'Aint Nothing Like a Dorm Fire to Shake Things Up

I'm currently blogging from the comfort of my temporary residence in Mellon Hall -- a building usually reserved for HBS Executive Education participants. The good news? I have my own bathroom for the next week! The bad news? I'm here because yesterday McCulloch Hall (my dorm) caught on fire.

Yes, folks, Mother Nature was mad at us for some reason and thought that the week before finals was a fine time to call upon her flickering friend to stir up some adventure.

It all started yesterday around 2pm. I was getting ready to leave my room for a doctor's appointment when the fire alarm went off for about 5 seconds and then stopped. A few seconds later, it went off for another 5 seconds and then stopped again. After this happened a third time, a bunch of the girls on my floor convened in our common area to see what was going on. We all assumed it was probably either a false alarm or another case of burnt popcorn, so we weren't freaking out. A few of the girls decided to just stay in their rooms! Since I was on my way out anyway, I locked my door and headed outside only to see smoke BILLOWING out of the roof of the dorm on the opposite wing. This was no case of popcorn!

After a swift call to reschedule my doctor's appointment, I headed to the lawn to watch the action unfold. Within minutes, five fire trucks, three police cars and a plethora of ambulances had surrounded the dorm. The firefighters pulled out one of those crazy long ladders that you only ever see them using in the movies and started hacking away at the roof of the building (with what appeared to be axes) unraveling the water hoses and checking to make sure everyone had left the building. Shortly thereafter, the police had roped off the area...and I was yelling at myself for not having grabbed my laptop, passport or a variety of other important items that I left in my room.

From there, the details become fuzzy. All 85 residents were shuffled off to a neighboring dorm common area for "more information" and several hours later we were informed that the building was not habitable for the evening and we'd be given temporary housing until they had figured things out. Several rooms on the east wing (I live in the west wing) were completely destroyed. Most were largely unaffected but were still being examined for smoke, water and/or fire damage. The Environmental Healthy & Safety team had been called out to test the air for toxic fumes. While we'd be able to grab a few necessities from our rooms, all electricity had been turned off in the building, and wouldn't be able to be restored immediately.

Today the update was that we're all going to be displaced at least until the middle of next week, and depending on the pace of the construction work, it could be longer. Many of the residents of the east wing are being displaced for the entire remainder of the semester. Thankfully, no one was hurt, except for one firefighter who suffered some shoulder injuries.

All in all, I give kudos to HBS for handling the situation swiftly, without drama and as compassionately as possible. In addition to all of the McCulloch residents being given a room to stay in, we were given American Red Cross emergency kits with basic toiletries, towels/sheets, meal vouchers and loaner laptops (for those that needed them). I'm SO thankful that my room was only minimally affected, but now my sympathies go out to my colleagues who will have to deal with the loss of a greater proportion of their personal belongings.

The worst for me was the $75 in groceries that I had delivered the night before the fire. Most of that had to be thrown out today since we don't have mini-fridges in Mellon and the electric will be off in the building until further notice.

That's the news for now, folks. Hopefully it'll be a calm weekend in light of all the excitement!

EKTA 2009

This entry is a bit overdue, but I couldn't skip blogging about the EKTA 2009 show that I am so proud to have been a part of!!

EKTA is the annual cultural showcase put on by the HBS South Asian Business Association (aka SABA) featuring a mix of Asian dances, skits, musical performances and a fashion show. Last year I was blown away as I watched from the audience's perspective: all of the numbers were so high energy and the movements were beautiful, not to mention the fun Indian rhythms. As soon as I found out that people of non-south Asian descent were welcome to participate I said sign me up! And thus, I became a member of the awesome EC BHANGRA 2009 team!

Our group of 20+ students and partners rehearsed for about a month prior to the show and put on a rocking 10 minute number featuring a mix of four Indian tunes. We competed against a group of 20 RCs who also did a bhangra number and we won according to audience applause! Doing the actual dance was SUCH an adrenaline rush. The crowd was on their feet, the music was loud and they energy in the room was ridiculous! Even aside from the dancing, it was an awesome experience to "try on" a different culture. As you can see from the photos, I got to dress up in a traditional Indian costume, complete with a bindi (the dot in the middle of the eyes)! Best of all was the appreciation I got from countless people who thanked me for adding some "color" (or, should I say lack of color with my pale skin) to the show. Case in point:

Hahaha, this text made me laugh when I first received it, and it still makes me chuckle now. I hope that I inspired other white girls to get out there and show what they've got!

In addition to the bhangra, the show featured two Bollywood numbers, including a tribute to actress Madhuri Dixit, two types of classical dance called Dheem and Bharatanatyam, an Indo-Western Fusion number, a poetry reading, a musical performance, and as I mentioned, a fashion show. And in keeping with tradition, the show sold out all 600+ seats in the massive Burden Auditorium.

Right now, there isn't a video record of our actual performance (shame on us in this high-tech world!), but some RC posted a video of our first dress rehearsal that you can view here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlAgtzRf-Nk. Keep in mind that this does little justice to our actual performance. People aren't fully in costume, are still unsure of the steps AND we didn't perform any of the awesome stunts that got people on their feet during the actual performance. However, it should give you a tiny glimpse into the magic that is EKTA!

2009 Marketing & CPG Conference: Breaking Through the Clutter

For those of you who didn't know, I am a Co-Vice President of Marketing/Social for the HBS Marketing & CPG Club, and this year, I got to spearhead the collateral creation and design process for the club's annual conference. Our theme: the ever relevant idea of "breaking through the clutter." The date: November 8, 2009. The result: success!

The day began with a keynote address by Russ Klein, the president of global marketing, strategy and innovation for Burger King. I have to admit, I wasn't initially thrilled at the prospect of hearing Russ speak. The only marketing campaign that came to mind when I thought of Burger King was the "burger King" with his cheesy grin and plastic face (not one of my favorite marketing tactics, I must admit). But Russ was surprisingly compelling and he outlined some BK initiatives that I actually thought were quite creative. For example, he told us about how BK changed around the Kid's Meal to make it more healthy by cutting apple slices into the shape of french fries and serving them in a french fry container. That's a pretty original way to make eating healthier fun for kids. He also highlighted the "Whopper Freakout" campaign, which was pretty funny (it involved BK declaring that the Whopper was discontinued in one town and taping people's insane reactions), although it definitely highlighted the less-than-classy clientele that tend to support this type of establishment. Russ also threw out a few "gems of wisdom" that he says BK staff live by:

  • Sometimes it's more important to be provocative than pleasant (nothing tugs like tension).
  • Speed matters: fail fast, succeed fast.
  • Turning your brand over to the consumer is taking control.
  • Formulas are for scientists: shedding your skin frequently can be rejuvenating

Interestingly enough, Russ stepped down from his position at Burger King today: http://adage.com/article?article_id=140426.

