Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spring Time Adventures: Sloan A Cappella

In college I sang in an all-female a cappella group, Nothin’ but Treble. In fact I met my husband Brad through a cappella! He was in the guys group Sympathetic Vibrations. I haven’t had a chance to sing a cappella since but awesome Aditya Nag decided to start a group at MIT for grad students. Brad was the director last year and Aditya was the business manager. They made a killer pair, which resulted in a fantastic year of casual, fun a cappella. We got to perform at a couple Sloan town halls, an art gala, and Sloan Follies. 

(I'm the second soloist...and if you watch through to the second song I actually rap too.) :-)

Spring Time Adventures: Sloan Gala

The beautiful LGO ladies- we can do math AND look this good!

Brad loves any excuse to wear his tux so when the tickets for Spring Gala came available we jumped on it! I’m so glad we did too because it was a stinking blast! We went to Newport, RI in the fall but this time we got to do the Cliff Walk, which was beautiful. Sloan rented one of the beautiful Newport mansions and had a delicious dinner followed by dancing. I didn’t want the night to be over!
Outside the mansion

Any excuse to wear a tux...

The Crails looking lovely as always
(I think they always look so good because they are from Texas.) :-)
Check out Nish's sweet white shoes
Beautiful day the morning after

 Cliff Walk!

Spring Time Adventures: Camp Sloan

Some of my favorite folks at Sloan sporting the Camp Counselor shirts
Another highlight from the spring semester was Camp Sloan. 100 Sloanies went over two weekends to cabins in New Hampshire. I volunteered to be a camp counselor and had a blast! The cabins were deep in the woods not near car-accessible roads so we hiked all our gear up the mountain. ‘Campers’ were selected to create a good mix of 1st and 2nd years, and other Sloan programs (SDM, LGO, MFin, etc). 

The outdoors environment seemed to break down walls that seem to exist normally on campus. We had a late-night dance party, some of the more daring counselors set off fireworks, and some even more daring others actually got in the freezing cold lake! The next day we took a 3 or 4 hour hike up to the top of a mountain that had great views of the surrounding area.

Killer hike
('killer' literally, I was pretty scared at this point when we were climbing this ladder!!)
We made it to the top!
The best part of the trip though had to be seeing Sunish Gupta, a (now graduated) SDM student, hike up to the cabins. Sunish started losing his vision about 10 years ago and is now legally blind. The hike was not easy for many of the campers with sight so you can imagine what a daunting task this was for Sunish. Chengran Chai and I had the opportunity to help him step-by-step up that mountain. Chengran held his hand to steady him and we warned him of each rock/tree/root along the way. I talked or sang in front as it helped for him to follow my voice. I ran out of songs by the end of our three-hour journey! Sunish is so incredibly brave. I had the honor of getting to have dinner with his family several months afterward and got to meet his three daughters (13, 2, and a newborn) and his wife (who is also blind). They are SO inspiring!!!
Sunish and Chengran
Check out his story HERE

Spring Time Adventures: Dancing

My Sloanie Semester

My first fall semester at Sloan I didn’t have much time to get involved in many Sloan activities (8 classes/71 units will do that to you!).  In the spring however, my internship at MGH was so close to campus that I could come back for lunch meetings and with zero homework to complete, I could make nighttime meet-ups. The next few posts will highlight all the fun I had last spring!

C-Function Group Dances

"I hate you like I love you" dance
One of my favorite things I did spring semester was dance in essentially all of the C-function dances. Sloan clubs throw a “cultural” (or ‘C’) function almost every Thursday night during the school year. It is a chance for clubs to share their national pride with the rest of the class. I danced in the European, Israeli, Brazilian, Indian C-functions and the Sloan Follies variety show. My favorite has to be the Indian dances. I had the chance to learn Bollywood style dance from the amazing teachers Rashi Gupta and Asha Parekh. I think the Indian C-Function show was definitely the best one of the year (in my opinion). The show ended with me doing the splits (!!) front and center. It was crazy and SO much fun! I loved getting to know more Sloanies through the hours and hours of practices.

