Adventures in Lobster Country

Maine_StateofMaine

Maine! The great vacationers destination—plus the headquarters of L.L. Bean! When my mum was a kid, she and my grandparents would spend a few weeks of the summer visiting a lakeside cottage. Now, my parents like to steal a few days of the summer to go revisit the memories and visit friends. This trip included stays at two friend’s houses in East Blue Hill and on Vinalhaven Island.

Our adventure included mountain biking, hiking, and much lobster gobbling. We began with a visit to East Burke, VT to the infamous Kingdom Trails. You can find the site here. The three hour biking adventure resulted in a few scars on my part. One  is shaped like a Nike Swoosh on my left leg. I think it makes me look tough. Nonetheless, our crew had a blast and the soreness lasted for the rest of the trip.

Pentagoet

After our jaunt to VT, we crossed into Maine and to visit friends of ours who live at the Pentagoet Inn in Castine. The owners, Jack and Julie are the most darling people. Julie owned a pastry shop in Philadelphia where my mum worked in her youth. The two of them moved in together in South Philly before mum moved abroad. Jack worked with refugees in desperate situations and has the most fascinating stories to tell. The two of them make a fantastic duo and the best hosts a guest could ask for. Jack mans the Passport Bar, which is decorated by portraits of world leaders and transplants you to another place and time. Julie is the executive chef and whips up incredible flavors with the local produce as the centerpiece. I wish I had taken more photos to share, but the rooms are just darling with antique furniture and a homey, loved feeling about them. We were sad to spend only one night.

Maine_IslandViews

The next morning after a brisk walk to the lighthouse and back, we headed off to Acadia National Park. The views were breathtaking, and the hike fairly mild. Acadia is crowned by Cadillac Mountain—a rocky, mossy landmark. We took the two hour hike, parking at the top to expedite the trip.

Good friends welcomed us into their homes with a tour of the recently constructed Kiln and a great firewood-stacking endeavor. Nothing like industry to pique hunger!

Maine_Marina

After a grand meal and a night’s sleep, we left for Rockport and the Vinalhaven ferry. Vinalhaven is an old mining and fishing island, which hasn’t changed much over the years. Since the car we took across the ferry was loaded with supplies, all but two of us rode our bikes the twenty minutes to the house.

Maine_Lighthouse

The island was just beautiful. Below are two pictures I took while out on a walk. One showcases the greenery and the other is of a house resting in the middle of an inlet.

Maine_Moss

Maine_LakeHouse

Two nights and three lobsters later, we said goodbye to the island and headed back to PA.

Maine_VinalhavenPeople

To see what became of the lobsters, check out my instagram below!

<!–
.ig-b- { display: inline-block; }
.ig-b- img { visibility: hidden; }
.ig-b-:hover { background-position: 0 -60px; } .ig-b-:active { background-position: 0 -120px; }
.ig-b-48 { width: 48px; height: 48px; background: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-sprite-48.png) no-repeat 0 0; }
@media only screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min–moz-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2 / 1), only screen and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min-resolution: 192dpi), only screen and (min-resolution: 2dppx) {
.ig-b-48 { background-image: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-sprite-48@2x.png); background-size: 60px 178px; } }

–>Instagram

Advertisements

McKinsey Survey Projects the World’s Economic Outlook

Cargo ShipThis September, McKinsey made four major projections based on conversations with executives from around the globe.

1. Developed markets will lead growth in the future.

2. Developing market  concerns are unemployment, inflation, and currency depreciation against the US dollar.

3. Political instability is seen as an increasing risk to growth.

4. Concerns of executives by region: Asia-Pacific- low consumer demand; Eurozone- low consumer demand; India- insufficient government policy support; North America- geopolitical instability; both developing and developed countries- low consumer demand.

 

As a market analyst intern for IBM in China, I spent a great deal of time working on economic projections for the Automotive and Fast Food Industries. One of my favorite publications was the McKinsey and Company Global Survey results. I recommend you sign up for McKinsey emails because they have insight into many global and local trends.

Keeping yourself informed in the modern world seems incredibly easy since we are surrounded by news on our smartphones, computers, radios, and TVs. But the quality of the news should be called into question. I frequently find reports that paint a biased or incorrect picture of actual events. Moving forward, be sure to check your sources for credibility. I think biases  are more difficult to navigate, but perhaps analyzing what the party is trying to sell may make their payouts more clear.

The entire report can be found here:  http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/economic_studies/economic_conditions_snapshot_september_2013_mckinsey_global_survey_results

A Brief Hiatus

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your comments and questions. As you know, I have been using this blog for the past couple of months to document my thoughts and travels. This summer has included a six week stint in London and a four week interlude in the Pennsylvanian mountains- Eagles Mere to be exact. The rest has been spent with my four grandparents and close family.

