Better to see something once than to talk about it a thousand times

Wednesday July 6 -Thursday July 7-Friday July 8

On Wednesday we finally made it Venice. It’s a trip we’ve planned on our own. Our first trip without our class. We hoped on the train (a long train ride at that), burned skin from Via Reggio and all, we made it to Venice. The moment you walk out of the train station it was like you walked into a different world. It was beautiful!IMG_8216 So many peopled warned us that it was going to smell and it wasn’t as cool as they thought it would be, the streets would be dirty. With that information we were kind of nervous! Yet, in the moment we walked out of the station we knew that all the things that were said were so so wrong. It was gorgeous!

We had a simple plan for the day: walk around and see as much as we can, eat seafood, take a gondola ride, and find out if the city is really sinking. And that is what we did! We walked around and saw some beautiful churches, many stores filled with Vancian glass (one of the products they are known for) I got myself a Vancian glass ring J. The other product that they are known for is there homemade masks that all of Italy uses for a holiday/festival similar to Halloween. After walking around for a very long time in the crazy heat we found a restaurant that had tables overlooking a canal.IMG_3407 We had walked past it a couple times just from getting turned around and the plates coming out looked AWESOME. We were very very excited and didn’t hesitate to make this our “big” meal of the day. Olivia Jenna and I ordered the pasta with seafood. The menu didn’t elaborate much farther than it saying pasta with all kinds of seafood, which we assumed was whatever fresh they had in the kitchen and Angie ordered a salmon pasta. The food came out fast and the plates were beautiful! Not only did the sea food pasta have a big swirl of pasta decorated with tons of clams and mussels and a little octopus on top with shrimp and squid. It had a bright red already glazed (in something delicious not butter they don’t really do butter in Italy) sitting there for us to crack open.

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sorry I remembered to take the picture after i started eating…

Given we found out that out of the three of us really didn’t know how to crack open a lobster, myself have only two experiences. 1) At my mom’s birthday when I was in like 5th grade we cooked lobster for her party and I cracked one lobster and felt so bad, because I picked him out only earlier that day. Then the second time my family and I were in Maine of vacation where I got to again, pick out the dang lobster, listen to it hiss in a pot and then had to crack it open and try to forget that I had chosen its doom. Ok, yes I may be being a little dramatic, but all my memories with lobster, yes, delicious the cracking part was my least favorite. Yet, today I had no other choice to ask my dad to crack it for me (sorry about the lobster rant). Getting over the full lobster, and getting over that we were going to have to use our hands to be able to get the dish “all cracked open” before the cows came home (utensils made it to hard haha we were kind of a mess). After the prep phase of our dish we dug in and it was the most amazing dish I had yet eaten in Italy.

After dinner we only had two more things to do on our list: gondola, and find out if the city was sinking. We figured that the gondola was next. Right by the restaurant was a dock for the gondolas later finding gout that each boat is essentially its own family tradition gondola boat driver’s boats have family tradition. It all happening very fast we were on the boat and on our way!! The gondola driver guy was very nice and spoke English, which was very nice, because he pretty much gave us a tour telling us about all the different building and which historically famous person lived there and the ages of all the bridges and even confirming to us that not only is the ocean rising but the islands are actually sinking. They are sinking because the islands are made out of sand and they are putting/building up so much it is compressing the sand rock which is causing the island to shrink and go under water! The gondola ride was amazing and felt like a dream!

Afterward we walked around the more touristy places and realized we were even more burned than we were when we got there and we decided it would be in our best interest to now head back to Florence.

The next day Thursday July 9th we went to class where we had lecture and were taken to a Sicilian bakery where we learned about arenchini, cannoli, and granita. Arenchini, which is a cone like shape made with rice and stuff with anything from rague sauce, eggplant and mozzarella, squid, or cheese. Cannoli, a fried pastry dough filled with a ricotta filling! Granita is pretty much a shaved icy with flavors in it like lemon, strawberry, watermelon, and coffee. I got lemon it was very very good.

