As I approach the end of my first week here in the US, I can’t work out how long it feels since I arrived. In one sense, time is flying by as I knew it would. At the same time, I feel like I have been in Chicago forever… like I belong here! I have barely had 30 minutes to myself since I arrived, so I am grabbing every free minute I can to put my second blog entry together!
The first couple of days at the Consulate were filled with meetings, getting to know the other staff and generally settling in. As I sat at my desk on the 22nd floor overlooking the Magnificent Mile I definitely had to pinch myself a few times! The office is fantastic, greeted by British flags and a portrait of the queen, incredible views right across Chicago and the friendliest staff- could not be better!
In terms of work, I was thrown right in the midst of the diplomatic duties from day one. The highlights of the week include lunch with the Australian and Canadian Consul Generals following a meeting at the Australian Consulate, attending an evening celebration for Swiss national day and, naturally, representing Team GB at the beach soccer tournament! I have also been lucky enough to spend an evening at ‘The Residence’, which is where the British Consul-General to Chicago lives. It doubles up as the venue where we host important visitors and events, and this week we hosted a discussion with members of the German Marshall Fund. It was both exciting and inspiring to spend the evening with such respected Chicagoans and it was a brilliant networking opportunity for me.
I have also been given a great deal of individual responsibilities which have made my first week all the more special, I feel like I am really contributing already! Tasks have included writing the brief for our upcoming Kentucky trip, researching the importance of the swing states in the US presidential race for my first official report and writing the Deputy Consul’s speech for our trip to Indiana. Talk about exciting!
Hours have been long, with jam-packed days alongside evening events. Everyone I have met has been so interesting and engaging that I do not mind at all! After all, I came here to gain insight into the workings of being a British Diplomat and I absolutely love what I see! However, it has certainly not been all work and no play. The weather is fantastic and Lake Michigan is surrounded by astoundingly beautiful beaches. Lunch times have been spent soaking up the sun in some of the most amazing little restaurants along the river, watching the boats drive past and socialising with my colleagues.
I have quite a few exciting trips and visits coming up, which I will update you on next week! Until then, I hope everyone in the UK is enjoying the phenomenal Team GB performances at the Olympics! We are practically bursting with British pride over here! Here’s to another week of GB domination!