For an island girl who’s used to heat and humidity, imagine my relief when ICMA assigned me in the sunny state of Florida, in particular, the City of Tallahassee, its capital city. Coming from the cold, damp weather of Washington, DC, getting off the plane to a crisp 28ºC/82ºF spring day was such a welcome relief. Mind you, the temperature back home has reached a searing 36ºC in the peak of dry season (also known to us as “summer”) so the Washington weather has also been a respite.
I was greeted at the airport by my host and Tallhassee City Community Engagement Ambassador from the Office of Communications Eddie Kring and Jeremy and Anthony, public administration students from the Florida State University. Yes, they carried that sign above and immediately, I know that I am being welcomed in the famed southern hospitality.
A welcome reception for me was held last Monday and already I have felt that this is going to be an awesome experience. Everyone that I have met so far would take time to stop for a greeting and ask how I am doing. I like the fact that there’s mutual understanding and respect in knowing that they will learn as much from me as I from them.
I have also gushed at how my itinerary has been laid out for me and ensures that I meet the right people and visit the right organization where I will be exposed to to maximize my learnings.
A pro-tip to incoming professional fellows – coordinate with your host properly. Schedule Skype meetings before your trip and make sure that you level off your expectations. Do not hesitate to ask questions and also inform them of what you want to do, where you want to go, and who you’d like to meet – within the bounds of your case study or community challenge and ICMA rules of course. Do not hesitate to ask or make reasonable requests because your host may have the resources.
My first week is off to a great start and will be blogging more of my activities. But happy to say that the City, County and State have been more than warm and welcoming, literally and figuratively.