So the training seminar went great- it was a little tiring sitting in front of the computer from 8.00-5.00 three days in a row exploring mounds of data, but they were so rich and able to address so many child development issues that you forget the tedium after a while. The training was primarily designed as a methodological seminar to acquaint us with this huge nationally-representative data-set which follows close to 3 million of America's children from birth, but fundamentally, people were there not to discuss things like weightings and standard deviations; I met nursing practitioners, pediatricians, federal research analysts, professors, and other grad students from all over the country who came together in order to explore a whole spectrum of issues to do with children, not just their educational well being, but also their physical and neurological trajectory, and there was even a man there from the U.S. Department of Agriculture looking at the effects of food stamps on the development of disadvantaged kids! It was just wonderfully gratifying to be in the company of so many like-minded people, working in different ways towards the common ideal of improving and sustaining the well-being of all children.
The only downside of the trip was that I didn't get to see the city much at all. All the museums and galleries are operating on Winter hours right now so they were closed by the time I got out. And it would have been too much of a hike from where I stayed to get to the monuments so the only time I got to see them was on the way to and from the airport. They looked awesome of course, especially lit up at night, but it would have been incredible to have been able to get a close up view. What I did get to see of D.C. though was gorgeous- the really quaint architecture was particularly lovely. So much of the city has been preserved throughout the years so you have these wonderfully pretty buildings that look like that came straight out of a Henry James novel... Jude would love to see the city too, so who knows, we might make a trip there one day just for the fun of it. But don't worry all you people in the Bay Area, you guys get priority of course!