Things I’ve Noticed…

Tonight, the NatGeo education team had a staff party. While conversing among the other employees and their families, it occurred to me that I’ve noticed many differences between DC and the midwest/west part of the country – and talking with other people confirmed what I’ve been thinking.

-People in the midwest/west are definitely friendlier as a whole. One gentleman was telling me a story about how in Rhode Island, where he lived for 5 years, people were closed off from each other and did not allow people into their social circles. Another woman was telling me that she use to live in New York for many years and people either love it or hate it. So when people love it they stick around forever and yet again, people do not let new people into their old social circles. My own personal experience has been very much the same – people do not chit-chat on the train, they do not smile at each other, and people drive like they are stunt-drivers aka insane! A few weeks back I was pushed on the train and sprained my foot because a guy was in a hurry to get wherever he needed to go. Granted, these are generalities – but when I lived in Iowa, people waved and smile while driving down the road. Living in Colorado, i’ve had similar experiences – people are nice. I’ve had a few pleasant conversations on this side of the country, but generally, people have a cold exterior.

-Along the same lines, some people are meant for the city, and there are people definitely not meant for the city. On the metro the other day, a woman complained so loudly that she hated the crowded rail system and she was pissed when people pushed her out of the way to get through the door when she didn’t move out of their way. It amazes me how many people lack awareness of other people. Maybe it’s a trait people are born with, but i’m willing to bet that it is skill parents didn’t teach their children was essential to being a human. That’s right, I used the word “essential.” People need to be aware of others and treat each other with more respect and kindness. Granted this woman’s outburst (to no one in particular) was uncalled for, but her underlying message was that people need to be more conscientious of one another.

-Never, ever underestimate people! People are shocking – in both good and bad ways – but you will never know or learn those things if you do not give people a chance. I think it’s ironic that the type of things you learn about people is the small town things you would never expect – like meeting someone who’s brother was in Thailand at the same time I was or knowing someone who grew up just 30 minutes from my house in Iowa, or realizing that the six degrees of separation is surprisingly easy to find.

-The weather is bizarre, no matter where you are in the country. In Iowa, we had a saying that read, “If you don’t like the weather, give it a few days.” In Colorado, the saying went, “If you don’t like the weather, give it a few hours.” In DC, it doesn’t matter what the weather is, it sucks all the time anyways. It’s muggy and rainy all the time (I wish I was over exaggerating). Apparently, someone had the genius idea that we should place the nation’s capitol in a swamp…

-When you find something you love, it clicks. I absolutely love what i’m doing at NatGeo – so much so, that i’m considering changing what I want to be when I grow up and become a “real” adult. There’s many inspirational stories that do just that – they inspire me – to do more, to see more, to help more, to “be a hummingbird.” Wangari Maathai’s video of the hummingbird is so powerful it made me well with tears and then I realized that I want to permanently be a hummingbird to those that can’t help themselves.

So to wrap it up, i’ve learned alot in my short time in DC. I’m thankful i’m a geography major though. I’ve learned so much because I have this beautiful lens that allows me to look at things with more perspective and understanding – I feel like. But it’s more than that, geography allows me to feel connected to the world and to others, and that’s why people need geography in their lives.

Staff party + sangria + geography = one hell of a good time!


Ohio Exotic Animals

I’m literally outraged by this situation! It could have been prevented 100% and instead this terrible tragedy ensued and over 45 exotic animals died. Personal bias aside, I can see why someone would want to keep exotic animals, there is a mystery and a lure to owning them, as well as excitement – hell, I  want to own an African Lion – they’re so cute and look so cuddly. BUT I think the difference is wanting one vs actually owning one and common sense should tell people that owning a Lion is not such a good idea. When you weigh the pros and cons of this situation I believe cons definitely over rule the pros – based on the sole fact that these animals in particular are exotic and majority of them are going extinct! A huge project I’m working on here at Nat Geo is The Big Cats Initiative, which works to help  preserve the remaining few big cats left in the world, including African lions, mountain lions, and Bengal tigers – and more than 2 dozen of these animals died in this event – not very promising results for the work we are doing at Nat Geo and around the world.  

Here’s my biggest issue though, this man was cited numerous times for neglecting his animals, abusing his animals, and for having his animals at large, yet no one stepped in to do anything. Unfortunately, Ohio is a state that allows exotic pets – but it makes you wonder should exotic pets be allowed at all?!?! I’m opening up a simple poll to see if others feel the way I do. I think it’s an interesting topic and definitely one that needs more public attention. So I guess the positive coming out of this situation is that we can enforce some stricter laws to prevent this from ever happening again in the future – or so we hope.

Let’s Jump!

So today I had the pleasure of participating in this event held by National Geographic and First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign Let’s Move. Hundreds of National Geographic employees gathered in the cafeteria to jump for one minute. There was food, prizes, games, and of course friendly faces. Hopefully we will set a Guinness World Record by having the  most people jumping – which has to be at least over 20,000 something people!!! Michelle Obama kicked off Let’s Jump at the White House yesterday with about 500 other people. I believe we can hit this record, I’ve seen and heard of the amazing responses we have been getting nationally and internationally. It’s been truly amazing watch this come together in the short time I’ve been in Nat Geo. It is so cool that people all over the world can come together for a common goal… which gets me to thinking… If we can unite over something like health and fitness, why can’t we all unite over other issues too?!

Alex and I had a discussion on our walk last night about whether or not people should care about such things as the Ethiopian Wolf or the Blue Fin Tuna going extinct. My reaction, hell yes!! Alex played devil’s advocate and said no, people are more concerned with just feeding themselves, as they should be, especially in under-developed countries. But after seeing the positive reaction of so many people from around the world coming to together for the Let’s Jump cause, I have no doubt that we could prevent species from being extinct in the same fashion and starting greater conservation movements. It’s about education, conservation, understanding, and possibly an incentive… For Maasai ranchers in Kenya and Tanzania, that incentive could simply be keeping their cattle free from lions, for Americans that could be the warm fuzzies of knowing that they contributed to a greater cause. I think education is the biggest piece in conservation is educating people! Perhaps that is because i’m going into the education field, but I do think people want to help make a difference in the world!!

Anyways, Let’s Jump was amazing and events like these are always enough to get my butt in gear and get off the couch, at least for this week. We will see what next week brings.

Hello world!

Hello family and friends!!

Life in DC is definitely an adventure and one in which I wish to share with all of you. Alex and I have been in DC for approximately 5 weeks. I feel like we have done a lot so far, yet I still feel like we are missing out at doing touristy things.. Mainly because we have been watching Stargate for hours on end. I’m also currently on bed rest due to mom’s demands. Back story to the bed rest demand is due to the fact that earlier this week a man on the MARC train pushed me and being me, I tripped over the metal lip while entering the train. I sprained my foot and was put on crutches for 2 weeks. HOWEVER, has anyone tried to crutch their way into DC before?! Not an easy task! So after day one I ditched the crutches and walked instead.

Back to the point though, I’m feeling better and can’t wait to get back to exploring DC and doing and seeing new things!!