Newwwww Haven!

Spent the weekdays this summer in New Haven, Connecticut interning for a really cool organization called Innovations for Poverty Action. They do high-quality research trials in everything from economics to health and education. I was excited to help on a project whose topic I knew virtually nothing about: savings practices. We basically had a small army of interns posted in 11 countries who carried out a survey on how people save money even if they don’t have access to a bank. People find a lot of ways to save money, including village savings groups, savings collectors who come around to your house each week to collect the money, etc.

I got to work with a great group of people—not quite public health geeks, but the economics equivalent 🙂  It was lovely having time (read: NO HOMEWORK!!!!) to embrace the joys of summer: free outdoor concerts, hiking, BBQs, running, running from dinosaurs…

Hey look, it’s a… giant dinosaur?!

Summer kayaking = small slice of heaven

Trumpeter swan & babies! They look small because they’re 20 feet away but they’re actually huge

And in addition to having two super-cool roommates, I also lived with 4 cats. Yes, that is a lot of cats. And why yes, there WAS cat hair on everything 🙂 But when you meet these cats, you don’t really care, because they were so funny and sweet-tempered that you could just snuggle them up and watch them fall asleep on your lap. And then proceed to DASH across the room at top speed with no warning, knock a lamp over, fall off a table… all because they saw a fly they wanted to chase.

We love us some cardboard boxes

So maybe I did become a crazy cat lady over the summer… guilty as charged 🙂
Finally, it was a summer of great bike rides with my Dad. We went several times with his biking group, where people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s go out on a Sunday and ride 30-70 miles! So inspiring!! We worked our way up too, and in late August took a two-day ride in Northern Vermont (10 miles from Canada!) totaling 112 miles. Our first day’s ride of 67 miles I think was the longest I’ve done at once, so that felt awesome. More than awesome actually – going uphill becomes not tedious but JOYFUL, because you know that the hill is just temporary and that you have everything you need to get up it. (Now if I could just apply that certainty to all life’s tests!)  And zooooooming downhill, when you know that the road is clear, you don’t have to stop in the middle, and you can just let yourself go, gradually picking up speed to 25, 30, 35 and even 40 mph… WHAT A RUSH!  And this Vermont trip was a palette of long stretches of forest (so thick you could SMELL the pines!), hills of farmland where cows could roam around outside and eat grass (does it say something about our typical meat production system that this scene brought tears to my eyes?)…  So yeah, basically Vermont + biking rocks 🙂

Dad just rode 100 miles last weekend! Pretty cool in my books 🙂

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