Since I have not posted in a month, apologies are in order, but also some catching up. This August I completed my BSBA Finance degree. These past three years have gone by in a whirlwind. I began as a Political Science major with the intention of entering the foreign service. Then Mandarin classes convinced me to major in Chinese, and after six months in Shanghai, I settled on Finance and Chinese.

After the mentorship of an Executive-in-Residence at my business school, I decided to condense my degree to three years and minor in Chinese.  A final summer at the London School of Economics was the cherry on top of my education. I had the opportunity to compare my schooling against the very best international students in Finance. Not only did I come back with an amazing international network, but I also tested very well against my peers which included graduate and post-graduate students from countries as varying as Pakistan, Denmark, and Mexico.

Today, my graduation certificate came in the mail—which begs the question: what next?

Follow and we shall see. It wouldn’t be any fun to spoil the surprise!

Moon, Pa

Top Spots for Students Studying Abroad in London

There seems to be a deluge of students heading to London. I wanted to put together a list of my top spots for a couple of close friends heading there this fall. These are in no particular order than how I thought of them.

 

Victoria and Albert Museum: The V&A is a huge art and design museum located in South Kensington. It has brilliant exhibits on genres from fashion to ancient art to even textiles and iron work. Furthermore, it’s free!

Churchill’s War Rooms: Centrally located, this is the bunker in which Churchill resided during WWII with his commanders and staff. I spent nearly three hours here, perusing through Churchill’s past and the characters that lived with him.

Regent Street: Shopping galore! This street runs from Piccadily Square to Oxford Street and is great fun to walk through. Make sure to visit the four-story flagship store for Burberry at 121 Regent St.

Camden Town: Quirky and off the beaten track, Camden town is a bit more down to earth than the usual tourist attraction. The old river locks have been turned into a maze of a shopping adventure. Life size metal horses, international cuisine, and an alternative style all mix to make Camden Town a must-see.

Ministry of Sound: Go dance. For hours. Ministry of Sound has the best sound system in the world and some of the best DJs as well. Open til 6am, there are five separate rooms, four bars, and students get 5lbs off the door price.

Cirque le Soir: It gets wild. Both an underground club and a circus, Cirque lets in only the most exclusive crowd and is pricey. Go for Wednesday night’s hop hop party and ladies before 11 get in for free.

Night Run down the Southbank to the Tower of London: The Thames is most beautiful at night when all major landmarks are lit up and the bridge’s lights swoon gracefully. My route began near Westminster and circled over the London Bridge. If you aren’t a runner, then walk and you can grab a couple of drinks along the way.

Harrod’s:  Grandeur! Harrod’s is for people-watching. The people you find here are just as interesting as the Camden Town crowd, but here, they are glamorous. Harrod’s is a place to find everything- fashion, food and drink, and Diana and Dodi’s Memorial. Plus Egyptian Steps! You’ll see what I mean upon arrival.

Ode to Studying Abroad

Map

 

Saying that I like studying abroad is an understatement. Saying that I love studying abroad might even be an understatement. Studying abroad is my thing sounds about right.

I am writing this post to explain why you should go abroad and why you should convince those around you to do the same. Fortunately (unfortunately?) my college career is coming to an end a year early, but in my three years I still managed to fit two international stunts into my Finance major. Since I chose to condense my University experience I will refer to my years numerically rather than by title since this gets a bit confusing when I skip Junior Year for Senior Year.

Coming into University, I knew that I wanted to have at least one experience abroad, and I knew it was going to be China since I had a wonderful Taiwanese roommate in high school and had a chance to visit her home my senior year spring break. She inspired me to begin Mandarin classes during my first semester. The natural progression was to spend a year or a semester in China, testing to see if my career could one day lead me here. So that first winter, I applied online through The Experience Abroad Network to spend Fall of my second year in Shanghai. It ended up being cheaper than a semester at my home University and completely changed the rest of my college career.

What I Learned: 

1.  To be independent

2. To network internationally

3. To look outside the box when it comes to jobs

My sixth month stint in Shanghai exposed me to to a culture and a point of view that I would otherwise never have fully experienced at home. I had to navigate my way through the stickiness of Visas, negotiate with Shanghaiese-speaking taxi drivers, and build relationships with new friends in a foreign land.

It is hard to appreciate the difficulty of functioning in a completely foreign place. Even habits such as rolling out of bed and brushing your teeth become difficult when you cannot use the tap water. Walking to the nearest coffee shop for your morning boost is not just around the corner, it may take you miles to find a western-style place where the food and drink looks familiar. But each little daily detail teaches you not to take conveniences for granted. Being forced outside your safety zone is the only way to expand that zone to include new ideas and experiences and to ultimately grow as a person.

