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The prompt for this blog post is pretty vague: something that surprised you. Many things come to mind and I see no reason to limit myself to just one event. The past week has been quite eventful. I’ve learned more about my DukeEngage peers, the people I work with, and the city I am living in. So, rather than a conventional blog post, enjoy this bulleted list of my week’s highlights.

I was surprised when:

  • I ran into another group of Duke students at a local hostel. What are the odds of that? If it hadn’t been for one of them sporting a Duke hoodie, I probably wouldn’t have made the connection. We chatted for about thirty minutes before relocating to a nearby club.
  • Almost every factory we have visited is run by a white management team and predominantly black workers. It feels uncomfortable at times to sit in on these meetings in which the color of one’s skin is indicative of the color of their collar.
  • Two of my fellow group members went on a daylong hike with me. They took some convincing, and probably weren’t my biggest fans when I woke them up at 6:30am, but I’m happy I had the opportunity to share the spectacular views and laborious climbs with them.
  • I woke up this morning despite forgetting to set an alarm last night. I’m a notorious late sleeper, but the daily routine I’ve become accustomed to has given me some degree of a mental alarm clock.
  • Factory workers expressed complete and total disinterest in a meeting with a union organizer. Unlike other factory visits we had been on up to that point, in which the workers were very engaged and dedicated to addressing the issues they had in the workplace, these workers seemed to be indifferent. The organizer told us that this is the norm at that company, perhaps due to fear of the management.
  • I got my hair lined up. My haircutter was great, and I enjoyed hearing his take on Elon Musk and the SEC. Right around the end, or so I thought, he asked if I would like ‘the line’. In accordance with my ‘yes man’ mentality, I told him to go for it without knowing what he meant. The result isn’t horrible, but I won’t be asking for ‘the line’ again (Google ‘line up haircut’ for reference).
  • My boss gave me another flash drive of audio files. Transcribing audio to text is taking a toll on me, but I’m looking forward to the upcoming project I will be working on (details to come later).
  • I realized that I forgot to write this post last night.