Change Yourself…Change The World.

New York, New York
March 20, 2010, 12:42 am
Filed under: USA

Dearest friends,

This post is a looooong one, so get ready.

I just did one of those things where I read back on some of my old blog posts, through all of the countries I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had. And then I think, ‘Wow, my life was SO unbelievable. So incredible. So amazing.’ I am so lucky.

I have been back in the United States for four months now. At times, it can be difficult and depressing for me. I don’t have a lot of time for spontaneity in my life these days- mostly I am stuck in this drudgery of finishing my degree and graduating- which includes long classes with large amounts of homework, a huge thesis to write, an internship (though I LOVE where I’m working, it is time-consuming), and all kinds of internships, fellowships, and jobs that I’m applying to for the future. All while trying to balance some sort of social life, an exercise schedule, valiantly trying to home cook my own meals, and trying not to stress out too much that I’m about to graduate into a recession. To top it off, New York is cold and that is difficult for me since I have been living in hot climates for the past eight years.

But I am still having some unbelievable experiences, and so I will focus on the positives. First positive: I have the unbelievable opportunity to be working with The Acumen Fund this semester, my absolute dream organization. I don’t even know where to begin with how amazing this experience has been so far. I first heard of them while I was back interning with Grameen Bank, but I didn’t know much about them. Then, after a long and tumultuous journey wading through a research project on the efficacy of micro-finance, I returned home this December wondering what my next step would be- and it landed right in my lap, literally. My Dad heard of the Acumen Fund through an article in the New York Times, and bought me The Blue Sweater for Christmas.

The Blue Sweater is a phenomenal book by Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder of the Acumen Fund. It is about her life; she was first a banker at Chase Manhattan for three years, and then traveled all around Africa kick-starting micro-finance programs (yes- way before it was mainstream). She got her MBA at Stanford and went on to work with the Rockefeller Foundation. Through all of her unbelievable experiences and knowledge that she attained, she founded The Acumen Fund in 2001, which is a venture fund that invests in local companies in developing countries that are geared towards poverty alleviation. Their term, which they have coined patient capital is the most progressive and innovative tool for alleviating poverty I’ve ever learned about. Jacqueline herself is an absolutely unbelievable person, and I identified so much with her story: the experiences she went through in Africa and what she felt about poverty, what it was like traveling as a lone female, and the thought process she went through to create and carry out so many achievements through The Acumen Fund. I was absolutely hooked.

After reading the book, I joined the Acumen Fund Online Community, and was greeted by Yasmina Zaidman, head of Communications at the Acumen Fund. I reached out to her for a volunteer position at the New York office, and with a little persistence I was thrilled to find out that I could work for them this semester. As I said before, working with them has been a dream come true. I have been doing a lot of work on their online community, and it’s been amazing to see how dedicated and passionate people are towards the Acumen Fund (they truly have a cult following), to have had the opportunities to meet people in the New York area through the New York for Acumen Chapter, and to learn more about the world of social entrepreneurship, a budding field that I have since decided I want to dedicate my life towards. I was even able to meet Jacqueline Novogratz at the office, in which I made an absolute fool out of myself because my mind went blank when I saw her and I blurted out something along the lines of ‘It’s like I’m meeting a celebrity.’ Well, I was. She’s received numerous awards, has talked at TED, and was just featured on CNN International yesterday. Anyway, I have learned so much by working with them and I feel so incredibly honored to have the much-sought after opportunity of working with them at the New York office. Please do check them out, and join the online community (Upside? You will probably get a personalized welcome by me)!

Second positive: My job searches are so far proving to be fruitful. I am very proud to say that I have been finally nominated for a position with the Peace Corps. I was nominated for the Central America region, and I will be working with a business NGO. I leave in February 2011, and I am incredibly excited for the opportunity. Right now I’m in the middle of filling out a very extensive medical packet to get cleared for health.

Third positive: Actually living in New York. New York can be depressing at times- it can be cold, rainy, grey and dark, and difficult to get to places. But there is ALWAYS something to do, to go or see and for many times free- I have many friends in the NYC area, and it’s fun to throw a little spontaneity in my life and randomly go out to a salsa bar for dinner, or check out an impromptu midnight comedy show, or crash a friend’s apartment.

Fourth positive: I am going back out to travel again. I think things would be a lot harder for me if I didn’t know when I would be traveling again. Fortunately, I have already made plans to ensure this will happen, with the Peace Corps. I may also have the AMAZING opportunity to go to China for 11 days after graduation! I would be going with my brother and sister to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai, to see all of the best sights, eat at the most famous restaurants, and even meet some friends along the way. I’m praying that it will go through.

Fifth positive: One of my best friends, Lady The Tramp just moved to New York and I will get to spend all of my free time hanging out with her.

So there is an epic update for you all. New York can be tough at times, but there are definitely upsides. Living and slowly adjusting back to the US again can be tough at times, but it is also nice at the same time to have all of these little conveniences (downside? I’m starting to take them for granted again. But I’ll be traveling soon enough, so I’ll always come back with some fresh perspective). Two more months until I graduate- get ready world, because I’m ready for you!

Last but not least, this blog is going to be MIA for a little while. I feel that it’s not applicable for me to update on here all of the time because I am not currently traveling. There may be a few times where I feel inspired to give an update, but most likely I won’t post on here until I start traveling again. That won’t be long though, so don’t be too sad 🙂

Much love friends!

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Hey Brit…
Wow! I am so glad that you are using that wonderful mind of yours in such a positive way. Your blogs and photographs are fascinating. You are truly blessed with all the amazing experiences you have allowed yourself to have. I’m proud of you and the woman you’ve become. I will continue to follow your blogs…I am a fan…and always have been. Hugs!

Comment by Samantha the old babysitter

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