In the afternoon, the conference featured four panels, of which I attended Innovation in the Lifecycle of a Brand and Reaching Consumers Through New Channels (the other offerings were Power of International Marketing and Connecting Meaningfully with Different Consumer Segments). Breaking up the panels was a networking lunch, in which I got to sit with our second keynote speaker, Porter Gale, who is the vice president of marketing for Virgin America airlines.

Porter was a very interesting woman to sit down with -- she really knows how to sell the Virgin America brand. It was especially enlightening for me, as I'm currently a loyal JetBlue customer, and VA considers JB to be one of their biggest competitors. I promised Porter that I would give Virgin a try, since they're launching Ft Lauderdale Intl Airport next week, but as long as they continue charging for checked bags and snacks (JetBlue gives first checked bag free and unlimited free snacks and beverages), I'm not sure my loyalty will be switching.

Some highlights from Porter's talk:

  • Those who are brave may not live that long, but those who are timid don't live at all.
  • Connect, don't market.
  • Think like a marketer. Act like a CFO.
  • Look for avenues to get the word out that don't cost money. Virgin America benefitted highly from generating PR buzz, participating in reality shows and leveraging social networks. Their marketing budget is a measly $12mm in comparison to Southwest's $200mm, but that doesn't mean you can't get good coverage.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot at the conference. Now it's on to planning for the spring HBS Entertainment & Media Club conference. I never stop! Stay tuned for another blog post this weekend as I'll be posting tons of photos from the EKTA show that I'm participating in!

Time Flies

There are only 24 days of class left in the fall semester. That's less than 5 weeks. How did this semester go by so quickly?

I know it's been a while since I've written a full entry. I'm lacking inspiration right now! Stay tuned, though, because I'll definitely be blogging after the 2009 Marketing & CPG Conference that takes place on campus next Sunday (I helped with the marketing/goody bag orders!). And then the week after that, I'll be sure to blog about the South Asian Business Association's EKTA show, in which I'm dancing the bhangra! Lots to come soon!

How would you brand Harvard Business School?

This was the question we were posed last week in my Consumer Marketing class, and what a challenging assignment it turned out to be! In addition to designing a "tagline" or slogan that would completely sum up the special qualitites of our program, we had to develop an elevator pitch that would explain why our tagline was the perfect fit. I practically tore my hair out until I came up with something I liked, but in the end I'm pretty proud of the result. Turns out it's WAY more difficult to brand something than you would think, especially when you are close to the product/service. Read my paper below and post your comments: How well do you think my brand identity fits the school?

what managers do in real life

Consumer Marketing Reflection Paper #6

2. Tell me about the branding phrase you came up with for the branding exercise assignment. You may not have had an opportunity to share your phrase with the rest of the class; this is your opportunity to explain to me in more detail why you think your phrase captures the HBS brand essence.

The branding phrase that I came up with for HBS was “What Managers Do in Real Life.” It’s a very simple idea, but I think it encapsulates the special nature of our school and stands apart enough to avoid a copy-cat attempt from a competing institution.

Before I jump to explaining and defending my slogan, I need to give credit to Professor Jan Hammond who was my inspiration. You see, I was having an incredibly hard time with this assignment and had tried “wordsmithing” to no avail. Sure, the words transformative, discovery, growth, home, and teamwork all describe the HBS experience, but much to my disappointment, nothing quite fit when I tried to form an expression.

I felt that I needed to step outside of myself for a moment and glean insight from how others see HBS, so I spent some time talking to a friend who is a prospective student, and then surfed the internet and read a few articles about the program. Finally, I clicked over to the HBS homepage to watch (for the hundredth time) the short videos the school uses for promotional purposes.

In one of the last videos, entitled “Inside the HBS Case Method,” Jan addresses the efficacy of the teaching style and says, “To me the reason this method is so effective is that it really mirrors what managers do in real life.” I knew at that moment that I had found the perfect phrase for the assignment, but it wasn’t until I gave it deeper thought that I realized just how well it summarized the 360 degrees of the Harvard Business School experience.

Firstly, let’s take the lifeblood of the program: the case method. As Jan so eloquently mentioned, this teaching technique forces students to become managers from day one and make the choices executives make in even the most difficult of business conundrums. And there’s little tolerance for the wishy-washy. In the working world, managers are often challenged to think “on the spot,” and HBS is one of the few institutions that prepares students for dealing with the simultaneous adrenaline rush and sheer horror of making a high-impact choice without time for reflection.

But the idea of doing “what managers do in real life” extends beyond the case method. As students, we must manage small-group dynamics in our learning teams, and quickly understand how to work effectively with 5-6 people that are vastly different from you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we must learn to manage large-group dynamics in our sections and rapidly recognize each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and “hot buttons.” We do what managers do in real life when we take on a leadership role in a student club. We manage our career trajectories through networked job searches. We even manage our daily calendars to ensure a reasonable balance between education and social activities.

Thinking beyond the MBA experience, this phrase also fits within the executive education program as we see high-level managers flocking back to the school to enhance their business acumen. Moving to the faculty, HBS is one of the few institutions that forces professors to take an entire semester off each school year to research and write cases that, again, aim to highlight exactly what managers do in real life. Whether it’s understanding the purpose of the entrepreneurship initiative, summarizing the role of the alumni network or explaining why so many case protagonists relish attending class to share their experiences, you can see that the institution is grounded in the day to day experience of the manager.

At other schools, you hear, see and learn, but an HBS education transforms. And that, my friend, is something that will stick with you long after traditional book knowledge has faded into oblivion.

Peru Immersion Experience

Hello faithful readers! It has been a crazy couple of weeks here at HBS, hence the reason I've been slacking on the blogging. This week, EC company presentations began so I've been bopping around to those (and their accompanying dessert receptions...can I say yum?), taking care of the duties that go along with being an officer in two clubs, managing school work and trying to have a bit of a social life now and then. But all complaining aside, I have some very exciting news to announce:

I am going to Peru for two weeks in January!

