Here you will find Kate's photos and brain space. Mind the gap.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

To thos who are reading this on the IMBA blog feed, there should be pictures in the previous two posts. For some reason they're not coming through. But click and see!

Friday, September 07, 2007

more from Bolivia

Totally awesome woman at CARE project in Potosi

Last days in La Paz

View in El Alto

Illimani overlooking La Paz
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Hey, remember how I went to Bolivia?

Visiting a CARE field project in Tarija

Dancing (whoops) in the festival of Gran Poder in La Paz

Crossing Lake Titicaca

Sunset in Sucre
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Zacatecas II

Here is the cathedral in daylight.
There are one or two cactii in Mexico.
Jacalyn is adorable but more to the point is that this seemed very European! This balcony was big enough for us and our tiny table, and the street was all narrow and tall. We waved to the tour busses and felt dorky.
View from the other direction. Note the cathedral in the back. It's the last (Zacatecas) cathedral shot, I swear!
In the mine with some dudes and shiny shoes.

Sometimes I drive myself nuts with the question of what I want to accomplish through travel. I want to do more than just see pretty things, but it's hard to gain access to the next level of a community, especially on a weekend trip. So I wander around. And that's pretty beautiful on its own.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rewind: Zacatecas

Well, gosh, if I'd known I was going to get lambasted...! ;-) I am rewinding to put up some pictures from weekend trips. In mid-March we went to Zacatecas (Jacalyn and I, and we hung out with Alex who happened to be there too). Zacatecas was a colonial city and mining town, and today is beautiful and awesome and I loved it. Additionally, I should invest in a thesaurus. At any rate, it was important for me to go there because many of my students in Colorado were from Zacatecas (although from the campo in the state, not the city). Sure enough, the city was quite different from the surrounding country, but we had fun either way.

This is said to be the most beautiful cathedral in the country. It was pretty cool. ;-) Especially at night. I'm still learning to use my camera so I was psyched a picture came out!

There was some kind of soccer tournament that day, and at night the teams' supporters paraded around the town, generally being loud and obnoxious. This group was from Chihuahua. We couldn't figure anything better to do (we had already had ice cream), so we paraded around with them!
There was dancing...
...and mezcal out of a jug. The people gave us these tiny ceramic jugs that were meant to hang around our necks and drink from. woohoo!
Let's just say this was depressing/hilarious.

Blogger doesn't want to upload more photos now so I'll post now and see what happens later!

Kate's excuse for being lazy

I have spent time abroad before. I say I’ve lived abroad, because I spent 3 months in Costa Rica, and I was more or less in one place working. Even in Guatemala, I was there only a month but it was a stable situation. Both of those experiences though were tinted with “travel.” It would be a lie, of course, to say that my experience in Mexico hasn’t been travel as well. That said, this is my life. I am here with commitments and rent to pay and a phone and computer. Those things to a certain extent signal a Life. And I think that is why I have not been documenting it so much.

In past time abroad, the internet café has been such a part of the experience. Whatever I’m doing, there is always time every few days to sit and check email and blog. and I was always good at blogging! Well, good about it. I was having new and exciting experiences all the time and had plenty to write home about. Here the feeling is different. I have had some amazing experiences both on the road and in Guadalajara but most of my day has been filled with things like going to school, doing laundry, tracking down dinner… These are not things that ever need documentation. :-) And so I have not. But there are two updates that definitely need to be made: one being travels since I’ve been here, and the other being my experience. It has, after all, been almost 4 months. Wow. So those will be coming this week! For reals, because I posted it and now I have to uphold my promise!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Coconuts for sale. the price was totally inflated to two whole dollars because it was a tourist area. But you can drink the water and eat the inside, not to mention watch the guy go to town with a machete, so I guess it was worth it.
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first days in Mexico

Welcome to Mexico!!
I am here!! And so is this guy. This is Miguel Hidalgo, and he is considered the liberator of Mexico. This mural is enormous and located at the Palacio del Gobierno (I think) in Guadalajara. It was painted by Jose Clemente Orozco, who I had heard of, but I had no idea. this is about 1/4 of the whole thing, which takes up the whole ceiling and walls of this huge stairwell. It's amazing.... and this guy is pretty scary.
Nothing to see here, I just liked the picture.
Sushi and cerveza anyone? This is right by my house. Sushi is huge here, and they even sell it out of carts on the street. I find that truly horrifying.
These plants are everywhere (though they are usually growing out of the ground). I love them!

