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We:30: Share & Tell
Every Wednesday at 3:30 we get together to celebrate an employee who exemplifies our core values to inspire, share, evolve, exceed and be 100% jerk-free. Our weekly Share and Tell invites an employee to share something that inspires them. Take a look at some of the recent We30s, we hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
In early January I flew to India to participate in a consulting project for school credit. I was in New Delhi for the first 12 days of my stay in India, then traveled to Jaipur, which was only a short 1-hour flight from Delhi, to do some sightseeing after the project ended. A friend from school arranged for one of his old friends, Sumnesh, to host me and take me to all the sites Jaipur had to offer, including the Palace of the Winds, the Jal Mahal lake palace, and Amber Fort (all shown above). As amazing as these palaces and experiences were, nothing compared to the day I spent celebrating one of the biggest festivals in India - Sankranti.
Sankranti is celebrated on either the 13th, 14, or 15th of January, depending on the position of the sun, to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. It just so happened that I arrived only a few hours before the festival officially kicked off. During this celebration Indians across the country climb up to their roofs to fly kites from sunrise to sunset, at which point kites are traded in for lanterns and fireworks. When Sumnesh told me about the festival I thought, “Kites? All day? Not how I want to spend one of my last days in India.” Well it turned out, after a long and busy stay in Delhi, flying kites was exactly what I need to decompress. These aren’t regular kites either. Everyone flies fighter kites, which are smaller than traditional kites and have an abrasive string that is used to cut down the string of other kites. As far as kites go, they are pretty bad ass.
That day Sumnesh and I climbed up to the roof of his four story home with a stack of fighter kites. We could hear all his neighbors taunting and cheering as they battled their fighter kites high above the city skyline. It seemed like all of Jaipur was on their roof that day, tugging at kite strings and dancing to the Indian pop music pumping out of blown speakers. Sumnesh and I abandoned our kites pretty quickly after we realized we didn’t stand a chance against the local pros. So instead, we started hopping from roof to roof visiting his neighbors, friends, and family. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a smile, food, and drinks. I spent the rest of the day meeting new people, cheering on kites, and taking in the generous Indian hospitality. I may need to look back at pictures of this trip to remind myself of the amazing sites in Jaipur, but I won’t forget the people I met and my experience at Sankranti.
When my partner Bill and I moved to San Diego in October of 2012, we didn’t know anyone here. And since we were both working from home, we knew we’d have to try something different to build a social circle in America’s Finest City.
I sang in choirs throughout high school and briefly in college, but since graduating had lost my musical outlet. I found out San Diego had a gay men’s chorus while researching our new city, and in January 2013 I had my first opportunity to audition. My life hasn’t been the same since.
The friendships and brotherhood that I’ve found in the Chorus are deeper than I ever could have hoped for. From the very beginning, this group of men took Bill and me in like old friends, showing us love of song and spirit.
My first concert with SDGMC was in April of 2013 when we performed the hits of Elton John (still one of my favorite shows). Since then I’ve performed in 7 shows and countless community outreach events, including the grand opening of the Central Library, the National Anthem at Petco Park and the tree lighting ceremony on the main stage at December Nights in Balboa Park.
The rush of joy when stepping on stage with this group is almost too immense to put into words. The long hours of rehearsing, standing, dancing, and more rehearsing can wear on us as we get into the final days before a show, but the laughter, tears, and applause from the audience make us forget about all of the sacrifice in a split second.
2015 was the 30th Anniversary Season for the Chorus, which I was extremely proud to be a part of. But 2016 has great things in store as well – we’ll be heading to Denver in July to sing at the GALA Festival, the largest LGBT arts event in the world. Held every four years, the last festival was in July 2012 and featured performances by 112 choruses, 48 small ensembles and over 6,000 delegates. To say I’m beyond excited is an understatement.
And now for the most important part - tickets are now on sale for our upcoming show at the beautiful and historic Balboa Theatre! Titled California Dreamin’, we’ll celebrate the songs from our great state. A little Disneyland princess here, a bit of Katy Perry California Gurl power there—all sunnily sprinkled with the classics of Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson and many more.
You can get your tickets at SDGMC.org for Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday, April 24th. I’ll see you there!
When invited to share, the first thing that came to mind was my cool ass TEC Infrared Portable Grill! Not only did it cook food quickly and perfectly with beautiful grill marks and no flare ups, it gave me a peaceful place to be alone and have my beers.
Then I realized that was all I had to say about that. I then thought about what truly makes me happy every day, and something I never get tired of talking about. What do I consider as my life’s therapy? Then it was obvious…so I’m sharing two photos of my two girls, Audrey (4 yrs) and Ella (5 yrs). When looking for pictures, I tried to find one that represents how I see them as:
This picture is why I never want them to grow old. They’ve decided to dress each other up all on their own. Ella is obviously outgrown and busting out of the getup. Audrey’s guess of what to do with that thing on her head is just as good as mine. Coming home and dealing with these two everyday puts my work day in perspective.
“my two goofy hot mess princesses”
This other photo is a happy place for me. It represents what I look forward to on the weekends now-a-days with these two.
The picture is a perfect example of what meets my weekend criteria: simple, relaxing, joyful, and inexpensive. This was a Saturday at the Embarcadero. It was a perfect sunny San Diego bay day to fly a kite, ride some bikes, and watch some boats.
I love dancing and have been at it since the beginning of high school, dabbling with lyrical, modern, jazz, and more…Luckily my passion for dance continued after I graduated! My Share is my current hip hop collegiate dance team, Ascension, (Joined in 2012) and the love and wisdom each individual team member has shared with me.
As a competitive team, we spend at least twelve hours a week (minimum five weeks) in preparation for a quick 5-minute medley at our performances. The late nights, early mornings, balancing school and work, and the physical exhaustion really start to take its toll on you. I never understood why I kept coming back to the team… Only recently, on my last year with the team I realized why I continued to stick around and the beautiful gift I have been offered. The team brought together people who shared my passion and struggles, and created a place to call my home away from home. Ascension became my safe haven: to be my weird self, express my soul, and create new memories and adventures with friends.
Words cannot portray how much this team has made my college experience and impacted my life. Being on Ascension (or any collegiate team for that matter) is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It fosters a very specific and special type of environment filled with collegiate students working together to push beyond their limits, grow, and create something so beautiful to be cherished. Work hard, play hard, love lots!