Background Info on my Peru Trip: HBS hosts a series of programs called IXPs, short for Immersion Experience Programs, and every winter term they offer student trips to a variety of countries where you are intended to both learn and have fun. The trips are lead by a member of the faculty and are designed around a specific subject matter. The educational component comes into play through company site visits, panels with executives, alumni events and usually some sort of capstone project. So in the end, it's less of a vacation and more of an educational opportunity, but they do include several cultural activities, some free time and gorgeous, picturesque accommodations. This year they offered IXPs in really exotic destinations: Rwanda, UAE/Bahrain, Vietnam, India, China and Peru. I went to the info sessions for each of the desintations and, in the end, fell in love with Peru, despite the fact that it's probably the least "out of the ordinary" among the countries.

The Peru trip is called "Escaping the Natural Resource Curse" and the business education side is focused on a combination of economics (i.e. building up an economy that has become entirely reliant on the benefits of abundant natural resources, and therefore suffers in most other industrial sectors) and ecotourism (which is totally my thing!). We're visiting some really interesting companies (Brescia, Inkaterra [a rainforest lodge...and we're staying there!], Inca group, Ingrid y Gaston [a 5-star restaurant that we'll also get to eat at!]), visiting the Caral-Supe archeological site, touring Machu Picchu, touring the Sacred Valley of the Incas, AND going ziplining through the Amazon rainforest (how amazingly amazing is that???)!

It's a 13-day trip, and get this, with nearly everything included, costs less than $2K.

Now if I could only figure out how I'm spending the other 4 weeks of winter break, I'd be set!

Hire Me!

Gabrielle Bill \ga-bree-el b-ill\ n : A creative blogger/HBS MBA candidate who is currently seeking an awesome job in marketing. Company must be highly innovative, company-culture oriented and well structured.

First Week in Review plus Add/Drop Results

Interestingly enough, my first week of EC classes turned out to be way more stressful, and also more surprising, than I imagined. Courses I thought I'd love, I hated, and courses I thought would be way outside of my comfort zone turned out to be neat fits.

Firstly, let me say that after just two sessions, I can proclaim that Consumer Marketing may just be the very best course I've ever had in my life and most definitely the best course at HBS. Youngme Moon is an amazing professor -- funny, down-to-earth, observational, extraordinarily intelligent and able to pull the most delightful lessons out of a case. I absolutely love the class.

Authentic Leadership Development is another course that I knew I'd fall in love with. One of my friends recommended the professor (Peter Olson, she had him for RC Strategy last semester) and although we only had one session this week, I immediately recognized a caring professor, an engaged class and a trusting environment to discuss difficult leadership challenges.

A surprise keeper was Managing Service Operations. This course I had added on a whim last semester -- it was literally the very last course that I had ranked on my Lottery sheet, and I had selected it at the last minute. In the end, it turned out to be a good gut instinct as the professor is energized, the cases are interesting and challenging, and the section had good conversational chemistry right from the start. So although I mentioned wanting to drop this one in an earlier entry, I decided to stick with it.

Commerce and Society did not meet my expectations for several reasons. Firstly, the professor, although a sweet man, was less than charismatic and lacked the commanding nature necessary to successfully lead a class. Secondly, the initial case discussion felt very flat -- I could sense an entire semester of arguments about whether or not businesses should engage in corporate social responsibility or not, and I find little learning in that. Most importantly though, through some self reflection I realized that after an entire summer working in the social enterprise arena, and after learning a lot about the industry and charitable giving through that experience, I would probably benefit more in the long run from a course on another topic.

Most disappointing, perhaps, was Building & Sustaining a Successful Enterprise, which I had with a less popular professor than celebrity teacher Clay Christensen. The first day's reading was incredibly dry -- a theory paper written by Christensen (I found it funny that Christensen referred to himself and the theories he discovered, in the third person nonetheless, in this paper) and a case on Level 5 Leadership. The second reading wasn't bad, but the first was very academic and esoteric...and sleep inducing. Then in class, the professor I had was very stale, showed little personality, and despite having served as a CEO for many years, didn't appear to know how to lead an engaging class. I was hoping this would be a wonderful course since it's so popular (and famous), but I left feeling a bit empty and wanting more.

To make a long story short, I began to scramble to find two interesting courses led by two exciting professors to take the place of what I did not enjoy and I was lucky enough to find and get into two such courses.

Replacing Commerce & Society is Managing Human Capital, a course led by the famed Professor Boris Groysberg, and loosely related to human resources, performance management, and managing one's own career trajectory. I sat in on his class on Wednesday, and not only enjoyed his teaching style, but the syllabus of cases for the semester, and the line-up of in-class protagonists and guest lecturers.

Replacing BSSE was a last-minute choice with Competing Through Business Models -- I made the Add/Drop request before sitting in on the class and just crossed my fingers that I'd be satisfied. Turns out, the professor is a bit of a "wild" one -- he bounced from one end of the room to the other, running up and down the steps, gesticulating like crazy and even getting down on his knees in a "ducking" position. I'm not sure exactly why he is so high energy, but it makes an 8:30 class eye-opening (literally). I also shouldn't fail to mention the interesting course material that focuses on the strategies businesses employ in their models to compete with one another and retaliate from attacks by industry intruders.

And thus my new and improved fall schedule is this:

X Days:
Managing Human Capital
Managing Service Operations

Y Days:
Competing Through Business Models
Consumer Marketing

T/W: Authentic Leadership Development

So happy!

(P-S: I also swapped out Leading Innovative Ventures in the Winter for Leading Teams. Perfection!)

EC Lesson #1

It is not advisable to drink two diet cokes and a delicious cup of white peony tea (even if it is marked low caffeine) between 6 and 8:30pm the night before your first day of EC classes. Do not be surprised if the combination of caffeine, anxiety and excitement keeps you up until 3am. The elements do not care that you have an alarm set for 7am or a "shopping" schedule that includes four back-to-back classes in the morning. In fact, the elements prefer that you get no sleep because it means they'll receive all that much more attention in the morning when you feel like a zombie (enjoying first cup of joe (of many, I'm sure) at the moment).

Here's to a fun day and a lesson learned!

Officially Back In Boston!

Ok, so technically I've been back in Boston for nearly 2 days, BUT today was the first day that I actually got up, put on real clothes and makeup, and crawled out of the cave that is my dorm room, so I feel like I'm justified in saying that I'm officially back in Beantown as of today. This morning's adventures involved picking up my course material for the first two weeks (exciting!), checking my mail after a whole summer (depressing loan statements) and saying hello to Harvard Square (where I had mundane errands to run). Thankfully what looked like it was going to be a cold, wet, gloomy day (as it was yesterday) has turned into warm blue skies with only the tiniest bit of nip in the air --- a signal that fall is on its way already.

