Sunday, August 17, 2008

I am on VACATION

So I set my alarm for 3:53 am this morning to get up in enough time to load the BBC page to watch Phelps. I jumped up out of bed and stepped down onto the floor and a curious squelching sound accompanied by a wet feeling between a few toes. I leaped back on the bed, sticking my foot out as if I had stepped in dog poo, which was highly unlikely since I was in my bedroom, and then peeked over the side. Being 4 am, I couldn't see anything of course, so I took a large step over the offending area of the rug and turned on my computer. Keeping a wide berth I squatted down and aimed the computer screen light towards the rug.
It revealed an almost decapitated slug.
EW EW EW.
This was only the 2nd most disgusting thing I have stepped on with my bare feet. It is a very distant second to stepping on a dozen cockroaches at 2 am in short lived apartment situation in Boston.
After putting the slug out of its misery (that's the last time I leave the unscreened window open at night) and set up my computer for the final race! I'm surprised I didn't wake up the rest of the house yelling "GO GO GO Phelps! GO JASON! GO!" Jason Lezak kicked some major butt again as he did during the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. It was a clutch performance once again.

As the title of this post says, I am officially on vacation. I am kicking back relaxing, maxin all cool. I actually met this British girl Friday night who could sing the entire Fresh Prince rap...
Anyways I will be going into London Friday and likely staying there before catching my flight on Saturday afternoon. I'm having a lovely visit and a relaxing time here, but it is about time to kick my brain back into gear and start classes. I am very excited to see my friends again, most of whom I barely saw this summer due to travel, both fun (family reunion on the beach, being in the UK) and otherwise (funeral, their work).

These Chinese guys are eating very yummy smelling food which is making me hungry. I think I'll go cook dinner now. I bought some ostrich sausage from the farmers market that should be quite tasty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Last week of the internship

I'm coasting into the last week of my internship. I never had a hope of receiving an offer and never really had an intention of pursuing an internship where I could get an offer this summer so... that's what happened. It has been a very good learning experience. It started off a bit slowly, but picked up the pace significantly with lots of projects that made me stretch my understanding of microfinance. I have worked on a business plan, with an excel add-on for MFIs, written desk reports and done quite a bit of cold calling to the Canadian aid agency in Quebec! I think I had a valuable experience this summer although I am no longer sure I want to pursue microfinance as a career!
During my lunch with the top 2 people in our Career Management office (I am the student government VP Career Management) we came up with the focuses for fall workshops. I definitely fit into the "I had a good summer but I'm not sure it's what I want to do? What the heck do I do now?" I've been there before though - thus business school - and I know it will all work out in the end, but it will be a bit of a nerve wracking fall!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Go Team USA!

I LOVE the Olympics. Four years ago I was a new resident of Boston and spent every evening and weekend during the two weeks ordering take-out and glued to the TV screen. With a friend, which made it slightly less anti-social. I've already checked out the online streaming coverage on both NBC and the BBC so I can watch Team USA ALL THE TIME! I love that I'm working remotely right now. I'll be watching the opening ceremonies from the Middle Common Room (post grad lounge, complete with leather chairs) at the bf's college tomorrow afternoon.
In my obsessive Olympics coverage stalking I've come across some good stuff from the Washington Post. And some completely silly things as well. Here's a rundown of my favorite Olympic coverage so far:
The Hall of Supreme Harmony Watch this all the way through for an excellent visual on what one staff member thinks of individual rights in China.
Chinese Architecture Did the Olympics really change anything? It's a common theme.
Blinded by the firewall What Chinese THINK the world thinks about Chinese.
Guess these abs Love it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Things I don't like about England besides the rain

My dress size is 4 numbers larger, and my shoe size (already tiny) is two sizes smaller. Way to make a woman feel good about herself Britain. THANKS.
The exchange rate.
OK, my title is misleading, I'm going to mention the horrible weather again. It just stinks!
Well, that's about it. Not a bad list. I think I'll live.

England. Rain.

How freaking miserable is it outside? Fairly. Rain, cold, and all I have are open toed sandles, heels and my comfortable yet horribly unattractive running shoes. I have been hiding indoors all day hoping that it clears up at some point so I can go for a run along the River Cam. I like to run in the afternoon and evening, which you can do here because unlike DC it's not 90+ degrees from 12-7 pm.
Other subtle differences- I notice that patrons of my new home (Starbucks, Borders, Market Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom) tend towards the most fattening, heavy items on the menu. The number of people I see walking by with whipped cream laden drinks is astounding. That and chocolate muffins, weird gourmet breads and other "lovely" treats as they say here. Of course, I'm not one to judge as I enjoyed a few pints at the local pub last night.
Work is going well. I created a heat map showing the competitive landscape of MFIs in India using a cool tool on MIXMarket.org and am honing in on a market size for microfinance in Delhi. I also worked with the other intern in the public sector group to develop a briefing sheet for Congress- it's lobbying time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Taking matters into my own hands

So at the beginning of the summer I had to work remotely to deal with a family issue. My boyfriend wisely pointed out that since working remotely then had gone relatively smoothly, why could I not accompany him back to England for the end of my internship?
So here I am!
I've found a comfortable home at the local Borders/ Starbucks (thank you American capitalist imperialism) where I pay $3 for an iced tea and enjoy a very comfortable chair. I am doing pretty well keeping up with work and hope to complete most of my Kaplan background work before school starts as well. It's slow going through all the lessons for the first time but if I get all this background work done now it should make the first two weeks of school a lot easier!
I also took matters into my own hands on several other issues relating to work. Back in June I asked one of the intern coordinators about starting a lunch series. Apparently one was in the works but stalled. I volunteered to help and was shortly handed the entire enterprise to plan and run. Taking something over does have the distinct benefit of being able to schedule things in a manner most beneficial to yourself. Thus, before I departed the U.S. we had a session with the CFO on microfinance careers and the industry's shift, a talk on commercialization by the deputy director, and a talk on transformation by a senior member of the legal team. Each session was a fantastic learning experience and got my valuable face time with the senior leadership. And I of course remembered to pop thank you notes in their mailboxes before I departed the continent!
The bf's house sort of smells like it is a colony for many types of mold, but despite that feature of this ancient British dwelling, I'm here with him, still managing to work and therefore happy.