Fifty Shades of DC

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong

The prolonged winter in DC is over. This past week, the temperature has consistently been around 60F. And the once chilly and aloof DC starts to strike people with its cuteness by offering thousands of cherry blossoms and magnolias. Yesterday, when I went to work in the morning, these cuties were greeting me in front of UCDC Center:

cherry blossoms

Taken in front of Department of the Treasury

Taken in front of Department of the Treasury

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User Guide to the Library of Congress

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong

The Library of Congress was one of the biggest incentives behind my UCDC application. As my work at the Wilson Center is picking up, I have become a frequent patron of the LOC. A good thing about working in a think tank is the flexibility of your schedule. Unlike my friends who work, say, at the White House or at some Congressional offices, I usually don’t have to be at work from 9 to 5. As a research assistant, my job is mainly to, well, do research. So as long as I finish my work on time and keep my boss happy, I can read books, write memos and interview people from anywhere, usually a nearby library or a cafe. And sometimes, when the task gets tricky, a visit to the LOC is a must-do. Continue reading

Going Primitive in D.C.

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong

I never realized how much I had been enslaved to my cell phone until three weeks ago. I went skiing in Maryland— Yes, they do have a couple of ski resorts around D.C., nothing like Lake Tahoe, though — with three friends from UCDC, and accidentally gave my cell phone a mountain funeral. Since then, I have been living in a constant state of uncertainty. “Where is the nearest post office again? I have to mail some postcards to my friends in Berkeley. And, what are their addresses anyway? Gosh, I really should have written them down.” “It’s now 4 minutes past my appointment time with my boss, what if there was something coming up and he had to ditch me?” “Wait, at which Metro stop should I make my transfer again?” Without a cell phone, my life is just full of those “Gotcha” moments. I’ve always thought that, compared to all my “techy” friends in the Bay Area, I was pretty indifferent to digital stuff. Now I have to say, a smart phone is something that, once you get used to it, there is just no way back.

Summer with her friends Ari (left, from University of Sydney), Tom (from UCLA), and Joe (front, from Carnegie Mellon University)

Summer with her friends Ari (left, from University of Sydney), Tom (from UCLA), and Joe (front, from Carnegie Mellon University)

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From Passive Berkeley to Dynamic DC – My First Days in Washington

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong
A Berkeley professor once shared with me her impression about D.C. She was invited over to the capital as an Asia expert, where she and professors from other universities were given a tour of the State Department, where they met with some government officials responsible for drafting international policies. At the end of the tour, the officials asked the professors if they had any questions about D.C. “The only question I had in mind,” my professor said to me, “’was are things here more like what we see in The West Wings or House of Cards?’” She did not say that out loud, of course. Continue reading