Friday, February 29, 2008

Last Day of Gainful Employment

Today is officially my last day of work at the consulting firm I've been with for the past 3 years. It doesn't feel real that I won't be back on Monday and I don't think it will feel like more than a vacation until I'm settled into my new job in India. Besides finishing up an actual consulting project this week, I have written memos, organized data, and made a lot of powerpoint template slides. What I've realized while doing this is that I actually have learned a lot in my time here and have made valuable contributions. My intellectual capital can basically be captured in a 60 page powerpoint presentation, a 5 page memo, and some very well organized databases. That may seem like a depressing realization, but its not. Considering I knew nothing about the industry in which I've worked and couldn't use powerpoint, excel, or access when I started, I think its quite an accomplishment! I only hope that my successors will be able to benefit from the materials I've left behind for them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

For Your Education...

This is an article from the New Yorker in 2006. A friend sent it to me when she found out I was going to be moving to India to work on water projects. It outlines some of the problems in India quite well:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm moving to Hyderabad!

Very exciting news, I finally know where I'm going, when, and why! I am headed to Hyderabad, India for the next year to work with the Administrative Staff College of India ( and the Byrraju foundation ( to help bring 24/7 running water to India. Its shocking that a country as high-tech as India still doesn't really have running water as we know it in the west. I leave on March 21 and can't wait to embark upon a totally new adventure. This opportunity presents me with an incredible learning situation and fits my long term goal of working on environmentally and economically sustainable projects. I'm totally overwhelmed with such a big, exciting change! Now I just have to get my visa approved...

Friday, February 15, 2008


While I have yet to finalize my plans regarding where I'm going and when, I am in the midst of cleaning house on my current life (both literally and figuratively). What this means is that I am dealing with lots and lots of paperwork. Dealing withmy health insurance COBRA, car insurance, mail forwarding, getting security deposits, tax refunds, 401k rollover, visa applications, etc. is completely overwhelming!

I remember being a kid and not understanding how grown ups dealt with life. How do you open a bank account? How do you know how to register a car? What do you do to enroll in health insurance? The fact that my parents (and every other grown-up) seemed to just know how to do these things was a source of total bewilderment for me. My mother explained that its complicated, but you just filled out the paperwork, made some phone calls and followed up on things. Well, that was an understatement. While I was amazed by the ability of grown-ups to deal with life as a kid, I'm more amazed by it as an adult! Clearing fraud from my bank account, applying for more pages in my passport, finding housing abroad and planning side trips with friends are not easy things to accomplish.

If they overwhelm me, a fairly intelligent and well-educated person with relatively simple life, how do other people deal with them? I can't imagine dealing with these logistics while also owning a home, raising kids, and being responsible for all their paperwork too. What is even more amazing is that all these things do seem to get done. In spite of the frustration, incompetence, and ignorance I have felt, I've managed to take care of the paperwork in my life. Maybe by the time I get to home ownership and children I'll be an expert on paperwork and it will be a snap.

As a side note, I recently had my passport returned to me after requesting additional pages. I opened my passport to find new pages TAPED in. Yes, they took clear plastic tape and used it to stick in some new pages. I was shocked. How incredibly unofficial and slightly embarassing. "Yes immigration officer, this is my official document stating who I am and granting me entry into the country, please don't mind the fact that it's taped together."