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February 5th, 2014:


A lot of people in the class are sick. There is a bad cold going around. When eight-seven people spend the entire day crowded into a small room, sitting very close to each other, disease spreads easily.

There is a Chinese trick to fight off a cold: as soon as you start to feel the symptoms, you drink a tea made from ginger root and brown sugar. You have to drink it quickly, while it’s hot. The ginger is very spicy, maybe it’s a combination of that and the hot temperature that stops the infection from making you sick. If you do this early enough, you can nip the cold in the bud.

I did the ginger tea trick last week, when I started to feel a scratchy throat, and it seems to have knocked the cold out. I’m also taking lots of Vitamin C, staying hydrated, getting sleep, and exercising. With luck, those things will keep me healthy.

Fingers crossed.

Spending the day at Main State today

Most of our training happens at a special training center in Arlington, Virginia. Occasionally, we go to other locations. Today, we are spending the entire day at “Main State,” the main State Department building in Washington, D.C., in a district called “Foggy Bottom.”

We will attend area studies lectures from experts and officials who are responsible for the world areas.

We are also learning State Department protocol. When a VIP enters the room to speak, everyone is to stand and applaud as the person enters. What’s a VIP? Anyone at the Assistant Secretary level and up.

I’m planning to do a lot of standing and applauding today. It’s interesting and exciting to listen to people who are directly involved in creating and implementing U.S. foreign policy.