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Mar 14, 2014

Top 10 Things I Will Miss About India

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It’s been a month since I left Mother India and as I fear memories are starting to fade and my appetite for Indian food is ramping up again, it’s time to get down the top 10 things I will (do) miss about India. If for nothing else, this is meant to remind me when I’m 35 with screaming kids, what it was like to be young, free and tromping around India. (this is in no particular order)

1. Cows: You may or may not know this but I love cows. They are my spirit animal, ever since I was in the 3rd grade. At Build-A-Bear, while others were stuffing their cute Teddy’s, I was stuffing a cow. My frist Nokia cell phone cover? Cow print. So you can imagine how great it was to live in India! Cows everywhere!!! It’s awesome and I’ll miss it. Back to old boring American streets, no livestock in sight, boo!

2. Staring: I’m a big starer, which in the states probably weirds a lot of people out, but I’m just interested! Human beings are endlessly facinating and I just want to look at them. Luckily, in India, staring is a-okay! I got stared at a TON. Like deep, soul-penetrating stares. Which was great, because I could stare right back! 

3. Food: Hey, remember that time in America when you got a really good meal for less than $0.50? Yea, last time that happened was in like 1953. Last time that happened for me, was in India. It was an set dosa at “stand up” Konark. It was really good and really cheap. Oh, I miss you, cheap eats!

4. Autos! I never thought I would miss those three-wheeled little buggers, but the taxi pales in comparison. Nothing like the wind in your hair and the engine screaming as you weave in and out of traffic. Plus Auto drivers were always good for some mid-day humor. 500rs to go 2km! GTFO, Boss.

5. Indian English: The way English sounds coming from an Indian is nothing short of amazing. The sound is so wonderful! The cadence and intonations, intoxicating! Not to mention, little phrases like “Bangalore, only Boss” are just really fun. I miss it and the Indians in America now think I’m weird as I engage them in meaningless conversation just to hear their voice. #creepy #Idontcare

6. Bartering: America with it’s stupid set prices. You honestly want me to buy that lettuce for $2.50, I’ll give you $1 and not a penny more! (does not fly in Trader Joe’s or even at the Farmer’s Market). I seriously went to the flea market just to keep up my skillz. And to buy a bar cart (hipster).

7. Adventure! Walk outside and you never know what you’re going to get. You may get hit by a two-wheeler, you may  need to employ your long jumping skills to traverse the “sidewalk”, you may meet a really nice Auntie who wants to adopt you, really, anything can happen.

8. Expat Lyfe: Being an expat is amazing. Everyone is interesting, everyone is down to do fun things, it’s awesome. You only have a finite time to explore the country, so you get out and DO IT! (I had a particularly badass group of friends, so that helped)

9. Being Different: It’s nice to be different sometimes… you are one in a few… and thus just being you elicits a story. In Amurica, I’m just another white girl.

10. People: There are 1.3 billion people in India and I think only like a couple of assholes. Hospitality, genorosity, honesty. I should really divide honesty out, because I just LOVE how Indian people say it like it is, “Madame, you are looking very tired today”, “Madame, you are looking very fat”, etc. 

(things I don’t miss include: no sidewalk sanctity, no sidewalks, shitty air quality, filtered water (yay American water!), carbs/ghee galore, lack of cheese, etc)

In summation, I miss India dearly and can’t wait to go back, but America, you aren’t so bad, you clean and expensive country, you!

Feb 6, 2014

Bangkok! Grand palace + wats + iced coffee in a box

Jan 26, 2014 / 1 note

Cambodia adventures! Siem Reap- Angkor Wat, Banyon, temples, temples, temples

Jan 8, 2014

In Search of Khao Soi

Perfectly paved roads, ability to look up while walking down a sidewalk, street food that won’t make you sick! Oh, the wonders of Thailand! After 6 wonderful months of living in India, I jaunted to Thailand for a little R&R and adventuring. It was refreshing and admittedly, a little hard to leave. I love my dear India, but the honk-less Thai country stole my heart for a hot second.

Specifically, Chiang Mai. It was so good to see hipsters! Their coffee! Their skinny jeans! Their exposed brick and art galleries! Chiang Mai is the culture capital of the North. The second biggest city in Thailand, is quaint and charming, brimming with delicious food to try and coffee galore. 

Eleanor and I found ourselves in search of the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, a popular dish of the area, sometimes called “Chiang Mai Curry Noodles”. Encouraged by our hipster surroundings, Eleanor found the best Khao Soi place in Chiang Mai, according to famed PDX Chef, Andy Ricker, of Pok-Pok . Next thing I new we were wandering aimlessly down a long, long road, in hopes of finding this elusive, ‘Best Khao Soi’. 

We arrived at Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham, a bustling hole-in-the-wall, ready to get our Soi on. I’m a pescatarian, but I’m all about experiencing a culture via food, and in Thailand, that means being a ‘flexitarian’. I had the Khao Soi chicken and we also had the chicken skewers, with maybe the most amazing chunky peanut sauce in the world. Worth it? Yes. See amazing deliciousness below…

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If you find me living in Chiang Mai in 5 years, remember this blog post and think, she’s truly made it. 

In my next post, I will discuss the best way to be rolled out of Thailand post-food coma. 

Dec 7, 2013

Focus on the Money and the Impact will Come

I’ve been meaning to get my thoughts down on this subject for a while and now that I have one month left at work and two months left in India, it seems like it’s now or never.

One of my biggest take aways from my experience in India and working at Unitus Seed Fund is the fallacy of the ‘social enterprise’. Through my work I’ve had the chance to look at a lot of ventures and I’ve been able to understand which of these ventures are winners and why.

The ventures that are really going to make it, that will scale, make money, and also impact the Base of the Economic Pyramid, are those that have found a legitimate market opportunity. Their founder wants and intends on making money. 

The problem today is that the concept of blending profit and purpose resonates with so many people that aspiring entrepreneurs are looking at social problems first and then trying to figure out how to make a for-profit business to solve said problem. I think this is inevitably going to build a crappy (read: unviable) business. If starting a for-profit venture is your objective, focus on the market opportunity (how you’re going to make money) first. If you want to start a business, figure out what your passionate about. What gets you excited. Be broad— education, technology, cleaning products.

For me, it’s food (literally everything about it). Are there a ton of social problems around food? Yes. Are there also a lot of market opportunities and ways to make money? Yes. I’m going to try to solve B before I solve for A. If you’re a person why gives a damn, I’m guessing the market opportunities you’re going to find, might just have some impact baked in. And those ventures are the most likely to actually make a profit and an impact. 

Ina Garten is practically a social entrepreneur. 

It’s like the old saying, “do what you love and the money will come”, except I’m changing it to “pursue your passion, look for market opportunities, and the impact will come”. Okay, that may not be written over an instagram’d picture anytime soon, but you catch my drift. 

If you are impact first, don’t for get about the good old nonprofits. That will be a blog post for another time, titled: “Why everyone be hatin’ on nonprofits?”

Dec 4, 2013

Last but not least- we stayed in the backwaters and did an epic bike ride followed by another beautiful sunset

Dec 4, 2013

Next up: houseboating! We encountered a bbeeaaauutiful sunset, good seafood and lots of relaxation

Dec 4, 2013

Hayden Visit pt 2! Kerala— cooking classes with Maria, drinks in Fort Kochi and kayaking through the backwaters

Dec 4, 2013

Hayden’s Visit to India pt 1! We started off in Coorg with hikes and elephants!

Nov 6, 2013

Happy Diwali!! Fun weekend in Bangerz featuring Grover winery, Nandi Hills and crackers!