Still able to do the splits? check!
Check out the video HERE (I'm the reflectively white one in the middle) :-)
Sloan Follies Dance - "Who rules the world? GIRLS!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

International Plant Trek - Tokyo, Japan

After saying goodbye to our CLGO friends we headed to Tokyo, Japan. Our accommodations were fantastic (thanks Nori!), I ate the most amazing food (thanks Brian!), and everyone was so incredibly polite there.  I would definitely go back in a heartbeat!
The toilets were ah-mazing. They sang, heated up, made water noises, and had a boy or girl bidet. Check yes.
Our rowdy neighbors. :-)

The first night we headed out to Shibuya. We met up with LGO 14 Brian Chang who impressively speaks Mandarin, Japanese, and English. He was our guide that evening (and several other nights) and found us some delicious Japanese food. Shibuya is famous for the largest intersection in the world. The crosswalk was huge! 

We toured Sony and Nissan in Japan. Nissan opened their factory just to us on a holiday- it was super nice of them! Sony gave us a fantastic tour. It started in their showroom with all the latest Sony technologies including lots of 3D cameras and screens (it was crazy seeing yourself in 3D on a green screen), a speaker in the for of a wire surrounded by glass that radiated sound 360 degrees (it also was the same volume 6 inches away as 6 feet away), and the future of HDTV- 4K.
The sweet 360 speaker

During our free time we saw lots of fun Tokyo sites:

The Tsukiji Fish Market
We got up super duper early one morning to go see the fish market. I’ve never seen seafood on this scale before. It was insane!! The best part was the ridiculously fresh sushi for breakfast- yummmm!
Those are scallops, people. The size of your fist.

Octopus anyone?

All in a day's work

Senso-ji Temple – Asakusa
Tokyo’s oldest temple completed in 645.

Meiji Jingu, Shibuya

Tokyo National Museum

Ueno Park – cherry blossoms

Ginza - upscale shopping district

Imperial Palace

Harajuku – Electronics district

FOOD- The food was soooo delicious...
We ordered this meal without us speaking a lick of Japanese and the staff not speaking a lick of English.  Great success!
Nori planned a fantastic dinner for the group. Unlimited sake is dangerous!
Japanese potato pancakes- yummm.
Ordering was tough but we had Brian Chang who made it a breeze!
Brad with his octopus balls
Crepes from heaven
This was my last meal in Japan. I wasn't hungry but I had some yen left and wanted just one more glorious meal in Japan so I went by myself to a restaurant and it was awesome.
Japanese Onsen

My favorite experience from the trip had to be our trip to Oedo-Onsen a little outside of Tokyo. Relaxing in the hot springs was so nice! I even tried Dr. Fish where little fish came and exfoliated my feet (aka got their dinner). Awesome experience!

We were very sad to leave Tokyo. It was a wonderful trip and I can’t think of a better group of folks to travel across the globe with!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

International Plant Trek- Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Last summer, the China LGOs visited us in Boston. It was one of the highlights of the summer program getting to host them. In March, we had the opportunity to go and visit them in Shanghai.

The flight over was long but it makes a world of difference traveling with a big group of friends. Anytime during the trip we had to wait somewhere or do the stuff that is typically pretty annoying on vacations, it was a blast because you had 50 other fun-loving folks to chat with.

One of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University students greeted us at the airport and took us to our hotel. That evening the CLGOs hosted a big Chinese dinner with more than you could ever eat served family style. It was interesting eating ‘real’ Chinese food- not our Americanized version.

The next day we split up in groups and had tour guides that took us through the city. We visited the Shanghai Museum, had another impressive lunch, and the Yu Yuan Gardens. I unfortunately just had to get one more picture (at least the picture is pretty good!) and ended up getting four of us lost from the group. It was dark, none of us spoke mandarin, we didn’t have cell phones, or a map. We problem solved and got ourselves to the next stop, which was seeing the Bund at night. We never connected with the group but we did manage to get ourselves home!
Shanghai Museum

Yummy chicken heads for lunch
Yu Yuan Gardens

The pic that got us lost- sorry guys!!

The Bund at night

Also while in China we visited a Nike distribution center and one of Cisco’s supplier factories. Everything they showed us looked anything you might see in America- super clean, productive, and positive work environments.

Marie at the Nike distribution center

Our last night in China, the CLGOs took us to Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu) for dinner. It was over the top!
Brad flew into Shanghai a couple days late because of a friend’s wedding he was in, but he caught up on the sights while we toured the plants. The last day in Shanghai we got to do a little sightseeing together.

Before we knew it, it was time to fly to Japan!