At one point today I was sitting at a table after lunch and around it were the following people:
- Me: Singaporean South Indian
- Russian woman
- North Indian man
- German man
- Turkish man
- Spanish man
- White American man
For some reason we were all having a conversation about the kinds of dangerously high alcohol-content beverages that are brewed in the backwaters of our homelands (well, not Singapore, obviously). Some indeterminate time earlier I had been having a meandering conversation with No. 6 about appreciation of a culture versus an authentic, “lived experience”.
One of the best things about working with an international team like this is the sudden realization that your colleagues have experienced lots of things, enough that you have a common template for humor and conversation. And when you can’t find the commonalities, there’s a huge opportunity for learning something new.
No. 6 said at one point, “You know, I visited a Hindu temple, and it reminded me of a Spanish Catholic church. It was all vivid colors and intricate carvings of saints and gods staring down at you.”
Never in a million years would I have associated the two (primarily because I haven’t been in a Spanish Catholic church).
Here are some other conversations I had, or overheard:
- Listening to whales off one of Hawaii’s islands, and watching them migrate. Addendum: best to make sure you get your paper into the conference that you know is going to happen in Hawaii.
- Journalism and science journalism in particular. State of science and the world in general.
- Traveling in Europe: floated suggestions of train travel between Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Madrid, Berlin, etc.
- The many, many legal regulations imposed on German breweries.
- Idea for a dating app that offers feedback in the form of star ratings. Possibly another app that offers feedback for exes; revised the rating scale from “0 to 5” to “0 to -5”.
I also probably win some sort of award today for traveling on almost every available public transportation method in the Bay: VTA, Caltrain, MUNI, and the ferry.
I didn’t get any work done, but I was reminded very strongly of why I work for this team and for this project. That, more than anything, makes today A Win.