So I am here in Mexico! And have been for almost two weeks. And I have started school, found a home, and figured out the transport system. Yay! I have not yet figured out how to buy groceries, get good service in a restaurant, or stand in line. So slowly I am adjusting.

The basics for those who don't know are that I will be here in Guadalajara for almost four months studying Spanish and "how to do business in Latin America." I am in a class now with 7 classmates who I met in South Carolina. We have class from 10 until 4 but due to the conditions of living in Mexico, I am usually gone from about 8am until 7pm. Which is ok but makes the week pass by in a weird way. So far on Saturdays we have taken trips, although our last one was yesterday. So I will start having my own travel soon. I love being in a foreign place with a ton of people I know.

Guadalajara is huge and generally rich. The bus to school takes us past two huge malls that have Applebee's, Prada, and Wal-Mart. People drive BMWs. So in some ways I don't feel like I'm in Mexico. But you can also get 50-cent tacos and coconuts off the street, so there is that. The university is a private school on the outskirts of town, so it is very nice. For beginners, the pollution, which is terrible in the city, is not so bad. There are lots of trees and the campus is designed to be outside. And the weather is incredible. It is chilly at night but during the day it is splendidly warm, and during the lunch hour some student group is inevitably blasting Bob Marley. So in some ways it feels very relaxed. However, unlike what I have been told about Mexico, you have to be on time everywhere, eat lunch in less than 2 hours, and not drunk coffee at every moment. So that is a bummer.

I am living with two Mexican women who are never home. So they are both very nice but I have a fair share of quiet time and that is okay with me. Starting this week we will start having classes and whatnot with the local MBA students so that will be a good opportunity to meet folks. So far I know my roomies and the folks at the school so that doesn't bode incredibly well for a Mexican social life. But we shall see.

In other news I have gotten confirmation that I will indeed be doing an internship in Bolivia starting in May! Another classmate will be there as well so that goes a long way towards my being able to be excited, because boy am I excited. I'll be working with CARE in Bolivia, though more specifically with a cooperative of local and international NGOs documenting best practices and networking with different groups. I feel like this will be the peak of my education (which is good because its what I want to do with my life), not to mention that I am totally psyched to be going somewhere as far away and weird as Bolivia. Also the fact that I'm going somewhere far away and weird means that my bro and his wife will come visit me and that has me excited.

In summary, I am in Mexico. Thanks for reading. :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

the Great Blizzard

Dude it snowed so much! It came up to my knees, but it doesn't show right in this picture because the dogs had already cleared a path.

It snowed for 2 days straight. It was (and is still) so pretty! It's not as much as a big deal here in the mountains because we're used to it, but the plains really got hit harder than usual. 5,000 people were stranded at the airport in Denver, but it sounds like that was the worst thing that happened in this storm. Shelters were set up and it sounds like people statewide have been warm and safe. Meanwhile the city of Denver opened up parks for sledding and gave away hot chocolate. Fun was had by all. My family and I, meanwhile, were also officially snowed in, but up in the mountains. It's hard to believe I was in short sleeves in South Carolina just a few days ago. Life is cool. :-)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a love letter

July through December: classes, books, studying, lack of sleep, and crying over exams...

Friday, 9am: we took our last exam!
Friday, 11pm: We were done! Josh was so excited he couldn't focus.
We hung out in December in the 80-degree heat on the deck and took pictures...
...and Brendan hucked peanuts.

Friday, 2:30pm: As far as I can tell, everyone went home and napped.