For now, I'm off to Target and then Lauren and I are having a belated birthday dinner at Grotto (yay for extended Restaurant Week menus!). Classes officially begin next Wednesday, although we have a "Welcome" from the Dean on Tuesday and then Section reuinions afterward. I'll be sure to keep on top of my postings as things get going!

My Institutional Memory Video is Finally Up!

Last fall I participated in the HBS Institutional Memory project, that I believe was tied to the school's 100 year anniversary. Regardless, it was an opportunity to sit down in front of the camera and talk about my experience at HBS, which at that point had only been 6 weeks long, but already significant! I've been checking the site for months to see when the Class of 2010 videos would be posted and today I noticed that they were! So take a few minutes (or 7, that's how long my video runs) and check out what some real HBS students have to say about their experiences applying to and attending HBS!

EC Courses!

I have so much to blog about -- my reflections on my time in DC, my brief trip to Disney, what's in store for my life in the next few weeks/months, but right now I'm too excited about my EC Courses to think about much else! Course Selections (which were delivered via lottery) came out today and I'm SO thrilled to have received almost all of my top picks. There are a few classes that overlap a bit in coursework, so I may try to swap out one or two during add/drop, but overall, I'm totally satisfied.

Fall Schedule:

  • Consumer Marketing (My #1 pick)
  • Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (My #2 pick)
  • Authentic Leadership Development (My #3 pick)
  • Commerce & Society
  • Managing Service Operations
Winter Schedule:
  • Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries (My #1 pick)
  • Competing with Social Networks (My #2 pick)
  • Half-Course in Digital Marketing Strategy (My #3 pick)
  • Half-Course in Retailing (Also a #3 pick)
  • Managing Innovation
  • Leading Innovative Ventures (this is the one I'm most likely to swap out since it's so similar to Managing Innovation).

The Global Fund for Children

Hi folks! I'm blogging from my apartment in DC for the very last time. Tomorrow morning at 4:45a.m. I'll be hopping on a shuttle to the airport and flying out to Disney. And while I'm super excited to see all my old co-workers and go back to the parks after a whole year away, I'm definitely sad to be leaving DC and the friends I made here. Since my last day at GFC was yesterday, I got to thinking and realized that I never truly gave the organization it's due on my blog. And since yesterday was a particularly poignant day in my internship (I did my final presentation, said my goodbyes and hopefully left having made an impact), I wanted to devote today's entry to them. I'll blog more about my reflections on my DC summer in a later post.

So, what is The Global Fund for Children? I wouldn't be surprised if many of you hadn't heard of them, as I definitely hadn't until I applied for my internship last March. Now, perhaps that's because I was entirely tuned out to the non-profit community, but that's another story in itself. In a nutshell, The Global Fund for Children is a grant-making organization that supports innovative, grassroots groups around the world that in turn help the most "vulnerable" (aka impoverished, those without access to education or proper health care, etc.) children in their communities. They are structured with Program Officers that cover different regions of the world, and these officers go out and scout for the groups that will eventually be funded. One of my favorite grantee partners is the original: the train platform schools in India.

The organization's founder, Maya Ajmera, discovered this group before she started GFC -- in fact, it was her inspiration to begin the non-profit. Basically, children in India who work/sleep/eat/live on/near the train platforms weren't getting an education, but instead of trying to change the culture and get those kids sent to school instead of being sent to the platforms, one innovative teacher decided to bring the school to the kids. He/She (?) started coming by and giving lessons to the children. Maya found out that it took something like $400USD a YEAR to support this school and keep things running, and that's when she decided to start GFC and give small, but incredibly meaningful, grants to people that are trying to make a difference at the COMMUNITY level. Through my summer, I've learned that all too often it's these small, grassroots-level groups that are missed -- they fly under the radar with all of the huge, more national-in-scope non-profits that steal the spotlight. Yet often, it's these small groups that truly understand the needs and culture of the community THE BEST -- they can make the most difference, and they don't need a million dollars to do it.

So that's how GFC's grant-making mission came about, but then there's also a book publishing program, and that's where I spent my summer. The Global Fund for Children Books brand is spectacular -- at present they have roughly 25 photo-illustrated titles that are all about multiculturalism and promoting global citizenship among children. A few of my favorites are Global Babies, a board book for infants/toddlers that shows the faces of babies around the world, Faith, a book for elementary-school children that depicts kids of all different religions engaging in prayer, celebrations and rituals, and Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, which was actually GFC's first book -- it's an A-Z tour of the globe featuring children from 26 different countries. What I like best about these books is the fact that they introduce children to diversity at a very early age and in a way that's subtle, but again, can make a great impact. It teaches children to recognize the different cultures of the world, but also helps them look beyond the differences to find how similar they actually are to all different races, religions, socioeconomic statuses, etc. It really does promote global citizenship, which I hope helps foster a more tolerant, accepting and peaceful generation!

During my internship, I was essentially in charge of revamping GFC's books marketing program and creating a strategic partnership outreach platform. I worked up an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan template for the organization and filled it out for three of their books, and then I did research surrounding strategic partnerships in both the corporate and non-profit sectors and hopefully got GFC's foot in the door with several different organizations. I also made some great friends while I was there, and will miss seeing everyone's smiling, PASSIONATE faces every day (Hi Tamar, Jerry, Cynthia, Maya, Victoria, Amy, EVERYONE!).

If you are interested in learning more about The Global Fund for Children, I HIGHLY suggest that you visit their Web site -- www.globalfundforchildren.org and check out the ONLINE BOOKSTORE (See the SHOP ONLINE link at the top right). If you purchase your children's books (for your children, as a gift, for a friend who is having a baby shower) directly from GFC's Web site than all of the proceeds from the sale go right back into funding GFC book development and/or grantmaking (i.e. purchasing from a mass retailer deliver only a small royalty to GFC, so if you really want to help the organization, buy direct)! And of course, if you have any questions about my experience, you can feel free to ask me directly. :)

That's a wrap folks, see you real soon (i.e. after my Disney trip!).

Almost My Last DC Entry

This past weekend I hosted the last of my many guests, and completed my second to last weekend in DC. Looking back, it has been a wonderful summer in a wonderful city and I feel like I have had the chance to see so many beautiful sites and spend time with so many great people. I will definitely be sad to leave, but I'm looking forward to spending time with family and my puppies and diving into my second year of coursework!

