Lydia Dennett is POGO’s winter intern. She has been working closely with National Security Fellow Ben Freeman on issues related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, spending many long days at the Department of Justice in a locked room, poring over mounds of documents. Lydia is originally from Portland, Maine, and she graduated from Hartwick College in 2011. The Watercooler talked with her recently about the streets of Portland, European history, and fish from the Nile River.
LD: It’s a very hip city. It’s really small. But they have a huge art culture and music scene. In the old port it’s all cobblestone streets right on the waterfront with bars and places to go see music and a million art galleries—one on every street—local businesses, and a farmers’ market. It’s great. I love it.
Watercooler: What do you do when are not at POGO?
LD: When I’m not at POGO, I’m typically at home. I’m staying with my aunt and uncle for free, so the deal is that I help out around the house. I have my friends from college down here, which is great. I try to do at least one cultural thing each weekend, like go to a museum or concert. Then I go out at night to Adams Morgan or wherever.
Watercooler: What did you study in college?
LD: I majored in English literature and European history. What I liked most about it…In English it was great because I got the chance to take a lot of different classes. Like westerns in fiction and film, which was a great class. We got to read great books like Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. What I liked most about my history major was that my school gave you the chance to choose one area in the world. I was absolutely fascinated by European history.
Watercooler: What is your favorite place that you have traveled to?
LD: I’ve done a lot of traveling. My absolute favorite place was Egypt. As a bit of a history nerd, it was great to be able to go there with one of my history professors who loves the country and the history. There is nothing better than being able to crawl into one of the pyramids. I’ve also been to Cuba—that was great. Greece—that was great. I got to go to Cuba because my sister married a Cuban and the wedding was in Cuba.
Watercooler: What was the worst or weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
LD: When I was in Egypt we went to a really cute little restaurant on the Nile in Aswan. Since we were part of a group, they just served you without you ordering. We got this fish soup that had some weird fish in it that they caught in the Nile, which is sketchy at best. It was gritty and sandy. It was absolutely inedible. No one ate it.
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