The Week and the Day: The System Failed

The first week back of school has ramped up slowly but surely. Although my classes this semester won’t be as debilitatingly difficult as Spring ’08 or as rigamarole-esque (forgive me for that one) as Summer & Fall ’08, it will be a pretty hefty offering with a good bit of homework. However, not being LCP is going to factor favorably into the success equation.

This past weekend was AIESEC GT’s Leadership Team Retreat, and it was a really good one! There were no major incidences although some good solid constructive conversation was had, and best of all we finally finished the LC constitution we’ve been knocking around for three years! We even got a good bit of headway done on taking all the disparate “common-law” style LTR notes from the past three years and organizing them into a single living bylaws document. Both nights were packed with fun, fire, the stars on the lake, and Saturday night was host to an intense conversation on religion, human nature, the Gaza conflict, and other related items of import. It was a conversation of the type I haven’t had for a long time, and the last time I had one was definitely while not in the USA – probably that Nordic circle from ITC in Romania in April ’07. It was refreshing and empowering – a reminder of why AIESEC is so cool.

Monday was difficult, as all Mondays will be. I have a gigantic wall of classes followed immediately by our LCM. I’m trying to get back into running in the morning and, since I don’t have any labs (except when senior design picks up) that keep me at school way late I think I’ll be able to actually keep it up.

Today was really especially cool though. My old German mate from the language school in Gandia, Nikolai, was in Atlanta on layover for about eight hours and so we got to have a pretty cool day today. I freaked out yesterday because I saw the headlines about the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which went into effect yesterday: if a national of one of the countries in the Visa Waiver Program (Germany included) vists the USA, the I-94 form has been replaced by having to enter your data online at least three days before your date of entry. By the time I read the article Nikolai had less than 24 hours before his bald head would be stepping out of the plane at Hartsfield-Jackson International. I texted him and tried to call him and sent him a facebook message about the issue, imploring him to at lesat try by entering his data. He managed to do so, and somewhat unsurprisingly, this morning at customs the customs man told him that almost every traveler was blindsided by the requirements and so since no one had their data they were just letting people through like normal. I was relieved to hear his voice on the phone when he said he was on MARTA on his way up to Midtown station just before 0800. We enjoyed a good Southern breakfast at West Egg, and then he wanted to see the World of Coke, so we parked at GT and we walked through Centennial Olympic Park and went there. It was sort of interesting, but not nearly on the level of the Georgia Aquarium, and unsurprisingly we drank too many soft drinks. He also had a hankering for a really good burger so we went back to my place and walked to the old standby, the Highlander, where he also had a Sweetwater 420 and said the burger was “the best he had had in ten years” – it having been a decade since his last presence in the US. We walked through Piedmont for a bit and then I took him back to the station. It was great to see him again.

Now I’m off to bed before another hard Wednesday.