Monday, March 31, 2008

A country on the rise...

Not to be outdone by our Western accommodations.
Good news ladies.

Travel Log
SLC>JFK- Status quo. Thanks Delta, boring...
5 hour layover in JFK- Made some calls, ate some wraps in the Luftansa lounge. Before even getting on the plane I developed a new found love for Business class, thanks to that little lounge.
JFK>Frankfurt- Confirmed all preemtive affection for Business class. Got two hours of sleep over the Atlantic. I just couldn't get enough of the movies, music, food, and massage chair!

At Frakfurt airport. Just over my right shoulder you'll see my flight to Delhi.

Frankfurt>Delhi: The fatigue definitely set in here. Fell asleep over Greece, woke up over Afghanistan. Don't worry, they didn't give us any flack! (haha, pun intended...get it? Wah, wah...)

First Impressions
Lanes=guidelines (at best)
Rickshaws look sweet! Need to get into one of those, soon. I'm seeing many many Bajaj scooters buzzing around. And I thought Utah drivers made me nervous! The roads are kept up decently, its just madness. You honk to pass. You turn shoot any gap you can find. A family of four or five on one moto/scooter is not uncommon.

A calm day.
Normally there is a lot more of what I affectionately call the "Indian Straddle" going on. If you have a tire on either side of the lane paint, you'll never go astray.

Foreigners/guests=gods (Drivers words, not mine).
Our driver was the most pleasant man ever. He assured us that guests in India are revered and respected and we will love our time here. He is absolutely right so far!
Met my Indian counterparts yesterday. All are genuine, sharp, and very kind. Many are self-proclaimed "movie buffs", they love music, driving, shopping and anything else a young American would like.

The showers are like the roads...backwards! I had a cold surprise when I moved the shower control to the left. Hot is to the right down here, or at least at the Taj Palace Hotel.
Why won't anyone here let me do something myself! Kind of kidding, but it's a little weird when you use the hotel lobby restroom and there is a little man there to do everything but zip your pants for you. He turns on the water, you wash your hands. He turns off the water and hands you a towel. You dry your hands, he opens the door for you. Its nice and all, but just not the way I live I guess... Maybe I'll get used to it after a month. Roomies...I expect fresh linens and bottled water when I return.
First thing I noticed out of the airport was a beautiful mid-90's Land Cruiser. Needless to say, it was a welcomed, and welcoming, sight.

All in all I am so glad to be here. At a first glance this deep rooted culture and way of life seems incredible. I can't wait to see and experience more!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Curry in a hurry...

My trip to India is right around the corner. Everyone is asking if I'm excited, and the answer is definitely YES! If asked a more open ended question like, "How are you feeling about your trip to India?" My response is a contemplative, "Everything..."

Backing up a little bit to Thursday, Feb 14. A significant day for lovers, but for different reasons for me this year... I work for Hewitt Associates, an HR Outsourcing and Consulting firm that I interned with from Jan to June '07. That internship lead to a job as an internal HR consultant. I work with our own management, consulting with them on any people management issues. At the end of '07 a decision was made to outsource some of that internal HR consulting work to an office we have in Noida, India, just southeast of Delhi. They were on-boarded at the end of November of last year and have been working hard ever since. During their brief time at Hewitt they have learned a lot and made excellent contributions. However, they need a little more polish on some of the cross-cultural consulting skills as well as a little more training to make them less dependence on us in the US. On a team phone call on 2.14 my boss mentioned the need to send a few people from the US over to India to carry this out.

During that call I had a lot of thoughts run through my head about the progress of our new peers in India, my own progress, and how our limited resources in the US could possibly pull this off. Getting to India is a feat in and of itself, and to make it worth going you need to stay a while. In an email to my boss that afternoon I said something to the affect of this: "Just wanted to let you know that if you were asking for volunteers to go to India, my hand is raised. I know I am one of the least experienced consultants, but I am also one of the most mobile. I have no expectations that I'll be asked to go, but just wanted to off my willingness to contribute in any way needed." The next day my boss called and we talked through my email and she was appreciative of me stepping up to assist in whatever capacity needed. In the back of my mind I was thinking, "holy crap, how cool would it be if this actually works out!" Simultaneously really having no expectations of really going.

Two weeks go by and no other word. I really didn't think about it much other than acknowledging that others were probably asked and that was that. I was more than happy with the status quo. Well, later on another team call (Thurs, Feb 28) my boss says the proposal for the trip is in and we are just waiting on the head of HR to give the nod. Again, I thought if I were in the proposal I would have known about it. No disappointment, no second thoughts. After the call I get an instant message from my boss saying, "Want to talk about India?" I gave a prompt, "Yes!" She called and let me know the proposal not only had my name in it, but that it had been approved before the call. She just didn't want to tell the team before she had spoken with those of us going. So she said, "Do you want to go?" Yes. "Can you go for a month?" Sure!

One co-worker, Brian, is over there right now getting things started. On Sunday (3.30), I meet another co-worker, Amy, at JFK and we hit the friendly skies via Frankfurt to New Delhi!

Hundreds of dollars later in Visa application fees, vaccinations, and Malaria pills, I am raring to go! So, in just a months time the course of my spring, career, and international exposure is about to drastically change.

I am very excited to go. With that comes some nerves as well. In a little chat with my old boss while an intern I expressed being both excited and intimidated. His response was that as long as you go with the mindset to learn, you never have anything to be afraid of, its all in how you frame it. That was the perfect advice. There is the expectation that I train my peers well, and no expectation that I know everything. I think I thing more about the former, and that's what weighs on my mind.

This experience should be life changing. I honestly am so grateful for the trust of my boss and peers, the opportunity to learn and develop professionally, and most of all to see and experience a new and amazing place!

I'll be there before I know it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

If you like remixes...

Consider this my small contribution to the recent blogging about the remix DJ's. Specifically Girl Talk and E-603, thank you Daneolicious. This AmpLive album is less about being danced to then it is about just being awesome. Case in point, Charli2na from J5 makes an appearance on Reckonerz. A welcomed treat. So, if you like Radiohead and underground hip hop, then download and enjoy.