This weekend was very memorable for me and my family. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in town for her first visit to the Republic of Korea on Saturday. It was the second-to-last stop on her South and East Asia diplomatic tour. On Saturday evening my family and I went to a meet and greet for the Secretary. We welcomed her to Korea and joined her for a short photo op. I didn’t get to meet or shake hands with her, but I saw her and managed to take a photo of her with my wife and son. My wife was thrilled to have a photo with Secretary Rice. My wife missed her opportunity to meet Henry Kissinger a couple weeks ago, so I did not mind giving her a chance to meet the Secretary. Secretary Rice will be back in town with President Bush later this year for the upcoming APEC Conference, so I will likely see her again.
I spent Saturday night and early Sunday morning managing the Press Filing Center at the hotel where Secretary Rice stayed. The Center is where the media traveling with the Secretary published their stories about the Secretary’s trip to Korea. I enjoyed meeting some members of the press and reading what they wrote online and in the papers the next morning. It gave me insight into how the media covers the news while traveling with prominent officials. I ensured that the members of traveling media were able to write and file their news stories without hindrances such as technical glitches. I also assisted with gathering morning press clippings for the Secretary and bringing them to her in the morning. I went home around 7 a.m. after staying up the entire night at the Center. I missed the big webcast with Secretary Rice the following morning. The webcast event, hosted by Daum, Korea’s largest Internet company, was the first time a top U.S. offiicial held direct discussions with foreign journalists via the Internet. I hear it was a success. As I managed the Press Filing Center I had a long discussion with a Korean employee working in public affairs. With little to do in the wee hours of the night, we had a chance to talk about all things Korean and American, from the recent Dokto controversy to differences between Korean and American cultures.
After I returned home I slept for most of the day. I finally woke up around 3 p.m. I didn’t do much else last weekend, but the Secretary’s visit definitely made the weekend eventful.