down some more, take out filler words, etc... So I did, and apparently it was okay because the cables were sent on!
The only other thing that happened that week, that I was involved in, was a brown bag lunch to talk about"lessons learned" I was just there as a spectator to listen in on what they were talking about, so it was pretty interesting hearing what they thought went right and what didn't during the Conference.
So that was basically it for the work week.....

On Sunday 9/27 another intern and I decided to head down to the Prater (the big ferris wheel and amusement park) to watch the "record breaking" day. It was called Vienna Recordia. It was pretty amusing if only to people watch...mullets, weird shaved haircuts, interesting clothing...and the cutest dog I have ever seen! We didn't really see a lot of it because we got there after it had started and left before it had ended... But, we did see a man bouncing a soccer ball on his head (apparently he'd been at it for a couple of hours before we got there). unfortunately he did not break that record. We also saw a man trying to break the record for how many M&Ms he could eat with a chopstick in 5 min. It was pretty funny to watch, and he did break that record. Another record being broken we saw was a man rolling a car up and down part of a parking lot (we didn't actually see him...he was on the big screen). And the last thing we saw before we left was a man doing yoga... we weren't sure how long he had been doing it how long he had to go though. This is all coming from looking at the pictures in the pamphlet and watching...since neither of us really speak any German. Sadly, we missed the tallest man in the world :(