After class we headed home to take a nap the heat and sun we had gotten the past couple of days was hitting us hard and we hadn’t been drinking enough water. For some reason when we got into the apartment o couldn’t sleep, so I cleaned up the apartment and came to find that my burnt chest had little blisters ALL OVER IT!!! As I cleaned and sweat (freaking hot and no AC) the blisters grew. Let’s just say I don’t like it and I had to call my mother to double check. She confirmed to me that I would be all good and needed to just leave them alone, which was really hard!

That evening we had reservations at Ganzo our schools all students lead restaurant, to partake in a themed dinner. Themed dinners are a 6 course meal under a certain theme, tonight was traditional Tuscan dishes. Long story short the dinner was awesome and here are pictures from each course… we were spoiled.

Friday July 8 was another chill day after dinner at ganzo we explored the town till late. We woke up and found an American Diner for breakfast! I got an omlette that was amazing and an actual cafe americano!!IMG_3439

After breakfast we came back with plans to get our papers squared away and travel plans together for Switzerland. Instead we came back to a whole different adventure when I decided to change the outlet I was using…. long story short no more electricity nor wifi and that led to multiple flights being climbed (we live 6 flights of stairs up and box is down stairs) it wasn’t fun…we finally called and had someone come help us because nothing we were doing was working. The gentleman comes in looks at the box on the first floor looks at this random box at the very very top left corner unlabeled and flips it and the electricity came on…. of course right. I was just happy the lights were on. Only for time to pass a little longer and i tried a different socket and POP!!! I blew it again… had to walk the stairs AGAIN and climb to try and reach to box flipped it climbed upstairs and they weren’t on… went down and flipped it AGAIN!!!! and thank the lord they turned on… I threw away my adapter here’s the culprit….IMG_3441

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Living in the Moment

Well friends and fam I know I haven’t posted in WAYY too long and I apologize. Every time I say I will write on the bus from place to place with class, or on the train to our next destination, but this thing called sleep totally knocks me out… So the next few post is going to be a TON of pictures and I will be covering the past 2 insanely crazy busy weeks I have endured and the visiting of 9 different cities, so hang with me!!!

Saturday July 2

The first big trip to Parma and Modena!! Here we are taking a trip to Modena

We went to a Parmesan factory called Parmigano Reggio were we learned about the process of making Parmesano Reggio (parmesan). They start their process my milking the cows twice a day (morning and night) the milking at night goes into these huge tables where they separate all night. In the morning they use the morning milking of the cow (all of it no skimming) and the data from the night milking and put it into these vats. We’re they mix in two more ingredients of redix and an enzyme found in baby cows stomach they mix it then I turns to curds then the mix the curds together with a giant whisk. It’s then a thick liquid they then put in a cheese cloth (linen) and put in a plastic shaper with a granite block on top working to press the moisture out. They sit over night then in am they get this belt with important info encrypted on the belt then to be pressed into the cheese. After that they sit with a steal belt in a really cold room on a shelf for two days to harden them. They eventually make their way to a salt bath. Which is a long tub with multiple 90 ib wheels of cheese floating in it with a container with holes in it holding all the sea salt sitting in the tub. After their bath they start the aging process where they sit on special wood shelves. The range for cheese to age is 1-3 years. They do age for longer, but they sell it between 1-3 years. At one the year mark the cheese master checks the cheese with a special tool. First hammering it like you would knock on a wall looking for a stud. They knock the cheese to hear for holes (they don’t want holes) he also gave us fun facts about the cheese: through the aging process the natural sugars in the milk (lactose) is ages away ( people like sometimes myself won’t have an issue with the digestion of this cheese, because the way they age the cheese there is no lactose) the sugars turn into amino acids that are also in our stomach that make it easier for us to digest it also contains more protein in comparison to meats of the same amount and takes less time for us to digest. (45 mins for cheese hour 4-5 hours for meat). We then got to try the cheese aged for 1-3 years my favorite was the ages for 2 years. 3 years was very salty and grainy it would be awesome grated on a meal 1 year is softer and not as salty. As you can tell I thought the cheese was pretty cool!!! (sorry there aren’t many pictures of cheese i forgot my phone on the bus…)

