First, I would like to acknowledge that I have been wildly negligent in updating this blog for the past couple months. I would love to say that I was just so busy with very mentally taxing and academically advantageous work…. But yeeeah maybe we will just leave it there.
I have returned to the outrageously beautiful, if not a tad too foggy, city of Monterey. Birth place of my nuclear obsession. Source of a number of friends who I am sure will continue to play a major role in my life for years to come. And location of a number of terrible arms control themed puns.
Yeah, I missed Monterey.
I would like to promise to resume a more consistent posting timetable but if we are being honest I will just promise to post when interesting things pop up and I have sass to spare.
Well, it is very difficult to summarize the past 6 months that I have spent abroad and working for an international organization. Anyone who has returned from any sort of large trip or program can relate to the sort of pregnant pause that follows anytime someone sees you and asks “How was it?” I have been quite transient for the past 7 years or so and I still have yet to learn how to adequately answer that question. Somehow you need to find an answer in between the non-descriptive “It was good!” and the way too overly descriptive 2-hour list of everything you did.
Regardless, it really was good. I met some amazing people, worked in an academically stimulating environment, and lived in a beautiful city.
Working in the Vienna International Center was really quite an interesting experience. I have participated in events that had a large diversity of nationalities in attendance before, but seeing it in the day-to-day work environment was something different. Make no mistake, it is by no means a perfect sampling of the rest of the world, of course, those working in this field have a particular set of interests and access to the world of international policy. But the random collection of people, each with wildly different stories, that you find yourself in an elevator with every day is fun.
Working for an international agency that some dub the “nuclear watchdog” was also a very educational experience for me. I would like to say I knew much more than the average citizen about the agency when I entered the internship, due to my studies, but that paled in comparison to all that they really do in Vienna. I was blown away at all of the different kinds of development initiatives that nuclear technology can assist with. From groundwater mapping in Bolivia, to rice crop production growth in Thailand, to cancer treatment in central Africa. Six months was a relatively short amount of time but I believe that what I have learned will greatly aid in my understanding of nonproliferation initiatives as well as assist me in my future career.
Well, now I am back to a school where my peers think nuclear debates are the perfect thing to do over beers on a Friday evening. I am home.