Disclaimer: Vu is traveling through Europe (Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Berlin, and Belgrade) for the next three weeks with the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and will be using this blog to reflect. Due to the intensity of the program and the amount of wine imbibed, spelling, grammar, and general quality of writing will be shamefully lacking.
Day 1: The program has started off pretty well. I am in DC for the first time and find the city to be pleasant. There are 14 other fellows, and they are an impressive and intimidating bunch who have accomplished a whole bunch of stuff. After our orientation and reception today, for example, this conversation took place, which I am not making up:
Me: So, what do you do?
Fellow 1: I am an elected official, and I also founded an orphanage in Kenya.
Fellow 2: What?! No way! I am an elected official too, and I have founded SEVEN orphanages in Kenya!
They laughed and started talking animatedly, forging an instant bond that only exist among people who have opened orphanages. Then they turned and asked me what I did. “I direct a nonprofit that helps low-income immigrant families,” I said, “and, uh, I have 12 orphanages in Kenya…”
Even more impressive than the American fellows are the European fellows. While we American are touring European cities to learn their policies and culture, they’re doing the same by touring our cities, though I think they’re getting the short end of the stick. I mean, seriously, I get to go to Berlin and Lisbon…and they’re visiting Memphis, Tennessee and Billings, Alabama.