After Modena we went to Parma (I know it sounds backwards but the location of the actual farms flip flopped but normally Parma is known for Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar and Modena for its Prosciutto) the prosciutto factory was also very neat. We first had to put white cloth coat things and a hair next to protect he meat. IMG_3253We then walk essentially into a freezer. It had extremely controlled temperature and it was the exact opposite of what it is outside!! Italy is very hot in the summer. We walked in and the owner (with our guide translating) talked about the process they shit in 600 pig legs a week all form special DOCG (geographically controlled) farms (meaning the origin the pigs come form are controlled). They refrigerate the meats and hang them in these tall hanger like things. IMG_3252They then salt the top of the leg area with a mixture of salt and lard. Which hold the moisture in and adds to the flavor. They also go through a branding and tracing code process. Since the prosciutto is DOCG that mean it has to be perfect and regulated to be able to receive the prosciutto crown branding at the end. They leg age for a long time and the smell gets this weird salty+salami+fat smell it wasn’t particularly my favorite. One of the last steps was the step of the expert (owner) he had 5 others who helped him the other parts of the process but this takes a very trained nose. They use the tibial bone of a horse that has been shaped into a needle sort of looking thing. He then starts poking the leg in 4 specific places saying that by smelling the needle after poking it you can smell if it has aged properly or not.

We then got to eat lunch at the factory in their little house/restaurant overlooking the valley it was beautiful and the ravioli and lemon cake were amazing. I also got to try a very popular summer dish of melon and prosciutto. I didn’t particularly care for it (I’m not a melon fan) but what an interesting combo!

To top off the day we went back to Modena were we visited a balsamic vinegar farm. Not a factory a family owned adorable farm that has been making DOCG balsamic vinegar four 100 years. This tour was a family affair and as the most wonderful Italian women in a bright red dress with matching bright red lipstick and her jet black hair told us all about their vinegar it was around 97 degrees and very sunny and I dint even care. First off I wasn’t aware that balsamic vinegar was made from grapes (I had never really thought to far into it I guess) they had their own vineyard right there on their property and the vinegar process f boiling and pressing room right in their back yard. They age their vinegars for either 10 years, 17 years, 25 years, or 35 years. Each having a very different flavor (nothing like the U.S) the older the vinegar gets the more carmely it gets.  For all 4 vinegars it is the consistency of molasses, and you are supposedly able to tell the age of the vinegar by how much it gets caught in your through and how much you feel it in your nose. Balsamic vinegar (similar to olive oils and wines) is a senses tasting process. We got ot taste all the vinegars and go on the grand tour. After we looked in the processing room we went into the vinegar house. The perfect condition for vinegar is in the attic because it gets every extreme of every season. Hot and humid, hot and dry, chilly and so on. It being super-hot the house was HOT and as we went higher in the attic is turned into a sauna. The first floor up held their most recent batch of balsamic, all sitting in cute little barrels (most small some medium sized) and they had special cotton clothes cover the hole to let the balsamic still breathe which is a important part of the process. We then went back outside for lunch. The family made a homemade spread of all different kinds of foods and desserts (we were told it was a “small lunch” no, we were totally spoiled) then the father of the farm started chatting with about 15 of us and asked if we wanted to see the really old balsamic they had in their attic he goes “it very hot but worth it” and we were all in. We went up to the “sauna” and went into the first room it had lines of barrels like the other room and the wall were lines with all kinds of cooking pans and utensils. Then we went into the next room and it had photos of their family all over and then one wall of pictures of their son. In their room there was only three lines of balsamic. Going to find out that it was their lines of balsamic vinegars they started when their son was born the next line was the balsamic started when his mother was born and the third line was the balsamic the husband and wife started when they got married. The last room also had pictures on the wall other than being blasted hot it was the vinegar that has aged the longest. The father goes into the corner and pulls of this super tiny little barrel and starts dipping spoons into it and obviously I was like “oh yay” he hands it to me and goes “100 year”. I tasted the first batch of balsamic vinegar the farm made!!! MY MIDN WAS BLOWN SO I KEPT THE SPOON. (again sorry for the lack of pictures i was really in the moment here)

Needless to say that day I learned a ton! Even though on the way we got trapped in a tunnel after a truck driver hit the inside of the tunnel ahead of us leaving us on the bus an hour longer, being hot, and exhausted from walking so much of Florence it was the day I was soooooo ready to learn all about this wonderful place called Italy!!

