September Update: Culture & Communication and Tough Mudder

It’s week 6 in business school! I still haven’t had any exams but they’re on the horizon. You still can’t ask me if it’s hard or not. For one of my classes, I had to turn in a team paper a few weeks ago and our second team paper is due tomorrow. It’s a pretty interesting experience because I haven’t had to work with a team of all Americans (from the US) in a very long time. I see myself as a great team player who gives everyone enough space to contribute and be creative. I must seem like the hippy to my group because I like to work in sometimes seemingly overly-cooperative way. Its not my natural state but it’s just how I’ve learned to work through my involvement in CISV. It’s not always the fastest method, but it gives everyone an equal share in the group. It reminds me of this article from “Communication Charts Across the World“.

Here’s the American communication style and the Swedish style (click to see detail):

american vs swedish communication styleI find my style to be some combination of the American and Swedish styles. If you look at all the charts on the site, the Swedish one is the only one with the curly-Q in the middle in order to build consensus. I definitely do that. I don’t have a problem talking for a while in order to find the best solution for the group. If there are more stressing time constraints, I’m more likely to want to go with the more American way of putting all your cards on the table.

I’ve been part of some pretty cool events in the last month. I completed Tough Mudder, joined my sister at the MuckFest for MS mud run, volunteered at a Peace Day event, and went downhill mountain biking. See the pictures below!

Tough Mudder (2)

Looking down at the end of the course. Snowmass is a beautiful place for a race.

tough mudder before and after

Below: Me getting pulled up Everest. At this point in the race, my calves were shot so I really needed the help to get up.

Tough Mudder (3)

Tough Mudder (1) This was my favorite obstacle. I’ll have you notice that there are no mats below and no spotters.

Tough Mudder (5)

And if you didn’t think it was tough enough, look at the the elevation change of this race. Those were super steep climbs. Overall the thing was like a fast hike, not a run.

The following weekend my sister ran another mud run called Muckfest MS. Its definitely more fun than Tough Mudder. There are 16 obstacles in 5k! Last year it was a 5 mile run but apparently during the backwoods section someone saw a bear. They shortened it this year. Alex ran it like a pro with two other friends of ours. We had sweet tie-dye shirts from our team Amazed by Amanda which is in honor of our long-time friend Amanda who was diagnosed with MS during college. I wish I had participated but its an expensive race if you sign up late and I wasn’t sure what my body would feel like after Tough Mudder. I was happy to run along the course to take pictures and support my sister.

Alex and me after MuckFest MS

Alex and me after MuckFest MS. This is after the garden hose shower so she isn’t very muddy.

September has been a busy month between work, school, and social events. Of course, the busier I am, the more I’m getting done. I even managed to get the new iPhone 6 in less than an hour without pre-ordering it!




Back to School… Again

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve seen me use the hashtag #backtoschool. I’m not mocking the rugrats or getting excited about upcoming sales. No, my friends, I’m going back to school. Cue the Adam Sandler:

I’m going to grad school to get my MBA at CU Denver.


I’ve always thought about going to B School but this year, as I joined the Quarter Century Club, decided to finally pull the trigger. I can’t live the life of leisure (#lifeofleisure) forever without making some more dinero (that’s money for those of you who don’t speak Spanish). Its not all about money though. I’ve got to build on my current skillset to excel in business.

People at the university like advisers and professors say that along with each class, I should expect to spend 10-20 hours studying. I doubt that but at the same time, I anxiously await it. Everybody has a different experience with school and my hope is that I can still have a social life and do well in school. Good luck to me.

Any tips, hints, tricks etc for getting through B School are welcome!

Exciting Upcoming Week: Comedy, Party, and Colombia

This week is going to be awesome. I’m seeing Chelsea Handler, going to our annual A-Bay Party, and travelling to Colombia.

I’m going to see Chelsea Handler perform in her Uganda Be Kidding Me show tonight at the Bellco Theater in Denver. I have a great seat up close. None of my friends wanted to shell out the big bucks to see her (cheapest tickets were $80) so I spent some of my Christmas present money to buy myself a ticket. I’m pumped.

chelsea-handler uganda be kidding me

Tomorrow my ski house is having our annual A-Bay party. It’s a day of ridiculousness when we all show up at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area tailgate, party, and maybe snowboard all day long. This year I have a sweet pair of retro skis to debut. I hope we keep the tradition of building a jump and generally creating a scene.

Abasin Party pic by Mark Miranda

Finally, on Tuesday, I’m flying to Colombia! That’s right. I’m flying to South America for the week. I’ll be delivering a four day training on one of the international programs of CISV called Village. For the other few days of my trip, I get to explore the city of Medellin. Wish me luck and let’s hope I survive the next week and a half without fun-overload!

Location of Colombia

My Trip to Portugal

Wow, this is so long overdue. As in, nearly a year overdue. I had a draft written but never finished it up. I am not as great at posting travel as I used to be. The reason I went to Portugal is for CISV. It was the Regional Training Forum (RTF) for Europe South! From March 26-March 31, over a hundred learners gathered from about 22 countries. We had FIVE trainings going on including Interchange, Seminar, Step Up, Train the Trainer (TTT), and Village. 

RTF Portugal March 2013Because I’m part of the International Village Committee (IVC), TTT trained, and had availability for that week, I got to go to Portugal. Hitting that trifecta is difficult which is why there weren’t two Village trainers from Europe. My fellow trainer is from Egypt. That made creating the training challenging with the 9 hour time zone. But, we prevailed and were able to plan ahead.

Our trainees ranged from staff to planners to a JC. We had the spectrum of participants, ages, and countries. As Village has a strong emphasis on the content area of diversity, this group was quite fitting. It was one of the most interesting CISV experiences I’ve had as an adult. A year later, I still have favorable memories of the good times we had.

After the training, I had just under a day to explore Lisbon. I did what I could. Oh, and I accidentally walked the city in the completely wrong direction. I did that in Vancouver too (twice!). It was mainly because I know absolutely zero city-navigation Portuguese. I can say good morning and good night along with various phrases all day long, but not so much with the signs I saw in the city. When I finally met up with my friend and host for the night, we went to a small gathering and hung out. Since I had stayed up the night before until the crack of dawn and walked around Lisbon all day, I was so tired I could barely put sentences together. The funny thing was, in Portugal, they stay up really late at night. I probably got 4 hours of sleep before my taxi arrived the next day. Zero sleep on top of 6 hours of jet lag on top of travel problems on top of language barriers makes for a fun and exciting trip.

I had a interesting time with traveling this time around. My travel troubles…

  1. Plane leaves late from Detroit to Paris
  2. Sprinting through Charles de Gaule to make it to next flight including a ticket check, passport control, and security.
  3. Not being able to get money from my debit card at an ATM.
  4. Air France losing my flight reservation from Paris to Atlanta

Thankfully I made it on time to the training and home on the flight I had booked originally! Travel schedules can get messed up but you just have to go with the flow. It probably helped that I was so tired I couldn’t expend enough energy to care.

I took a bunch of photos of my time in the city and at the training (about an hour outside of the city). Take a look if you have time.

Check out all my photos from the trip (click here)