As a weekend recap, here goes!:

We started off Friday night with dinner at the Newseum's signature Wolfgang Puck restaurant called The Source (do you get the play on journalism?). The dinner was lovely -- I had a wild king salmon hand-rubbed with Asian seasonings and served on a bed of bok choy and vegetables accompanied with a delicious Riesling and followed with a warm vahlrona chocolate truffle cake -- until Tausha lost her camera. We're still not entirely sure how "Cameragate," as she calls it, began, and we've yet to get clues from anyone calling themselves "Deep Throat," but somehow her camera went missing after we ate. Although she didn't notice it until we were leaving the movie theater after seeing "The Hangover" (funny, with some vulgar/unnecessary dialogue, but worth seeing for a good laugh), it put a bit of a damper on the evening.

Saturday morning, we began our day with a tour of the Library of Congress, which really is stunning with its gothic arches and Italian-influenced interior decor. As we walked around reading the quotes about literature and pouring over the domed ceiling and ethereal artwork, we seriously thought we were touring some ancient European church, and not a library. From there we had lunch at the American Indian museum cafe (I had chicken mole, which was good, but I think they are lying when they say it has chocolate in it) and then stopped to tour the Hirshhorn, which was a bit of a let down since one of the floors was temporarily closed and some of the exhibits were just totally strange. Nevertheless, we had some fun with my camera's color accent feature as evidenced below with our trippy tribute to the 60s and "Across the Universe":

Since we were able to complete the museum so quickly, we took an hour to explore the US Botanical Gardens, just off the Capitol. Talk about B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! We took more than 40 photos of the gorgeous flowers, although this one, courtesy of Tausha's mad photography skills, takes the cake:

After getting flowered out, we hit up a Thai restaurant for dinner and then took the train out to West Falls Church to see the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap. They were playing a night of movie music by John Williams and covered the themes from Jaws, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Superman and more. The best part was perhaps seeing my good old friends from the 501st, a group of die-hard Star Wars fans that deck out in costumes every chance they get (Jedis, stormtroopers, Jawas and Darth Vader himself made appearances). I met some of the members back when I worked at Disney and covered Star Wars Weekends for the PR team.

Sunday was Tausha's last day, so we began with a leisurely brunch in Georgetown at the cutest little French restaurant called Cafe Bonaparte. I completely blew my diet with a Nutella Cappucchino, a "Rembrandt" omelette filled with brie and sundried tomatoes and half of a chocolate croissant. After that, it was a relaxing stroll through Georgetown to Tudor Place, a magnificent home originally owned by Martha Washington's granddaughter Martha Custis Peter and later passed through the family for more than 100 years.

The weekend didn't end as well as it started unfortunately, as I discovered 6 pesky mosquito bites on my legs (who knew moquitos could bite through jeans?) and a broken air conditioner in my apartment (thank you for rescuing me from my 81 degree sweatbox Amy!). Alas, today I am exhausted and feel ready for my next espresso-filled beverage (already downed a Venti from Starbucks). Toodaloo!

A quarter of a century...

I can't believe I'm 25 years old -- and 25 FEELS old. I'm officially in my mid-twenties and can longer associate myself with the "check here if you are 18-24" box. But I can look forward to cheaper car insurance and no longer having to pay extra fees when I rent a vehicle. Yes, it's that exciting to be a quarter of a century old.
I used to have benchmarks of where I thought I'd be at 25. Surely, I thought I'd be married by now. And goodness knows I NEVER envisioned that I'd be less than a year away from a Harvard MBA. It just goes to show you how life continues to throw hurdles at you, and sometimes it's useless to plan.
In happier news, I did have a very fun birthday weekend filled with friends, food, and lots of siteseeing. My friend Melissa, a sorority sister from UF, came into town and together we conquered the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Georgetown for dinner and a movie, Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House, and finally Lincoln's Cottage at The Soldier's Home. Of all the things we saw, the Lincoln Memorial probably takes the cake for the weekend. The views, both as you approach the memorial, and as you look back at the Washington Monument through it's majestic columns, are truly breathtaking. It makes me wish I had been here on July 4th to sit on the memorial's steps and watch the fireworks going off behind the monument (although I wouldn't have missed Lauren's wedding for the world, of course!).

And then, thrown in there of course, was my birthday dinner. I have to say I was a little disappointed to see the guest list collapse in half, with almost everyone canceling at the last minute (a pet peeve, but you can't change the world just because something annoys you!), but the people I most wanted to be there showed up, so it turned out to be great nonetheless. The table shared a bottle of the most delicious Riesling and we prompted devoured it along with two delicious desserts (a white chocolate mousse cake with raspberry syrup and a banana split creme brulee with caramel sauce and fresh fruit). The restaurant itself, Sequoia, turned out to be a beautiful pick (I sort of chose it randomly based on the menu having never been there myself). The restaurant sits on the Potomac and is decorated in glistening hanging crystals and tiny lights. And once it's dark, the lights both inside, and outside covering all of the trees, turn on to give it a sort of winter wonderland whimsical feel. If I have the time, I'd love to go back at least once more before I depart from DC.
Speaking of departing, I have only 18 days left before I head out to Florida. This summer has gone so quickly and I've enjoyed my time here very much. I will definitely have to make a repeat trip back at some point, as there is so much that I have yet to see. I've got one more guest on the docket, too -- Tausha comes into town Thursday night and departs on Sunday. We're going to hit up The Source restaurant (a fancy Wolfgang Puck joint at The Newseum), the National Symphony Orchestra, The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art, and a French-inspired Georgetown brunch. I love playing hostess, so I can't wait until she gets here! That's all for now, see you again in a week or so!

Best Friends Forever! Another weekend in DC...