Crunch Time! T-Minus 60 hours and 10 minutes

Well…. The adventure is about to begin. In 60 hours and 10 minutes my plane to Dublin Ireland will take off! Dublin is my first stop on a 45 day adventure of a life time! 4 days will be spent in Dublin then, me and two of my friends Jenna and Olivia (I’m sure you will hear about and see them in pictures)  we will be headed to Florence Italy to begin our 6 week Food Wine and Culture class! (pretty crazy hu!)florence

Long story short right now, and for the past couple of days I am trying to figure out what kind emotions I’m feeling. Nervous/sad for leaving the US and my family, boyfriend and friends, excited out of my brains for the trip that I know will change my life. The trip that is still so serial the it is even happening!

For the most part I feel ready. Ready to be there! I’m somewhat packed… (I’ll finish tonight), but I have everything I need (I’m a major pre-planner). All I really have to do is the hardest thing, and that saying goodbye. So many  mixed feelings!!dublin-ireland

From here out this is the blog that will be one of many many more!! If you’re reading this you’re probably family or friends that want to share this life changing experience with me and I can’t thank you enough for supporting me and joining me on this life changing experience. I will take you through Dublin and all across Italy sharing as much as I can (I’m a talker so brace yourself!) If you want to be notified when I post on the home page on the left hand side if you scroll down there will be a button that says follow press that and you will be able to receive emails when I post!!

Ciao!

 

Shaping People Shaping Business

The beginning of my sophomore year was the beginning of a new chapter I had decided. I changed my major and enter in to the business school and was ready to get involved in an organization that would enhance my professionalism to be better prepared for the business world. Human resources being my chosen major I looked into SHRM the Human resources group on campus and every time I tried to make it to a meeting it would never work. The pieces weren’t falling in to place. Then one day as I walked through Grawn the Business College building there was a student booth setting up handing out lanyards, sunglasses, and handing out candy (honestly the original reason I stopped was for a jolly rancher). The poster board they were presenting said on the top in big bold letters ALPHA KAPPA PSI- Professional Business Fraternity – Next Generation of Principled Business Leaders. It really caught my eye, I wanted to be a part of the next generation of principled business leaders, and that started it all.cest akp

Next thing I knew I was in full swing of the AKP pledging process. Learning their traditions, resume critiques, presentation skills, interviewing skills ect. AAKP girlsll preparing me to be more prepared for the business world. The process was long and a lot of work but right in front of my very own eyes I saw change in myself. I was learning more and figuring out more what I want to do for the rest of my life, my values, how the organizations alumni base and collection membership experiences will benefit me, and how I wanted to make a difference in the organization. Not even mentioning the friends I have met through this process and akp made itbeing able to have the best Big ever, I am never short of people to ask for help and advice.

This Spring being my first active semester as a member I was given one of the most important positions in the fraternity. I was corporate relations co-chair, I worked with my chair and CMU Career Services to put on the Alpha Kappa Psi Career Fair.jump start your career Where this year we hosed 145 companies and over 1500 students. This opportunity to plan an event of such magnitude, and to work with employers was an experience of a life time. Now as I was a co-chair this coming Fall of 2016, it will be my turn to head up the event, which I am very excited about.

Alpha Kappa Psi Career Day
Alpha Kappa Psi Career Day in Finch Fieldhouse

Another area within the fraternity that I am very excited to be heading is implementing actual leadership development practices into the fraternity. Leadership education is an area as a leader advancement scholar and in my everyday life that I am very passionate about. We, AKP say we develop principled business leaders, which we do with business etiquette and experience, but with no formal leadership training and education. As I make head way with this implementation and partnering with the Leadership Institute it has sparked my passion in Human Resources as I want to pursue employee training and development.

Alpha Kappa Psi is another very exciting family that I have joined and am very excited for the opportunities and doors that it will provide me in the years to come.

