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Showing posts from June, 2013

The water closet is vehement.

It's past midnight here but I really must write because Laura and I just got home from one of our most memorable nights in Mexico City and probably ever.

We just dined with Jose "Pepe" Casis, our colleague from Centro Mario Molina, and Graciela Reyes Retana, his wife whom I happen to have met two years ago when I accompanied my dad to Mexico on a World Bank trip.

The couple was recently married, and both of these brilliant people are moving to Ithaca, NY shortly to commence their PhD program in Natural Resources at Cornell University, courtesy the Fulbright scholarships they both won in the same field at the same time.

As if this isn't incredible enough, these two are the most enjoyable people to be around imaginable. After a gloomy week of sickness and lack of productivity, I was falling out of my chair tonight because I literally could not stop laughing at Graciela's stories and Pepe's imitations. We all knew a lot about one another soon into the meal, and had…

Markets and Miscellaneous Meandering

Today could not have been a more tiring or beautiful gym-tan-laundry day.

Laura and I rolled out of bed late after a night of birthday festivities and got to work on some matters of housekeeping: laundry, groceries, and fruit-iodizing (produce has to be soaked in water with iodine here in Mexico to compensate for the less-than-ideal water quality). With our things in the dryer, Laura and I headed down to the gym, where we inched our way through the most tiring workout we've done since being here (the effects of last night were clearly tangible).

We met at around 3pm with Louise; our amazingly kind, accomplished, and well-traveled French colleague; at Balderas Metro Station, having kept her waiting for over half an hour. Her patience was not in vain though, as while awaiting for us she found the grand open air library Biblioteca de México where we wandered on the way to Mercado Artesenal de la Ciudadela, a large market where Mexican handicrafts are sold.

We all searched for gifts f…

No hay quinto malo.

Our “postre of the day” initiative got a bit out of hand today, as it is Laura’s birthday, and we have been doing nothing but celebrating since last night. After work yesterday, Laura checked out a nearby museum while I hit the gym, and then we both headed over to Isa’s place with Adriana for a night of rump-shaking and tiramisu-making. Isabel and Laura remained hard at work preparing Spanish cuisine while Adriana and I salsa-ed and meringue-ed to my favorite Latin American playlist (purveyed by the beautiful Colombiana Diana Morales). It was truly a lovely evening exchanging laughs, stories, and dance steps with some of the sweetest people I know.

Back home, I waited until midnight to present Laura with what I thought was a Kinder Sorpresa, her favorite type of chocolate which is readily available in Mexico and not elsewhere. But to my horror, I had purchased several of these little chocolate eggs with surprise toys inside, but by the wrong brand. My first attempt at a birthday presen…

Things making me happy right now

1. Postre of the Day

Laura and I are determined to have tried every typical Mexican pastry from our local bakery by the end of our three-week trip. For this reason, we purchase one dessert a day to split and comment on -- but always with a pain au chocolat on reserve, just in case. Below, find our samples for today.

2. Meditation Mornings

It has been awesome to learn that a number of members of the office practice meditation and yoga -- one of our colleagues, Daniela, even teaches a yoga class! Ariadna and I have decided to do a 15-minute meditation sesh in the conference room when we come in each morning: today was our first day, and it was swell.

3. My Suitcase Surprise

Having clothes to wear again is just the cherry on top! I was more than prepared to be content with my one pair of office slacks and access to all of Laura's tops, but the arrival of my luggage has been like a birthday present: there are things that I don't remember packing and things that I would have been ups…

Sitting, Waiting, Blogging

Laura and I sit listening to the sounds of the street at a Starbucks in “Polancito,” the posh office district near our apartment in Polanco. We’re waiting for our lovely colleague Isabel to join us before we all take a cab to work. My luggage finally came in last night, so I’m a happy camper in my favorite white lace shirt and turquoise Toms, and excited for my half day at the office today.

Our office’s culture is awesome. Centro Mario Molina has this air of progress, with people on the third and fourth floors working on literally ever issue related to sustainability imaginable -- from marine biology to nuclear energy to education for children.

We go in around 8 most days, and as people trickle into the office, they walk around and greet each of their colleagues with a kiss on the cheek and a “buenos dias,” quite a refreshing and affectionate deviation from the nods behind laptops I would expect to get at any other internship. The office space itself is very uplifting: plants and color …

Mariachi, Margaritas, Mesoamerican Mountains

I had mentioned half-jokingly that our night yesterday was going to be a rowdy one, but neither of us was prepared for the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the city shortly after midnight! A bewildered Laura and I ran down to the concierge and were arbitrarily assuaged by the security guard of our apartment complex. After our eventful night, Laura "coaxed" me back to our room, where we were thankful for some much-needed sleep.