My best friend Aynsley left for Florida a few hours ago and I miss her already! Along with her fiance, Mike, Ayns stayed with me for the weekend and it was great to catch up and spend time together since we hadn't seen one another since our Israel trip back in Dec/Jan. She just set her wedding date (Congratulations, can't wait for 10/10/10!!), so we spent a decent amount of time discussing wedding plans while in transit to our many weekend tourist destinations. A recap:
Friday evening, Aynsley's plane was delayed, so when she finally arrived, we scurried off for dinner at Clyde's in Georgetown. Unfortunately, we were seated next to an extremely noisy, rowdy group, but despite their hooting and hollering we had a lovely meal (a crap and artichoke dip appetizer, linguine with shaved parmesan and fresh tomato, and a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream for dessert). Since we didn't make it to dinner until 8:45pm, we finished just after 10pm and called it a night.
Saturday morning, the journey began with a trip to the National Archives (the first photo in this entry is the exterior of the building), where the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are on display. We had to wait in quite a few lines to get into the main rotunda (it was remniscient of Disney World), but it was worth it to see these amazing documents. The Declaration of Independence is incredibly faded, so much so that you can barely see that there was any writing on there at all. They've got a few reprints that show what the document looked like when it was originally crafted, but it's weird to me that they weren't able to preserve it better (both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are in substantially better condition, as was the Magna Carta which is much older!). The rest of the Archives was a bit of a disappointment, so we walked through the public vault exhibits quickly and headed to our next destination: the Hotel Tabard Inn!
I'd heard the brunch at the Tabard Inn was remarkable and we happily agreed! Aynsley and I shared the blueberry buttermilk pancakes and a scrambled eggs and cream cheese dish with home fries, and delicious, fresh-baked doughnuts on the side. They also served a bread/pastry basket filled with mini-muffins (carrot flavored and amazing) and soft, warm raisin bread. And it wasn't that expensive either! From there we headed to Madame Tussauds, a museum that I've wanted to go to for years!

The museum was lots of fun, and between the three of us, we took more than 50 pictures with the wax figures. It was a great time coming up with unique poses and trying on the costume pieces, like the faux fur coats in the picture above. I was sad that the Johnny Depp figure was out for "renovation" as that was the one I wanted to pose with the most (it would perhaps have been the closest I'd ever get to the real thing!). Overall, the museum only took 30 minutes to walk through (thus I was happy to have used my buy one, get one free pass to secure $10 admission), but I'm happy that I finally got to go!

After taking a brief shopping/browsing break and walking past the White House for the requisite DC pictures, we headed into the Court House area for dinner at Ray's The Steaks, a Virginia eating establishment known for having the best steaks in DC at the best prices. It was another great meal -- I had a fillet mignon (6 oz) with foie gras and porcini mushrooms, plus a glass of red wine, side orders of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, a bread basket and a serving of cocktail nuts for less than $50 including tax and tip. Pretty amazing if you ask me and it all tasted great as well!

After dinner, it was back to Georgetown for an ice cream break at Hershey's and a viewing of The Proposal (amazingly funny and features the cutest fluffy white puppy you will ever see -- go see it if you haven't already!!).

Sunday was the final day of their visit and we spent the majority of it at the US Holocaust Museum. There were definitely some moments that hit home -- like seeing a replica of the Auschwitz entrance sign, the pile of shoes taken from Holocaust victims and an actual train car that 100 people were stuffed into during the ghetto/concentration camp phase of the war. The Holocaust will forever be close to my heart, and although sometimes it's difficult to view the videos and see the remnants of this tragic event, it is SO important that we all remember how one evil man was able to bring on the deaths of 6 million Jews.

We ended the visit on a high note by visiting the museum shop and getting the chance to speak to the husband of a Holocaust survivor. He was there doing a book signing for his wife's memoirs -- she died before her writings were found and her husband had them published for her posthumously. He signed my book and talked to us briefly about how she had always dreamed of being a writer and would be so happy to know that even after her death, she was able to share her story with the world and remind us that we must never let something like this happen again.

We concluded our fun filled weekend with a reunion with an old friend at Starbucks and then an hour of quality time chatting before it was time for her to leave. I miss her already and can't wait to see her for her engagement party in October (or maybe even sooner than that!). Next up is my friend Melissa from UF. More then!!

A July 4th Weekend Wedding

I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Boston and embarking on another DC work week. Thankfully, I had yesterday (Monday) off, tomorrow I'm at the National Conference all day, Thursday is a full day work retreat with the Communications team and then it's Friday again and my bestest Aynsley and her fiance Mike are coming into town! The rest of my stay is going to go so quickly that I need to try extra hard to enjoy every last minute of it!
Now, I know you're all dying to hear about the news of the moment: Lauren's wedding (Congratulations and Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Farber!!). From the very beginning...
I arrived in Boston really early Saturday morning for the rehearsal, which literally lasted about 15 minutes. The rest of the afternoon we all spent by the pool, eating and chatting, and getting sunburned -- well, at least, I got sunburned on my shoulders and it hurt the rest of the weekend! Saturday night we just relaxed around the house, chatting and looking over schedules for Sunday. I practiced my Maid of Honor toast and we all had some good girl talk before heading to bed. Sunday morning we got up at the crack of dawn to shower and prepare for the photographers to arrive for "getting ready" shots. Several hours later after we all did our best to look beautiful, we began professional photos both inside and outside the house. The ceremony started around 2:45pm and was pretty short (or at least it seemed short as I was standing there next to the chuppah!). After the ceremony was the cocktail hour and then we all headed to the tent to start the reception. There was LOTS and LOTS of dancing (including a hora that lasted for like 20 minutes), Lauren sang a romantic song to Jordan, we all toasted the bride and groom and ate some delicious strawberry shortcake. Before I knew it, the night was coming to a close, so we all changed and headed over for the "after party," which was more like a we're-all-exhausted-so-lets-eat-and-chat kind of affair. By 10:30, I was ready for bed, so we decorated the bride and groom's hotel room and swiftly returned to the house for some shut eye.
And then it was over! The next morning we all packed and headed to our various travel destinations with lots of great photos and memories at hand. It was SO great to spend some quality time with some of my best friends (Lauren, Tausha and Christine) and make some new friends too! Now we're all waiting patiently to see the professional photographer's proofs and the wedding video so we can reminisce.
This was a short entry, but I promise there's lots more to come in the next few weeks. Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Weekend #3!

I hope I'm not boring anyone, what with basically no HBS-related blogging as of late, but truth be told, I'm doing all I can to forget that I have 500 cases ahead of me this fall -- I want to truly enjoy my DC summer. I can assure you that come August there will be plenty of school blogs as EC year rolls out.

