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Day 44

So happy for Friday, but I started the day with some not so great news. Nothing Earth-shatteringly horrible, but not awesome either. I had emailed the VLS alum at NOAA that I had been in touch with (who basically offered me an internship within the first 5 minutes of speaking to him) to get his opinion on which class I should take, between two that I couldn’t decide on. Well, he gave me some good advice about the class, and some not so good (for me) news that he is leaving NOAA General Counsel next week. Hmmm yes. I’m not worried about finding something else (even possibly at NOAA) in Florida or in St. Pete/Tampa, but I am bummed because this guy was highly recommended by my career services person, and he just sounded like a really knowledgeable and helpful person. Oh well, he gave me his personal email address so I will definitely be keeping in touch with him. Even just the 30 minute phone conversation we had in April was one of the most helpful things, so even if nothing else comes from it, at least I got a lot out of that.

I headed to work early again, I’m kind of preferring getting there around 9 (instead of 930) and then leaving around 530. Still a long day, but something about it makes it more manageable/bearable. I had been nervous about the big research project I’m working on, thinking that I won’t be able to make it as long as my boss wants, but I finally (really) started writing it today, and now I’m not so worried. I can’t find as much stuff about the laws in the EU, but even just writing a little about the US and Chinese laws, I’m already onto the fifth page, so hopefully it’ll turn out ok.

While at work today, one of the people there kept coming around with this weird little machine. After a few times through, I realized it was an air quality detector thing. This guy is always running around, making sure all the air purifiers are on and working, and that some idiot hasn’t opened the windows while the air purifier and the AC are both chugging away. He was saying that the room I am in has the best air quality in the office: coming in at a reading of 200 (FYI, 200 is the cut off line, according to the EPA, between “unhealthy” and “very unhealthy”). He said the hallway outside the office was reading at over 600, because people tend to smoke out there. At that point in the day, it was over 300 outside. Certainly explains why I can’t seem to shake this nasty cough. Right before I left, he stopped by again and our readings were the same, and outside it was edging close to 500. Awwwwesome. I headed to the gym anyway, most everyone else in the office grabbed masks before they left, but honestly I don’t think they really do much at that point. I’ll just take my chances and hope that spending three months here doesn’t infinitely increase my chances of lung cancer (among many, many other health issues I’m probably facing from breathing in this junk). Below is a picture of what it looked like outside. I don’t really have a good shot of the same area during a clearer day, but behind that last tree in the distance (right in the middle of the picture), there are several huge, tall buildings, and a giant, busy traffic circle, neither of which you can see here but you should be able to.

Beijing at 5:30 pm, with an air quality index reading of 455 (according the EPA, anything over 300 is considered "hazardous" and results in "health warnings of emergency conditions."

Beijing at 5:30 pm, with an air quality index reading of 455 (according the EPA, anything over 300 is considered “hazardous” and results in “health warnings of emergency conditions”).

After the gym, I started walking home, and got rained on a little bit. Nothing major, just enough to get coated in acid rain that will probably peel off a layer or two of my skin.. at least when I’m soaking wet from the rain, no one can tell how sweaty I am from walking. :) Now I’m back at the apartment, alone, eating some dinner and waiting on my laundry to finish. Definitely excited for the weekend, ready to sleep in. I’m starting to notice I get weird muscle cramps and twitched in my shoulders, once again again this sitting-at-a-desk-all-day, hunched-over-a-computer-thing is not for me.

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