Yes, I am a business women. By networking, I do not only mean for business reasons. I look at networking as a personal web of friends, acquaintances, laughs, and experiences shared. Sure, this web can help you find a job, but it also is comprised of your personal advisors, comedians, and cheerleaders. My network includes people from every school I have attended, every country I have traveled to, every job I have held, and the extension of all of these plus my close friends and family. Through this web, I have gotten into schools, traveled around China, accepted jobs, and found opportunities I would otherwise never have been exposed to. Through the contacts I met in China alone, I interned with IBM, traveled to Seoul, Hong Kong, Hainan, and Chicago, and have a great hope of moving back after I graduate for a job.

Jobs are not 9-5 corporate bubbles anymore. I took my first consulting job based off my experience in China. Two of my friends I met in China are both working on startups, one in tech and one in fashion. My home university led me to believe that the best job out of school is a traditionally structured corporate job. But, from seeing all the opportunities alone in China and in Sino-US relations, I have come to see the world as more of a Build-A-Bear: there are pre-set jobs, and there are jobs that you can create for yourself.

China was my first step into the world of startups and entrepreneurship. My most recent, was to set up a FB group for all my fellow students at the LSE to connect over our passion for entrepreneurship. In two hours, there were 60 group requests. You do not need to go at the world alone.

Finding your passion can also mean building it. Do so by externalizing yourself, by pushing outside your comfort zone and abroad!

 

 

Golden Rice, A Beacon for the Undernourished?

In one of my last undergraduate classes, I took a Bio101 class. It was actually terrible. But the topic of genetically modified food raised a couple of red flags for me. I am a self-professed foodie, an extreme desert-lover, and if given the option (and the money) would go for organic, heirloom food. But how realistic is this when people are starving?

In the 60’s there was a food revolution. The initiative, led by Norman Borlaug, the “Father of the Green Revolution” credited with saving over a billion people from starvation, involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.

It began in 1961 in India, which was on the cusp of a mass famine. Borlaug was invited to India to Punjab to work on the Green Revolution program of plant breeding, irrigation development, and financing of agrochemicals. The International Rice Reseach Institute soon developed IR8, which yielded about 5 tons per hectare with no fertilizer, and almost 10 tons per hectare under optimal conditions. This was 10 times the yield of traditional rice. IR8 became “Miracle Rice”.

Today, we are seeing a need for new solutions, perhaps like the Green Revolution of the 60’s. With a population of over 7 billion humans, the Earth is no longer able to sustain the upkeep of all these lives. So perhaps the solution is similar to the Punjabi “Miracle Rice.”

One of the products that caught my attention was Golden Rice.  Created to combat the shortage of Vitamin A deficiency deaths each year, Golden Rice targets the 670,000 kids under five years old who die every year. Scientists are saying that if fed a normal serving of this rice each day, these deaths need not take place. You can read more here.

It is potentially a great idea, but has many critics. These anti-GMO activists such as Greenpeace say that realeasing GMOs into the world could open a Pandora’s Box, cause a loss of biodiversity, and have long term affect on human health are other factors. Even the UK Parliament has weighed in: “GM foods are banned from restaurants in the Houses of Parliament despite government claims it is ‘probably safer’ than other meals.”

I think this is a good conversation to have. I will choose neither side, but say that there are many ways in which modern science is changing the world. I think only time will tell what is for the betterment of humankind and Earth. In the meantime, stay informed about what you consume because the food around us is changing quickly.

.

Social Media Multitasking Leads to Depression

Have you ever worried about the way social media interacts with you? Sure, the average America spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting, and using social media, but have you ever thought of how this effects our generation?

54 percent of survey respondents said they have tried to decrease their reliance on technology, but studies showed that in fact, usage went up. This constitutes 14% of our week! Think about all the human contact that is lost by way of an average of five hours per week spent on Facebook, four hours on YouTube, and rising interest in other platforms.

Mark Becker from Michigan State University just published his findings on social media and multitasking in “Running Head: Multitasking, Depression, and Anxiety.” He outlines in his abstract:

“Regression analyses revealed that increased media multitasking was associated with higher depression and social anxiety symptoms, even after controlling for overall media use and the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. The unique association between media multitasking and these measures of psychosocial dysfunction suggest that the growing trend of multitasking with media may represent a unique risk factor for mental health problems related to mood and anxiety.”

For me, I see social media as a good way to keep in touch with, and out of touch with, old buddies. It is scary when I run into an old school friend and inadvertently I know exactly what they have been up to. I know where they traveled, which concerts they saw, who they are dating, and ect. All of this without a single human interaction. Is this a relationship? Of sorts, I suppose. But, this stream of data has lost touch with what matters. I have over 1,400 Facebook friends and yet I probably only care about 100. Or even saw 75 of them in the past year. Facebook has become a site to receive a personal ego boost for each photo and “clever” comment you post.

