Flights, Friendship and Family

It's been a minute. I'm currently writing this from 38,027 feet in the air - what a world we live in! The last two weeks have been filled with several air miles, some solid work, learning, and probably a bit too much fun.

During the week of May 6th I was in Atlanta for work on Monday and Tuesday then flew to Dallas on Wednesday morning for training. That was my first rough airport experience since starting the role - ended up spending about 7 hours in the Atlanta airport due to storms in the Dallas area. All in all not too bad as I was able to jump on a few calls that I would have missed otherwise, but I wish I hadn't woken up at 5am to be at the airport for 6, especially when sleep seems to be at a premium these days.

Dallas was amazing - our firm has a training facility about 30 minutes from DFW and it is spectacular. Beautiful hotel rooms, meeting spaces, and absolutely delicious food made for an enjoyable training session during the day, and great parties and socializing at night. It's built on a ranch with a two-mile trail around the property that I was lucky enough to run three times in the morning. Pretty funny how the firm built this incredible campus and seemingly thought of everything - it was certainly designed by consultants!

I popped back to Winnipeg after the training for the weekend and it was so nice to see my parents, my Grandma and aunt, and a bunch of my friends. I'm loving life in Manhattan but nothing beats gathering with the crew and the parents in the YWG. One cool thing I got to experience at home was buying my 98 year-old Granny a new laptop computer! Might want to re-read that sentence! It was great to setup her games, her email (!?!) and her mouse so she'll be able to read this blog and play Mah Jong to her heart's desire.

From there I flew to Minneapolis to work for the week before all of the health actuaries at the firm met in the Minneapolis office for two half-days of training on Thursday and Friday. I learned a little, but the real benefit was getting to network with everyone who you never get to see on a regular basis because everyone is traveling. I even met a couple other actuaries who are U Manitoba grads - small world!

This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a couple buddies who were visiting NYC. Dominic and Basem, two friends from my Connecticut days were in for Friday night and we caught up over some amazing Lebanese food in the East Village. Then, just a few hours after I landed in New York from Minneapolis, my friend Nik landed from Winnipeg! We had an incredible weekend hanging out and I feel very grateful that he booked a trip to come out so soon after I had moved.

Every time someone is in the city, I use it as an opportunity to try out a couple new spots and this was no exception. Nik and I experienced a noodle bar and a great brunch spot in my neighbourhood, the Brooklyn Brewery, a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)! We walked over 14km on Sunday including stints around SoHo, the East Village, Midtown (I showed him the 30 Rock office), and Central Park. Take note - if you're coming to New York, bring comfortable shoes!

Now I'm flying to Denver for the week and things are starting to get intense in the role. Not only are there important dates approaching for the life of the project, but the guy I was replacing on the team is officially gone so my training wheels are off and questions are coming directly to me. So Denver should be pretty focused, and then I'll be back in the Big Apple by Thursday night, just in time to welcome my sister and brother-in-law for the weekend! I'm really looking forward to having them - life has been so crazy but when I take a step back, I realize how much I miss being around them on a regular (basically daily) basis. Can't wait to show them my hood, have them help me setup my place, and check out some great restaurants - I'm sure there will be plenty of laughs.

Thanks for reading,

Mike