A journey of thousand miles- my 15 years in the USA!

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This year, I completed my fifteenth year in the United States of America. Yes, you read it right, 15 years! This is the time of the year I usually look back over the years and reminiscence my time in this country. It is also the time I evaluate my decisions and what I want to do next. So, for me it is kind of my new year with new resolutions in place.

It was June of 2005 when I received the letter from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health congratulating me for receiving the International Post-Doctoral fellowship from the Malaria Research Institute. I was elated! They give only one award per year and my proposal was selected that year. I couldn’t been happier! A few weeks (days?) later I received an email from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) (Prof. Helen Benes who had interviewed me a few days ago) to let me know that I was hired. Two amazing opportunities within a span of few days! It was a hard decision but I chose to go to UAMS.

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Scotland: Glasgow and Edinburgh!

If you are a wanderer by heart, like me, I think academia is a great career to have. I love both the challenges and the rewards of my profession. Just want to put this out- while our travel and stay during conference days are covered through our grants, we pay out of pocket for kids’ flights, stay outside the conference days, and any incidentals.

When one of my colleagues invited me to give a talk at the symposium he was organizing at one of our European meetings, I had to say yes! My husband and I accepted the invitations and started planning our Glasgow trip (I mean I started planning).

This was our second (my third) trip to the UK as a family. We had been to London and Liverpool on other trips but hadn’t been to Scotland yet. The meeting was 5 days long and we planned another week before the conference started to see more of London and nearby Stonehenge (My almost 6-year-old son was particularly interested in Stonehenge).

We flew from San Francisco (see here for parking long term in San Francisco) to London Gatwick and stayed at Double Tree Hotel, Islington near the Kings Cross Station. Although it was far from Gatwick, we chose the area because 1) there was a direct train from London Heathrow (we went to Heathrow to pick up my sister who was joining us from India) and we wanted the direct connection because our flight to Glasgow was from the Heathrow airport and 2) If you are Harry Potter fan, Kings cross has a special meaning (the platform 9 3/4).

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Campeche- a Gem in the Gulf of Mexico!

Last year in February, my husband and I were invited to a conference that was held in the beautiful San Francisco de Campeche, or Campeche as it’s known locally. The city is charming and least-visited gems on the Gulf of Mexico; a wonderful alternative to tourist hotspots like Merida and Cancun.

The historic fortified town of Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also apparently one of the two intact colonial cities left in the Americas. The city was subject to relentless attacks by pirates, in part because of it being the most important port on the Gulf of Mexico. A large number of boats with goods going to and from Europe were the big draw for the pirates. Today, within the city, you can still see the gates and historic center, which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to keep out the pirates. It was also an important maritime point of access for the rest of the peninsula and had a significant role in the conquest of the Mayan communities in Yucatan and Guatemala. Just a 20-minute drive from Campeche’s historic center you can find the ancient Mayan ruins of Edzna, founded around 400 BC.

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Taking Charge of Your Financial Wellbeing

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Just like our physical and mental wellbeing, it is important to make sure that our financial life is also in order. Most of us take care of our physical health by eating healthy, doing exercise and emotional/mental health by meditation, social networks, etc. but when it comes to financial health, we tend to leave it to others. In most cases, women will let other (usually men) decide and plan the finances. However, it is important to learn the basics and plan together.

First and foremost, just like anything else, we all need a financial plan.   

What is a financial plan?

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