Friday, 10pm: We came out again in full force! There was chatting...

...and generally being happy!

Saturday-Monday: I packedandmovedandflewhomeandhereIam!!
Postscript: I can't believe it's over. Last night I sat there feeling like it was the first time I'd truly had to just sit and chill (which is a total lie since A) I still have a ton to do and B) I did have a few truly relaxing moments over the past few months). Then I went to bed and promptly had a whole slew of school-dreams. But in a certain sense it feels like graduation, especially since I won't be back for so long.

I don't think I'll miss Cola very much. Nor do I miss classes -- obviously they are central to my education and incredibly important, and I have been known to be really excited by them. But they were grueling. And they were my job. My classmates, on the other hand, made the core not only bearable but truly enjoyable.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of my classmates back in March, during a weekend visit. It was the first of my school visits and as I made my lists of pros and cons (as my Birkman indicates I am wont to do) one of the pros of the Moore School was the people. Everyone had been so friendly and welcoming and different. I realized throughout my school visits that I wanted to be in a program with people who aren't just like me. Sure enough, when orientation rolled around I was so excited and impressed by the backgrounds and strengths and goals of everyone.
Six months have not changed my viewpoint. Anyone who survives the core is okay in my book, but moreover my classmates have done so with flair and good humor, and I feel absolutely assured that all of these crazy people will have success in their chosen paths. I will miss those whom I will not see until August (or perhaps, unnervingly enough, ever) and will appreciate the chance to get to know better those with whom I'll be in Mexico. So, three cheers, IMBAs!! You are all awesome. Congrats on finishing the core. You rock.

Monday, November 13, 2006

no caption needed

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well, once upon a time I located a picture of a zombie for blogging purposes. I'm pretty sure it was because something was eating my brain. I can't be totally sure though because I have no recollection of what I was supposed to talk about. But it's still a pretty cool picture so there ya go.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Increasing productivity (or "Ridiculously Simple Revelations")

Never have I consumed so much coffee. I didn't become a coffee drinker until after college, so I missed many opportunities there. I learned to like it in Costa Rica, as I knew I would have to, and it became a relaxing, comforting afternoon drink. When it's chilly and maybe a little rainy it's so nice to sit by a window (or in milder climates, outside) with a warm coffee. Now and then I smell a certain blend that takes me back to mornings in Guatemala. These things are all still true but I have additionally stumbled across a concept that was heretofore unknown to me: coffee as drug. I am now a daily coffee drinker and sometimes I worry about that. I know people the world over drink coffee daily but no one in my house growing up did (and this was pre-Starbucks so I feel like I would know). So it is a new experience, psychically speaking.

All of this is a circumspect approach to today's topic: how freakin' busy I am. I have never in my life fallen asleep in a class, and that has not changed recently. However, I do get some extra-long blinks in. You know, the kind where you blink, and 20 seconds later you open your eyes again? Yeah, that. That's where the coffee comes in.

As I touched on in my last entry, right now we have class upon class, mandatory speakers and workshops and events, work study, internship searches.... and that's on top of normal-people things like laundry and shopping and getting the oil changed. It is truly insane. We'll have been in school for six months before it lets up, and what then? I'm not sure what to expect. Fortunately, though, my experience around that busyness has changed. At first (and I'm counting -- "at first" was three months ago) I was sure that I was just in a state of shock. Surely I was just out of practice, and they were just front-loading the career management stuff, and I wasn't used to doing homework and it would get better. Then I started to realize it wasn't going to let up. And in fact it got worse. I had indeed adjusted, but then they piled more on. And while it's been hard and I've complained and my work has not been as good as I would have liked, I get it done. That's the amazing thing: I've gotten it all done! And not so shabbily, either. So what I've learned is I'm not too busy. I'm just busier than I've ever been before.

