Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A visit from Gurkan Genc

Eat your heart out Ellen Degeneres - This selfie is way better than your "biggest" one!

The school year is almost finished in Dubai - two days to go and I will have a 2nd grader!!! Wow.

Having lived in Turkey, and with a husband from Istanbul, I have had the privilege to meet some very interesting people along the way. Today one of those interesting people visited my son's school.

Gurkan Genc is currently in Dubai on his trip around the world. Who is Gurkan Genc? In short, he is a guy from Turkey who is touring the world on his bicycle. Did I mention he is doing this all alone?

According to his website, he started this in 2012 with a 7 year plan. He is about 3 years into it. He will cross a total of 84 countries in 7 continents over 7 years.

He has seen extreme cold temperatures ranging from -57 C / -70.6 F to extreme heat, perhaps hotter than the 50 C / 120+ F he experienced biking from Saudi to Dubai.

This morning he talked to over 150 first graders about his experiences. Stories included how he survives on so little, not seeing anyone or any living plant or creature for 12 days while crossing the Gobi desert in Mongolia, riding on snow and more adventures in an action packed 45 minutes.

And the kids has so many interesting and relevant questions.  A few of my favorites:

  • How did you get water?
  • Where do you get food?
  • Why did the police follow you? (He was the first bicyclist allowed to cross Saudi, so he received a police escort for many miles. Why? "Because they liked me" he said.)
  • What was your favorite place? (Japan and a little village near Granada, Spain)
  • Do you wear a helmet?
  • What is the name of your bike?
  • Did you have training wheels?
  • Where do you poo?
They could have kept going, but due to time, I am sure he will receive many emails from a curious group of first graders. I mean, second graders.

His most important message was, "Believe in yourself. And don't give up on your dreams." People told him he was crazy in the beginning. But after some time, he said "as you keep going and start achieving your goals, they will believe".

If you would like to read more about Gurkan, or follow him, you can find his website here and all his other links to social media.

After Dubai, he will take off to Oman and start heading to Africa. After he conquers Africa, he will head to the Americas!

Friday, June 19, 2015

You Could Do More?

"You Can Do So Much More".... my new boss said to me yesterday.

We were talking about work and she asked me what I wanted to do. She is aware of my ability - I used to be a consultant and all that good stuff. She asked me what I would like to do because I could "do so much more".

She didn't mean that I am being lazy and not working. What she meant was that I can climb the corporate ladder - shoot for a higher position and whatever else comes with that.

It is flattering, but I politely declined. I have worked on several projects and throughout those there is always that crazy week or two, or eight, where your life is not your own because others are late, things are chaotic and it is just out of your control because well, stuff happens. I cited this as my reason. And it is not completely untrue. I can do that from time to time, but I do not want every week of my life to resemble this.

What I didn't tell her is that I already am doing more. A lot more. I pull more all nighters than I ever did as a young adult out with my friends. The amount of responsibility that comes with the role of working mom and caretaker for a Type 1 Diabetic is "So Much More".

Crazy presentation to prepare, up all night waiting for others' input. I'd take that over any sick night my child has with diabetes. I promise the night full of vomiting, keytone and hypoglycemia watch, and all else that comes with that is much more challenging than building a business strategy.

In addition to taking care of my son's health, I also have more opportunity to be a mom than if I were in a higher position. Diabetes aside, why would I want to miss his life events because I am over allocated? I am already multi-tasking on several things, so why would I want to carry more? I don't. I'm not sure it is possible - especially if they don't develop time travel or figure out how to make the days longer.

And, while I do not have a lot of free time, I do squeeze in some diabetes advocacy and activities from time to time. Before the "Big D", I was a healthcare manager and consultant. I left that job to focus on my son's health. Yes, irony. With that background, it is very hard for me to sit back and not "do more".

So could I do more? I could probably do with more sleep, but who has time for that when there is so much to be done!