Would you post something which you didn’t expect to be rewarded with a showering of “likes” from your friends? I had a discussion on the bus the other day about this. The guy I was talking to said he always judged his posts by how many interactions he got. If nobody liked his post, then he would take it down, disappointed in the lack of attention. I know that when I have over a certain amount of  likes, I get a little boost in my stride. But is it all a popularity contest about bragging and public appreciation?

At times, I am able to reconnect with friends across the globe and in these instances, I think that FB still holds value. But I am not surprised at all that social media usage is causing depression and multitasking may lead to greater health risks.

If we continue to increase our daily consumption of social media, then our lives become diminished by lack of interaction with the real world. I think that in the future there will need to be help for those whose lives are not lived in the physical world. Afterall, who do you know that posts unattractive representations of themselves? Online is not real, nor is it a good place for one’s self esteem. The real world is wonderfully, chaotically unedited. Be a part of it.

Happy Fourth!

Kodi's Hat

This is one of my last day in the States for awhile. How fantastic that we are able to celebrate~ and Kodi looks so stylish!

This year we celebrated with the lovely residents of Eagles Mere, Pa. The Eagles Mere Fourth of July Parade usually has more participants than viewers and is an event of cheer, color, and patriotism.

DSC_0514

The fire engines are out in full force and the kids climb over them like little monkeys. Adults and monkeys alike delight in the showers of candy raining down upon gleeful spectators and participants.

EM Fourth of July

 

This snazzy Sir was leading the fun!

DSC_0485

 

Wishing everyone a great Fourth and a grand summer!

Better Job Performance through Happiness

The secret to job successes is based merely 25% on IQ. The remaining 75% is optimism, social support, and seeing stress as a challenge. Shawn Achor reports that compensation has minimal real impact upon job performance. What does matter is happiness.

Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what Shawn found was that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed.Which means we can reverse the formula. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully as we’re able to work harder, faster and more intelligently.

NYTimes reports that Google is giving its employees a self-reflection class called “Search Inside Yourself.” In an age where employers are demanding more and more hours of the day, perks such as free food and foosball tables just don’t cut it anymore. Larry Page recently promised on the company website to maintain “a healthy disregard for the impossible.”

Anchor recommends recording three things you are greatful for, journal positive daily occurrences,  meditate to get over cultural ADHD, and personally thank someone. Doing each one of these activities hardwires your brain to look for the positive throughout your day and appreciate what is around you.

Happy working!

Kuelap, Machu Picchu’s Older Brother

Have you heard of Machu Picchu?

Kuelap_bird

Probably,  it is a UNESCO World History site and is visited by two million tourists per year.  What about Kuelap?

Kuelap_viewThe fortress of Kuelap just as historically relavent, but is located in a rather obscure a part of North Peru. Legend tells the Chachapoyas were a race of blond, blue-eyed people whom the Incans described as “tall and fair.” The site is nestled in the Amazonian Andes, a rugged, remote area of deep ravines and soaring precipices shrouded in cloud forest.

Kuelapmt_stairs

Entering through the very narrow yet impressive entrance way we arrived within the complex to find an extensive number of ruins hidden under a jungle of brightly colored Air-plants, Bromeliads and Orchids.

Kuelap_jungle

There were no other people during our four hour tour, and the forest has reasserted itself: roots break through walls, moss crawls over a guinea pig run, and the wildlife runs rampant.

Kuelap_Village

Kuelap is the largest ancient building in the Americas and is estimated to contain 3 times more stone material in its construction than the largest pyramid at Giza, Egypt. The city holds more than 400 round homes and is 600 meters long, 110 meters wide, and the walls tower more than 60 feet.

Kuelap Huts

It was in much better condition than Machu Picchu upon discovery and carbon-dating puts the initial construction in the 6th century. Note: Machu Picchu was inhabited during the 15th century.

Kuelap_hut

Only 1% of tourists visiting Peru journey to the north of the country and only a tiny fraction of these few visit Kuelap. I highly recommend the trip, though the eight hour car ride is a bit arduous. But the cloud people have left us a fortress to surpass even the widely publicized Machu Picchu.

Kuelap_snakeThese carved characters were near the main gate of the structure. There were faces, snakes, birds, and many other inscriptions.

For further reading about the Chachapoyas people and Kuelap click here.

  • Author’s Profile

    Jessie

    Jessie

    Entrepreneur, traveler, adventure-finder.

    View Full Profile →

  • Follow me on Twitter:

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Advertisements