COM 461L Reflection

Com 461L has been a class that has been a very pleasant surprise. Before the class started a lot of us “cohort classmates” were dreading a course that would reiterate a lot of what we have already learned, or that it would be information that we wouldn’t really take with us after the class. We were very much wrong. This course has given us answers to problems we face every day as on campus leaders. Problems such as how to most effectively work in a group, how to be a follower, how best to work with electronic communication, as well as how to build credibility and so much more. Each topic we discuss what it is, how we use it now, best ways to use it and ways it could not work or be negative.

With the lecture of the ins and outs of each topic we solidify these concepts with a lot of open discussion and group activities. Group activities like this past week we are working on the topic of public leadership, and their communication techniques. We went over the, what it is, where we use it or see it in our lives, positives about it and if there are any negatives. We then broke the class into six groups and we simulated a recognition ceremony awarding someone the “Best COM 461L Student”. With that we had one “public leader” in each group and a script writer (public leaders always have help with their communication) and we each wrote and presented a different part of the ceremony. The introduction, giving of the award, acceptance of the award, building being named after participant, an inspirational piece, and closing words. We each got to utilize pieces of public leader’s communication techniques hands on learning a lot as well as having fun.

This group activity explains so much about the class and the professor, Professor Carlson. She knows how to get us to learn, and to explain these extremely useful subjects in a way that they will stay with us and we will feel comfortable implementing is our everyday leadership on and off campus. Not even going into the book she is maneuvering us through called the leadership moment, which tells stories of leaders in a part of their lives. Each story has a part of leadership that we are analyzing and we develop questions such as: “So and so in this moment wasn’t able to get through to his team. Why? What do you think he/she could have done to be more effective?” With these questions we, as a class have a fishbowl. fishbowl

A fishbowl is a way of constructively facilitating discussion. We deal out cards and if you get a fish on your card you are the original group that starts the discussion with your questions, and if you get an empty fishbowl you with get to save your questions till the fish break out of their discussion and come to facilitate a group of fishbowl card people through the discussion of the story that day. We all dreaded the idea of the Fishbowls, but to be able to read and learn from someone else’s mistakes and achievements has stimulated a lot of great learning conversation with lead to growth as leaders.

With all set and done this class has been one of my favorite CMU course that I have taken so far. Not one class period have I left not thinking that I wouldn’t be able to use the subject we talked about today, and I believe that is special! Go COM 461L!

Leadership Theory: POWER

Leadership and power is a theory of leadership that I have observed and experienced. Not only have I seen it through LAS protocol but through my everyday life at CMU. In the classroom, dorms, RSO’s, organizations etc. Leadership and power came from the French and Ravens ideas of the 5 bases of power. The bases of power are divided into two groups, personal and positional. Within personal is the bases expert power and referent power whereas in positional power it contains legitimate power, coercive power, and reward power. French and Raven conceptualized power form the framework of a dyadic relationship that includes person influencing and the person being influenced. The layout of their framework is set up, dividing the 5 bases of power into two different categories-personal and positional. Some followers respond better to different types of power. As a leader, power is usually given though the followers, so if the power is misused or abused it can usually be taken away by the followers.

“The world is based off a hierarchy of power and allows leaders to lead using their own version of power. Knowledge of this is essential to reach your full potential as a leader. Students should learn about the leadership and power approach because it is essential in developing how you will act when in power and it will help your ability to recognize the different variations of power.”

Through LAS our protocol asks us to do multiple things: take classes (all together as a cohort), do homework (all as a cohort), attend conferences (all as a cohort), go on a retreat (all as a cohort), Live together as a cohort, which is amazing! It can also be very hard. Many “leader minded” people in the same place we get to collaborate, experience, and work through everything life at CMU entails and LAS protocol. Two of the biggest road bumps we run into are communication and power. My first and biggest time I have experienced the use of the leadership and power theory was when the 2014 and 2013 cohort (mentors and mentees) attended eagle village for our Mentor Mentee retreat. IMG_0984Once being separated into groups we went through and got to take part in leadership activities. There were two activities that tested my group the most. Giant’s fingers and the obstacle course we had carry a sled full of balls through an obstacle course.