We awoke today to freshly squeezed orange juice, and decided to take a girl power day trip to Teotihuacán, a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city, with our flat-mates Adriana and Erika.

First, the four of us climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, with audacious Laura scampering ahead as the rest crawled cautiously up the narrow and steep staircase to the top of the pyramid. Once we had arrived, we took a relaxing tan-and-photos break before descending (which was difficult!) and walking over to the Pyramid of the Moon.  Adriana, Laura, and I climbed this one, whi…

Cajeta-Pouring and City-Exploring

Laura and I had lovely and LONG day today, starting last night with a sleepover with some of her best friends here in Mexico City, Brenda, Lorena, and Marianne. We enjoyed lots of yummy Mexican sweets and a movie which Laura and I slept through, and delicious pancakes with cajeta (like dulce de leche) this morning.

We returned to our apartment with plans to take the Turibus, Mexico City's double decker tour bus, around the city with Adriana.

After stops at Auditorio Nacional, Museo de Arte Moderno, and Monumento de la Independencia, we took a coffee break at Centro Comercial Reforma 222 for a cafecito con cajeta at Cielito Querido, Mexico's proud response to the popularity of Starbucks.

Recharged with caffeine, we caught the bus again to Zócalo, the heart of the historic center of the city. We knew we were approaching by the beautiful sunset-colored dome of the Museo de Bellas Artes.

We disembarked here and strolled around the square and down Madero Street before Adriana and …

Made it to Mexico!

Laura and I are having a blast at our first day of work today, after a tiring whirlwind of re-routed flights, lost luggage, and unauthentic tacos that made our arrival in Mexico yesterday quite eventful. After we finally landed in D.F. last night, we were greeted by the beautiful smiling face of Brenda Obando, one of Laura’s best friends about whom I’ve heard so much and whom it was so awesome to finally meet. 

Her family met us at the airport and escorted us to our apartment in Polanco, a gorgeous new residential complex nestled amidst several swanky malls and a welcoming supermarket. After meeting Adriana, the owner of our apartment, Superama was the first place we went, filling our new fridge with yogurt and mango juice and lots of guacamole.

Then, Adriana gave us a tour of the stunning facilities of our building -- gym, pool, hot tub, bike path -- before we took hot showers and settled in for the night.
We woke this morning at the crack of 6:30, did shots of espresso, and hopped in a…

Talkin' bout my sis

Priya has the craziest, nerdiest, awesomest plans for this summer, and I just needed a venue to gush about it, so naturally I chose my blog. Check out what this rising sophomore is doing before school starts!

June 17th to June 28th: Rowing Camp

This introductory class is designed for youth ages 13-16 who are interested in getting a start with the sport of rowing. The two week class will introduce basic boat-handling and technical skills, and teach new rowers the basics of the sport.

July 7th to July 10th: Young Democrats of America High School Leadership Academy

This unique four-day summer camp will focus on developing the next generation of Democratic Party leaders. Students will participate in leadership workshops and policy panels and will be introduced to the nation’s top Democratic elected officials and Party leaders. YDA will provide an inside view of elections, the media, campaign finance, grassroots organizing, interest groups, the legislative process and careers in politics.



They seem like a pain in the throes of the semester, but it's quite enjoyable to read over them later on -- final papers. I mentioned as I sent up my flare in the middle of second semester woods that I'd be producing work in some areas that mean a lot to me personally and as a scholar, and it's been a rewarding experience to receive feedback on the assignments after the fact and make some edits to them this summer. And so here they are, attached for your optional perusal:

Link to a paper on the influence of Vipassana on mindfulness meditation for Indian Philosophy

Link to a paper on the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River for Environmental Policy

Link to a paper on the female voice in Ovid's Heroides 7 for Latin Elegy

I wish I had a video of our presentation on integration by parts for Calculus, but suffice it to say that Javier and I executed a smooth and fun lesson in our matching teacher outfits.

End-of-semester assignments are my favorite, and I can't wait to…

Another Boston Highlight: Matthew and Jonathan

I would be remiss not to write about a magical experience that I had three times this year, one that I hope will become a permanent feature of my college experience. Javier invited me one day to have dinner with his Harvard host family, a lovely couple named Matthew and Jonathan who live in a beautiful historic house in the South End in Boston. I gratefully agreed, and we both left that first night feeling bowled over and rejuvenated.

Dinners with "the dads" go like this: Matthew picks us up around 7 outside Sever Hall, we fill him in on all shows we're in and the exams we're studying for and the romances we're fumbling with, and he responds wittily, making literary references aplenty. About midway through the drive, he gives Jonathan a call to let him know we're on our way (this is probably when Jonathan starts cooking). We arrive on their Victorian-style street and gape at the architecture and then climb the stairs to their home in awe. We are greeted by J…