The truth is I'm lazy. I'm ambitious but not motivated. My parents both have this incredible work ethic that I somehow missed out on. The good news is my Birkman and Myers-Briggs have both picked up on this, but frame it as "visionary" and not "lazy." I'm happy in my head imagining awesome things but I get so involved that I forget to put them into action. This is a skill I am working on. I feel like I have come a super-long way in this regard over the past three months and indeed over the past year. Making my way to business school is a big step. But sometimes I get so disheartened at how far there still is to go, when I already feel I've come so far. And to think about this I turn to my old pal Vilfredo Pareto.

Mr. Pareto is known for his eponymous Principle, or the 80/20 law. He says that for many phenomena, 80% of consequences can be accounted for by 20% of the causes. For example, 20% of words in a language are used 80% of the time; 20% of a population holds 80% of the wealth; 20% of professors account for 80% of the boredom, resulting in 20% of my classmates consuming 80% of the beer. This concept was introduced to me because it is used in management to increase efficiency and utility. These guys go nuts for this stuff. I have used the chart to illustrate this principle. On the x-axis you will see the causes that detract from my productivity. The bars show the frequency of the problem, and the line shows the percentage of the consequences that would be affected by addressing the problem.

As you can see, 20% of my problems -- time management and ignorance -- account for 80% of the consequences -- that is, not getting done what I want to get done. It would best behoove me to address these issues rather than, say, e coli, because they will affect so much of the result. In fact, on arriving at school, I was immediately forced to deal with time management and ignorance, which is why I felt like I've made so much progress. I wouldn't say I've yet acheived the 80%, but it's still a noticable difference. It also shows why I feel like I have so far to go. Few causes have helped a lot of the results, which conversely means that the remaining few results stem from a larger number of problems. This makes it harder to get to from 80% to 100% than it was to get the first 80%.

Operations guys will tell you that there is always, always, always room for improvement. And they're right -- there is always more toothpaste in the toothpaste tube. I think part of me keeps waiting to be grown-up, to be excellent, to have arrived. The other part of me knows that there will always be room for growth, and I am both nervous about and excited by that. Now that I've made some kind of sense out of this (c'mon, you can't get any better than a chart), I feel even more excited about what I can accomplish. I'm coming up with some solutions, which I may share later, no matter how much you fight it.

Besides, coffee's good for you, right?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

brain space

To say that school keeps us busy is an understatement. Somehow we manage to keep cramming more things in, though. First, of course, came classes, as well as career management. Then many of us started work study. Career management commitment waxes and wanes, but now we are in full-blown internship search mode. Add to that efforts to maintain sanity, and you can accomplish everything you need to do by working 30 hours a day, 8 days a week.

The most recent addition is that of student groups, which promise to be well worth our time. My roster currently includes the National Association of Women MBAs and NetImpact, the corporate responsibility and etc good-feeling things group. This means that I can add two professional affiliations to my resume, bringing my grand total up to... two!

Meanwhile I have been attending some awesome campus events. I remember from college that awesome events are always happening, but so far USC has proved particularly awesome. I have seen Elie Wiesel and Paul Farmer both speak. This week there was a panel telecast from MIT about entrepreneurship in the developing world that gave me a lot to think about it.

All of this adds up to a complex situation. I'm reading and taking notes and listening for hours upon hours every day. And that's just for classes. Classes are of course vital and generally ok. But there is, as always, as much to be learned out of the classroom and I realized I will never pull it off unless I get myself really organized. And I'm not talking binders and sticky-notes, I'm talking my brain, which is a whole nother kind of challenge. The knowledge and notes I can handle, but I'm not yet sure how to deal with the questions and the conflicts. Again, part of it is sheer lack of time an energy for those things being diverted elsewhere. But there are so many things already that I know I want to carry beyond this place and remember and question and learn if if they're not in my notebook they're going to slip. So I will be attemping to post here in the future. No promises. :) Suggestions welcome!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Beachy. :) Posted by Picasa

We went to Charleston on Saturday! Scroll to the bottom to start from the beginning.

Then there was beach joy! Posted by Picasa