Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy 2009 everyone!

Happy 2009! It's my hope that 2009 is an improvement on 2008... for me and for the world. Hopefully you, too, have a lot to look forward to this year. I know I do. The very first thing will be Pat and Jenn's baby... he's due any day! Keep her in your prayers... I can't wait to hold the little guy!

The best part of 2008 - the election of Barack Obama as our next president - is coming to completion this week with the inauguration. My friends in DC are freaking out - from excitement, and from the fact that they won't be able to get to work, or anywhere for that matter. All the roads within a mile or so of downtown are being shutdown, as well as all the bridges to Virginia. Depending on weather, anywhere from 1.5 - 3 million people are expected. It's going to be the biggest gathering of people in the history of the city - and that city has some history.

I spent the day today watching the historic train ride from Philadelphia to DC on CNN... while putting together some new furniture in my apt. I'm so thankful to be a witness to this moment in American history. To see the millions of people across the country, from so many backgrounds, all inspired by the hope symbolized by this one man - hope not in him as a person, but hope that through our combined efforts, the America of 2009 might be better than the America of the past... that we can come together and make the world a better place.

New Years also marked a job change for me at the IRI - I'm now working more broadly and directly with field partners to implement drought insurance - and already feel like I'm more a part of the team. This week I had 3 phone conferences, and probably a half dozen meetings at work. Last year, it would have been just me and my excel spreadsheets. I'm also working on several different projects, rather that just the Millennium Villages Project. Right now, my main project is an Oxfam project in Ethiopia (that was recently featured in Newsweek), but we just got word this week that we'll start working soon on an additional project, with CARE International in Indonesia. Naturally, I'm really excited.

Someone who's already made 2009 a great year for 155 people and their families is the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, Chesley Sullenberger. Not only did he make an unprecedented water landing in the middle of my city, but before he left the sinking aircraft, he walked the aisles twice to make sure everyone was off. What a man.

So, I just had to go down and see this plane he glided to safety in the middle of the freezing Hudson River. The local news (channel 9) caught me in the act, and you can see the result below.

Here's to a happy 2009.