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Soundbyte 270: Thanksgiving

21 November 2016

This week will be Thanksgiving in The States. By Thursday most of the families will be eating Turkey and spend a moment’s time to give thanks to all the people and things that are dear to them. And by proper American tradition, devote the following day to getting the best Black Friday deals at the shops. All in a two days time.

It will be the second time I get to celebrate Thanksgiving here. The last time marked the end of my seven weeks stay of two years ago. This time it inaugurates the last period of my significantly longer tenure in Florida. Even though I still have two more months to go, I start to mentally prepare for my trip back home. And with that, for the completion of my work on this project as well.

Most of us at Luminis will probably recognize the feeling of these last weeks on a job, particularly if you work at the customer’s site. For me, it’s always an exciting time. I still have my usual responsibilities, but now I also have to ensure I know who and how one is going to take care of those when I have finally close the door. During that time, you always get a new impression of how your work was perceived. Especially on the longer jobs, the customer’s view on what you bring to the table seems to get faded over time. Perhaps it’s because they get used to it, or because you start to assimilate into the company’s culture. The latter is a bit trickier for me since it is a sign I might become less valuable to them, taking over routines or habits I was trying to improve in the first place. Of course, I regularly reflect on my performance with the client during my tenure, but when it’s nearly time to go, I always seem to get a fair impression of what they would think of me after I leave.

It’s not the first time I stayed for so long on one project for a single customer. Admittedly, I never worked for so many months with an ocean between the office and my home base. Believe me, it adds some extra flavor. Mostly because I will leave a culture I still don’t fully understand. Even though the last weeks talking with my friends here about the election results gave me some new insights. Politics seems to bring forth some hidden worries and joys about people’s live. I have found it’s easy to avoid it on tv or other media, but it’s harder to actually talk about it to others. Just like the now infamous facebook algorithms, we like it better with people who agree. And there a lot of people who would disagree with me on politics. But we don’t need to concur on everything to form a friendship and have a good time together. People are far more complex than we can put on TV or the internet. If there is one thing I learned here is that you can’t judge a nation by what you see or hear. You have to go see, talk and learn for yourself. And most of the Americans I met and spoke are more open, welcoming and hospitable than how the media portrays their leaders.

I also had a taste of music during my time here. I learned that Tallahassee is one of the markers of The Mississippi Blues Trail where you can go to the Bradfordville Blues Club. One of the bands I saw was the Ghost Town Blues Band and by a big surprise, I found some excellent recordings of that very evening. Watch, listen and enjoy some southern blues!

2 Responses to Soundbyte 209: Willin’ to learn

  1. John Merrell says:

    Hey Walter!
    At last 🙂
    I look forward to seeing you in Florida in the not-too-distant future.
    Good luck!
    John

  2. Björn Lammers says:

    Cool music! This will certainly need a few more listens to be fully appreciated, though.

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