Two experiences?!?!? (HA Day 20)

Experience of the day:
Toured the Switch SuperNAP data center today. Who knew that Vegas had the world’s largest, fastest, and most efficient data center? I didn’t. And they do it in ways that no one else in the world does, or can do for that matter. Fun fact of the day? Vegas is 72 degrees or below over 70% of the time. I’m ready for that to be the majority of the day.

The second experience was a little more gratifying. Not because it was novel, but because of what was given. I e-mailed Jeff Lawrence of Cambridge Leadership Associates, who had been one of our trainers at VFA Bootcamp to pick his brain about a few things. Jeff had come in for one day of training out of thirty five, but in some ways, I think that was the most valuable training we received. Within 10 minutes of me e-mailing him, he e-mailed me back and told me to call him right away (even though I’m fairly sure he was done with work for the day). He spent 30 minutes of his time talking to me, even though he was under no obligation to do so. At the end of our conversation, he asked me to check in with him in a month. A gift that is given with nothing expected in return is the most precious gift of all, and Jeff was kind enough to give me both his time and his advice, for which I am extremely grateful. That conversation is a small sample of what VFA has given to me, and those kinds of connections are one of the greatest benefits to being a part of this program.

What I’m thankful for:
1) My health. I might weigh a few more pounds than I would like (which I am working on changing), but by and large, I am healthy. And that is something so many people either take for granted or can’t say about themselves.
2) My employment. Maybe it was a bit arrogant of me, but I don’t think that I ever considered the possibility of being unemployed. Not only am I employed, in so many ways, I might have stumbled upon my dream job without even realizing it.
3) My family. I’ll be the first to admit that I often take my family for granted. And I really shouldn’t. Still not sure how to change that, but maybe it will change over time. But I do have two amazing parents and two awesome siblings. I’m not even going to try and do the tallies for my extended family because for Indians the line between friends and family is often blurry, if existent at all, but I am really lucky to have that kind of connectivity.
4) My opportunities. Not too many people can say that they have had the chance to work on something truly unique. I’m doing two things that are, being a part of the Inaugural class of Venture for America Fellows and working for the Downtown Project. Yes, this is similar to number 2, but it is different.
5) My fellow Fellows (NC and VFA). I’ve had great experiences of the last four years with Fellows in different contexts, and they have been great to the point that I am determined to find a group of Fellows where ever I go from this point onward.
6) Sort of related to the above, but sometimes distinct, my friends. As much as I say that I would be perfectly happy to go live in a cave by myself for a year (I still maintain I would be!), I have been incredibly fortunate to find myself in contact with the motley mixture of humanity that is my friend group. I don’t know if there is any common characteristic that is common for all of them, and I kind of like it that way.
7) Having the resources and opportunities to travel. Life would be a lot more boring with out them.
8) Having a place to stay in Las Vegas. There aren’t too many options in Downtown right now, and I’m glad to be in the nicest affordable one.
9) Mangoes. Right now, I have fresh mangoes, mango lemonade, mango juice, and mango pulp in my fridge. No shame.
10) Watermelon. I seriously ate about slightly less than a quarter of a large watermelon for dinner. Don’t judge.
11) The internet. I hate it sometimes because of how much of a time suck people allow it to be, but at the same time, it does so many wonderful things. I think of the great power/great responsibility quote.
12) Great teachers. I haven’t really thought about it before, but I have had some pretty amazing teachers over the course of my life, not just the ones that I have had in high school and in college. The value of a great teacher cannot be underestimated and is often undervalued.
13) Having the resources to move my life across the country. Not many people can do that.
14) New people to have good conversations with. I still consider myself an introvert. But I do love getting to know new people Now if only I were better with names…
15) The US Men’s National team finally beating Mexico in Mexico. Now if only I had been able to see that game.
16) Community dinners. Something so much fun about bringing together a group of people for a collaborative dinner and good conversation
17) My mobility. Having a car. But also having the ability to walk and take it for granted. For some people, getting around is a lot more difficult.
18) Smartphone! Finally got one on Saturday. I haven’t become a total addict, and hopefully I won’t. But it is so nice to have greater access to everything. Despite the fact that Siri doesn’t like me and my network access is sometimes a bit wonky.
19) New experiences. I hope they never stop.
20) Coffee. Caffeine doesn’t effect me (unfortunately) but I do love having coffee in the morning time.
21) Optimism. I might be young and naive, but I am endlessly optimistic, (despite being a self-professed cynical optimist, and yes I know that is contradictory).
22) Grocery shopping. Maybe a weird thing to put on the list, but access to fresh food is something that a lot of people I know take for granted. Even if a distressing number don’t take advantage of that.
23) Frisbee! So happy I managed to find people to play with in Las Vegas.
24) Old movies with no special effects that are still amazing.
25) Random acts of kindness from strangers.
26) Work days that start late because the entire company was out until midnight on a Sunday night.
27) Dancing on top of the Dancetronauts mobile with some good friends.
28) The views in Las Vegas. It is a great feeling to be able to look around and see the sky everywhere and to be surrounded by mountains.
29) Waging war with the social construct that is awkwardness. Makes life much easier for me.
30) Having conversations with strangers and finding ridiculous amounts of things in common.
31) Lightning storms in Vegas. With so much open sky, the views are incredible.
32) Seeing friends give great presentations in public venues.
33) Eating at sketchy restaurants and not getting food poisoning.
34) Mango lassi made with greek yogurt. Adds a bit of tartness that enhances the flavor.
35) An excessive wealth of social opportunities in a new place
36) Sportscenter. Watched it for the first time in three weeks last night (yes, that is what we did when we were in a hotel, enjoyed cable), and it was amazing.
37) Eagerly awaiting a response and then getting the one that you were hoping for.
38) Access to news.
39) A social calendar that is so full that multiple events overlap.
40) Free tickets to random things.
41) Good dates.
42) Being completely honest in situations where it is hard to do so.
43) Being able to say no to peer pressure.
44) The empathy of others.
45) Free samples.
46) Waterfalls.
47) Pleasant surprises.
48) Nature.
49) Llamas at work.
50)  Books!
51) Free time.
52) Free tv!
52) The New York Times.
54) Thai food.
55) Working somewhere that gives me novel experiences on a regular basis.
56) Good mentors.
57) Random appreciation days.
58) Touring local products like Switch SuperNAP data center.
59) Help given with nothing being asked for in return.
60) Ritz Crackers. (I might have eaten an entire tube of them during Romney’s acceptance speech) 


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