This Saturday I began the weekend by meeting up with an old friend from high school (Hi Tara!) with a visit to the Hillwood Museum Estate and Gardens. The estate belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post (of the Post cereal fortune) in the early 1900s, and when she died, she left her home and antique collection as a museum for the public to enjoy. Although she lived in the 20s and 30s, she was fascinated with old French art and thus decorated her home in the gilded, gold, pastel, ornate style typical of 15-18th century France. Her antiques collection spans multiple regions, though, and features gold and diamond chalices, a wealth of ornate, hand-painted china and some beautiful, richly fabricked costumes. After exploring the 2 story mansion, there are 13 (I think, or was it 17...?) acres of gardens out back exploring different styles -- my favorite was the Japanese garden, although the rose garden was beautiful (but filled with bees and since I am terrified of bees, I couldn't enjoy the experience as much). And then there is a cute little cafe where Tara and I enjoyed lunch and a cappuccino before heading out.
Second in the lineup, I met Amy at the Capitol for a tour, but have to say I was a bit disappointed. Although I knew beforehand that we wouldn't have access to the chambers where the House and Senate meet, I did think we'd get a more substantial tour of the massive building. Instead, we watched a 13-minute video that essentially made the US Congress look perfect (and as much as I love the inspirational music and gorgeous views of the Capitol at sunset, truth be told, our government is far from perfect) and were then shown just 3 rooms -- the rotunda directly under the large dome at the top of the building, the statuary room and the crypt.
The main rotunda truly is spectacular, with a gorgeous painting called "The Glorification of George Washington" at the very top. The surrounding walls feature huge paintings representing different important events in the history of the US (everything from Columbus' voyage to the signing of the Declaration of Independence) flanked by statues of famous historical figures. The statuary room appears to have some French influence -- it was painted a pastel pink with gold adornments -- and it was here that I took a photo with a statue of a man representing the state of Florida. It's terrible that I've already forgotten his name (I was already made fun of once during the tour for having never heard of the guy) as he was the inventor of air conditioning and therefore I owe him lifelong thanks! The final room was called the Crypt, despite the fact that no one is actually buried there, and the only item of real interest in the room was a star shape painted on the floor that represented the exact center of the city.
After our tour, Amy and I met one of the other interns, Megan, for sushi in Rosslyn before heading out to West Falls Church, VA for a showing of Riverdance at the Wolf Trap theater. Although it was a bit far out, it was definitely worth the travel time, as the show was lovely and the theater, just as nice (it's a covered, open-air amphitheater in a wooden area). Unfortunately, photos weren't allowed, so it will be one of the few memories I will have to keep sharp on brain power alone.
The final part of my weekend involved meeting several other HBSers for brunch in Georgetown. We went to a cute little restaurant called the Peacock Cafe...and unfortunately, I don't have anything else exciting to report about the outing.
Next weekend, I depart for Boston to celebrate Lauren's wedding and I couldn't be more excited. More updates and photos will arrive after I'm back in DC on Monday evening! Ciao!

RIP King of Pop

It is a sad day for the world. RIP Michael Jackson. You are and will always be my King of Pop.

The "News Effect" of DC

I've never been one to enjoy reading the newspaper in the morning and my bookmarks online have always been more of the People Magazine variety, but somehow living in DC is turning me into a newsie. Perhaps its the fact that GFC gets the Times, the Wall St. Journal, the Washington Post and a plethora of other news sources each morning, or maybe it's just that I'm living at the "source" of many of the stories. Whatever the reason, I've taken to checking out the headlining news stories on NYT.com and WSJ.com in the mornings and, although WSJ annoys me by siphoning off subscriber-only stories (I could avoid this annoyance by picking up the actual paper GFC gets but I have an aversion to newsprint-stained fingers and hence work clothes), I'm enjoying feeling well read and educated about current events. Taking it a step further, I feel inspired this morning to blog about some of the hottest topics in the news...

1) Obama signs an anti-smoking bill: My first thought was yippee! Even though the restrictions are far from monumental, I have an incredible aversion to all things cigarette-related and feel thrilled when our government takes steps toward eliminating this repulsive habit from society. My grandfather smoked for more than 60 years (and my grandmother smoked for 40), so I've seen first hand the detriments it brings. My grandfather contracted emphysema and it got so bad that he lost 90% of his lung capacity, was out of breath simply from leaning over and tying his shoes, and had to be on numerous medications just to breathe. It's no fun suffocating to death.

I always wonder why young people today even choose to start smoking. I mean, back in the 20s and 30s, at least you could blame it on ignorance and the fact that no one knew it was bad for you, but nowadays kids are thrown into D.A.R.E. and Just Say No programs in elementary school where they are clearly taught the consequences and health risks associated with tobacco. It's obviously not cool to have your hair, breath, and clothes smell of smoke, there's nothing attractive about yellow teeth and hairline wrinkles around the mouth, and goodness knows it's an expensive habit to maintain. So what's the appeal? I'd love it if someone could give me one good reason to start smoking.

With that said, I think it's amazing that, even as a smoker himself, Obama could stand up and take steps toward keeping children away from this disgusting deed. Now if only he could kick the habit himself and make an example out of his struggle and success in quitting!

2) DC Metro Train Crash: Firstly, I need to thank all of my friends and family for reaching out yesterday to make sure I was safe after news hit that two DC Metro trains had collided near Maryland. Thankfully, I do not take the red line home, so I was nowhere near the crash, but it's definitely scary to see the damage that was caused. Apparently the death toll is up to 9 now and more than 75 people were injured. Authorities still seem unsure of exactly how the crash happened, and unfortunately the train operator was one of those killed, so I don't think they'll ever really know, but it definitely brings into stark relief how much you are really putting your life in someone else's hands just by riding the subway to and from work every day.
3) Neda and the Iranian Revolution: This is the most heartwrenching news story that I've seen in a while. For those of you who haven't heard of Neda, she was a 27 year old woman living in Iran and attending a "peaceful" protest with her father over the Iranian election when she was shot in the chest. Her death on the streets of Iran was captured via cell phone video and quickly disseminated through social networks to people around the world. The video is definitely graphic and shows her first lying in a pool of blood and then bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth and she slips into unconsciousness. It's difficult to watch, but at the same time, so important to know about because it helps you understand the nature of the conflict in Iran and how volatile the situation is. It's also interesting how quickly this unknown woman who was neither a political figure nor a celebrity so quickly rose to the status of martyr simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the days since her death on Saturday, people have written poems about her, branded her an angel and in a sense, sensationalized her death to the point that she has become a symbol of the revolution.
Regardless, it's so shocking and terrible to watch someone die -- naturally, my curiousity got the best of me and I had to watch the minute-long video -- and it just makes you wish for peace that much harder.
That's the news for today according to me, ciao!

Jun Visits DC!

This past weekend Jun, one of my friends and sectionmates from HBS, came to visit DC and we had a packed weekend filled with lots of sightseeing and good food. Saturday morning we started our adventure off at the Arlington National Cemetery, despite the torrential rain (can't let a little water stop us!).

