Today I write to you about the base of the Fifth Metatarsal. No, unfortunately not an exotic European mountain range, but the location of a broken bone in my foot! A week before Christmas, while taking out the trash, I slipped on a dumpster lid that was left on the ground in the dark, back hallway, of my dorm. At first I thought (and hoped…) it was just a really bad sprain. Unfortunately an X-ray the next day confirmed there was a break. I suffered a Jones fracture – a break at the base of the fifth metatarsal. I’ve been in a cast for almost two months now. The first two weeks when I was on crutches and instructed to keep weight off the foot were the worst, especially since I live on the second floor. Now I can limp around, and luckily my dorm is very close to restaurants and grocery stores. The biggest concern is that 25 percent of Jones fractures require surgery. I’m going back to the doctor in a week and am hopeful the break will show signs of healing. Below is a picture of me drying the cast with a hairdryer after it got wet.
More exciting and fun news involves meeting former Mitchell Scholars. I had a wonderful chat with Kathleen Claussen ’07 when she visited Belfast in the fall. It was great to hear about her time studying at Queen’s and learning about her experience at Yale Law. She is now serving as an Assistant Legal Counsel to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. I also met Erin Breeze ’01 – one of the first Mitchell Scholars. Erin is the executive director of Seeking Common Ground and was in town to explore developing a class in collaboration with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. The graduate level class would provide an opportunity to explore and critically analyze social work responses to Northern Ireland issues. She invited fellow scholars Anise Vance, Bree Hocking (Mitchell class of ’09 and current Queen’s PhD student), Derick Stace-Naughton, Ivanley Noisette, and me to dinner in Belfast at Made in Belfast. The food was incredible! Erin was hoping to introduce us to her favorite Irish dessert, banoffee, but unfortunately the restaurant did not have it. Luckily I found it a few days later at the superb little restaurant Cafe Renoir less than a block from my dorm. I now visit Cafe Renoir regularly and enjoy their fabulous hot chocolate and amazing pizzas. I also frequent Maggie May’s and have had just about everything on the menu at this point. I just tried the chicken curry the other day and it is my new favorite dish.
I also attended a Thanksgiving reception at the Northern Ireland Assembly with Bree and Derick. At the event we met Kevin S. Roland, the U.S. Consul General for Belfast.
Currently I’m preparing for winter semester classes. I greatly enjoyed my classes last semester and am excited about winter classes starting. I’m most looking forward to Governing the Public Sector in a Globalised Context. The class covers modernization of the public sector, e-government, and government 2.0. In my spare time I’ve also returned to taking some computer science classes–online. Last semester I took Stanford’s online machine learning class. The class was phenomenal and I learned a significant amount. I had wanted to take the class while at Stanford but I didn’t have time. I’m currently going through the lectures and assignments for Stanford’s iPhone Application Development class and am thinking about developing an iPhone application soon. The potential benefit from the online education revolution is nothing short of monumental.
As I have continued to settle in Belfast, one thing I keep noticing is the different pace of life here. Things do seem to be a bit slower than in Washington, D.C –for instance, how many services that are 24/7 in the US are not so over here. I recently had to ship a package via FedEx. I called FedEx’s US number to schedule the pickup and they directed me to the UK number, but the operator let me know they are not open 24/7 in the UK. Businesses definitely operate differently here!