Through these activities we mainly working with personal power-the influence capacity a leader derives from being seen as a likeable and knowledgeable. Expert- more knowledge, referent- people who are more likable. Through the sled obstacle course it was a rocky start. Everyone had an idea of how they thought we should go about this activity to be successful. It was a mess the balls were falling out and the louder leaders were the only ones being heard. The referent power leaders were all butting heads. Until as a group we decided we needed to give an expert power leader the role of helping guide and lead our group. With their knowledge of how the course and the objective of the activity as a group we responded better to this style of power and were able to achieve our goal.

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For Giants Fingers the objective was a lot harder! The dynamic of the group was a little better after the last activity. Once given the objective and rules (a lot more complicated that the sled obstacle course) we had to move a set of tires of different sizes from one of three posts to the other side, while setting them up largest to smallest on the other side. The biggest challenge was that every person in the group had to have two fingers on the tire at all times and the tire wasn’t allowed to touch the posts as we wove it up and down to its destinations. Some just wanted to jump in and others wanted to compile a plan. As a group we then agreed upon deciding a plan to go about our activity. An expert power leader started to take the reins on the activity and everyone immediately got very frustrated. The tire was touching the post, or someone couldn’t reach the tire to have their fingers on it and we would have to start again. Over and over we had the opportunity to start again. As a group we were not responding to the expert power leader. Myself starting to observe the tensions and seeing the solution and need for a referent power leader. Recognizing my own personal strengths I started to use words of affirmation and calming started directing the group getting everyone on the same page. The group responded to the referent leader power and we were (after some time) able to achieve our goal.

 

All around through leadership there will be times when one leader has to take the reins and everyone else has to follow. With that every group is different and needs a different person (personalities/characteristics) to take over. Every group responds to types of power differently. As a leader it is important to recognize your personal power strengths and weaknesses so you know when your power style will work and when it needs to take a back seat.

Mentor Reflection

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The mentor workshop really reinforced all my feelings and thoughts about being a mentor. My mentor has talked to me a lot about the purpose of being a mentor and the process of selection. So, I would say I felt pretty prepared regarding the process. What really resonated with me was when they asked the difference between a mentor and a role model. mentor 2 mentor 1In my head all I could see was a mentor being someone standing next to you and a role model is someone you look up too. I then thought to myself how I want to be both those things to my mentee. A point the Mentor Workshop pointed out was how to grow a relationship. How we will start as strangers, which will be awkward but how are we going to grow that relationship. That brings me to all my thoughts on how/ what kind of mentor do I want to be. My mentor focused very hard on helping us (me and my twin megan) finding us as leaders and the person we want to be. He did it through many deeper talks and some self-reflecting letters, which I now appreciate. He took a more philosophical approach to our relationships.IMG_0981

The way he went about growing our relationship turned out to work fine but I don’t believe would be the process in which I want to grow mine and my mentees relationship.

I am a very “relationshipy” kind of person. I love giving hugs, and asking about their day went, being the shoulder to cry on. My friends since Jr. High have always called me mom. Now I’ve been really thinking hard about what kind of relationship I want with my mentee. I don’t want that mom relationship. I want to grow from my mentee as much as I hope he/she grows from me. I want to establish trust and loyalty, and positive communication, which is the strong foundation that needs to be made.mentor 4 mentor 3 From that I believe a strong mutual friendship can be made. We can go to each other in the good times and the bad time. For me to be an effective mentor I strongly believe from the beginning we need to have that strong foundation of trust and loyalty, and positive communication. That will be built through spending time together where we feel on equal ground. No one trying to feel more or less than one other. We learn about each other’s past, present goals and goals for the future. Go on adventures together, those times you learn about their personality something that you can’t necessarily explain. All those things build trust, respect, and a care for someone whether we have something in common or not. Those things will make your mentor mentee relationship thrive. Together we will help find who we are as leaders and I will share my experiences since I have already gone through them. I strongly believe putting these into practice will make for a positive mentor and mentee experience. I look forward most to the relationship that we will build and to be that person that he/she knows will always be by their side and there to help them, share the good times, and get through the bad times together. All while helping each other grow our leadership and push ourselves to go outside our comfort zone and open our minds.

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