The cemetery offers a tour of some of the most prominent sites, so we boarded the bus and headed to the Kennedy gravesite where Jackie Kennedy, JFK and his brother Robert Kennedy are all buried.

This photo shows JFK's tomb and the eternal flame that is lit behind it. Jackie's grave sits right next to JFK's and Robert's grave is a little ways away up a separate pathway. Behind the graves is a beautiful memorial with some of JFK's most famous quotes carved into stone ("Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country..." among others). A similar memorial with quotes and a waterfall is near RFK's grave.

The second stop on the cemetery tour was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial that is guarded by high-ranking military 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I tried to ask the park rangers why of all the tombs it was felt that this one should be guarded and unfortunately, I couldn't get an answer from anyone, so I still need to research this. Nonetheless, there is a very solemn and official ceremony that takes place every half an hour to change the guards. There's lots of "barking" by the man in charge of the ceremony, followed by interesting rifle maneuvers, lots of heel clicking and pacing back and forth. I'm not sure I entirely understood the significance of the ceremony, but it was nice to see anyway. Nearby the Tomb is a beautiful marble amphitheater where speeches are held, and not far away are the memorials to the astronauts on the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

The third and final stop on the tour was Arlington House, which overlooks the entire graveyard and was once the home to confederate General Robert E. Lee. Nearly 90% of the original structure of the house is intact and you can tour the main home, the slave quarters, the kitchens, the rose garden and a small bookstore. Although it was a cloudy, rainy day, the view from the top of the hill really is amazing. You can see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House among other DC sites.

Next up on our whirlwind tour was a visit to the West building of the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art. I have noticed that I am so incredibly impressed with the architecture of the buildings in the city and this Gallery was among the most beautiful structures yet. The photo of the museum rotunda above does not accurately portray the beauty of the entryway with its majestic arches, marble columns and calming fountain with rich sunlight streaming in from two sides. Jun and I began our visit with a lovely lunch in the museum's Garden Cafe. The cuisine changes frequently, representing different regions of the world, and currently is focused on Spanish cuisine. We tried lots of Spanish cheeses (goat, sheep and cow's milk) with crispy bread, a chilled gazpacho soup, a lentil dish, an eggplant dish, delicious spiced meatballs, chicken baked with bacon and lentils and finally blueberries and flan for dessert. Amazing (and less than $20!).

From there it was time to explore the galleries, which are split into regions and time periods, mostly featuring 15th-18th century art. Among my favorite sections were the Monets and Van Goghs, the Dutch and Flemish art (they had a few Vermeers, but not Girl with a Pearl Earring) and the 15th and 16th century French art. They had one Da Vinci painting (apparently it is the only Da Vinci in North America), but I honestly wasn't very impressed!

After several hours of touring the Gallery, we made a brief stop at the East building, but had just 10 minutes to explore as the museum was getting ready to close. To kill time, we walked over to the White House so Jun could take some photos and then we grabbed a cab to Georgetown and walked around a bit exploring the shops. Shortly thereafter we met our sectionmate William for an Italian dinner at Papa Razzi followed by a showing of the Disney-Pixar film "Up" in Disney Digital 3D (it was an awesome movie, so go see it if you haven't!). At midnight, we finally hit the sack and prepared for the fun to come on Sunday.

Sunday morning we departed for the Jefferson Memorial, which is a good 15-20 minute walk from the National Mall. The memorial itself is more breathtaking than I imagined it would be, complete with a gigantic statue of Jefferson in the center of a rotunda on which his most famous quotes are carved into each of four walls. The remainder of the rotunda is filled with pillars overlooking the Potomac on one side and gardens on the others. Underneath the memorial is an exhibit on Jefferson's life (with a very interesting film) and a couple of gift shops.

After touring the memorial we walked all the way to the other end of the mall to have lunch at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Although Jun wasn't interested in touring the museum (I'll have to save that for another weekend!), the cafe there is supposed to be the best among the Smithsonians as they feature Native American offerings from different regions of the US (Jun had a buffalo sandwich that she was less than thrilled with, but I enjoyed my meal of papuchas (sort of like a potato pancake stuffed with either cheese or beans and covered with cabbage and a special sauce), yucca fries and a lima bean and avocado salad). From there we walked to the Freer Gallery of Asian Art and took a docent tour of the museum highlights, including Whistler's Peacock room, a green and gold room with peacock "feather" designs floor to ceiling.

With that, we grabbed some ice cream, took a quick tour of the Hirshorn Museum sculpture garden (and tied a wish to Yoko Ono's wish tree) and parted ways so Jun could explore the Lincoln Memorial (I'm seeing it with another guest later this summer) and I could give my aching feet and back a rest.

And so another awesome week of touring comes to a close. Next weekend I've got a tour of the Capitol, the Hillwood museum, a concert and brunch with HBS folks on deck. More then!

First Week in DC!

One week in and my summer in DC is off to a good start. As you know from my previous post, I'm enjoying my apartment and work is starting to shape up as well. All of my colleagues are very nice, and the interns are especially friendly and good lunch company. I've also crafted this matrix (dork alert!) of all the things I want to see and do while I'm here. There are nearly 50 items on there, so I imagine it will take the whole summer to check them all off, if I can even accomplish that.

GFC interns at a Thai restaurant in downtown DC

I've been spending a good deal of time with one of the Fellows at work, a woman from Nigeria named Amy. We're both first timers in DC so are enjoying siteseeing together. On Saturday we covered the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, took a break for an awesome Mexican tapas lunch, and then got through about 1/3 of the Smithsonian Museum of American History (people weren't kidding when they said these museums were huge!). We were so pooped by 3pm, that we had to sit in the cafeteria for 30 minutes just to rest our aching backs and feet!

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of American History

Oyamel, an excellent Mexican tapas restaurant

To cap off the day we saw the Night at the Museum sequel in IMAX back at the Natural History museum and then dragged our tired bodies home. Since we didn't see much of the American History museum, it's definitely a destination I'll have to hit again soon. I think it's an early favorite what with the Lincoln exhibit (featuring one of his stovepipe hats!), one of the original American flags and an original Kermit the Frog puppet!

This weekend my friend Jun from HBS is coming to visit and we've got a packed itinerary including the Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, National Gallery, and Freer and Sackler Galleries (Smithsonian galleries of Asian art). Leading up to the weekend I've got dinner plans tomorrow, Weds. and Thurs., and lunch plans with a sorority sister from UF on Thurs., so it's going to be a busy week and weekend. More soon!