July 2015 will forever have an extra asterisk next to it in my Big Book of Things I’ve Done. From exploring the cute, hipster, urban Raleigh to making frequent visits to the North Hills Target, the GLPers and I are trying to see it all. We’ve seen the dirty, gritty organic Raleigh (shout out to Raleigh City Farm and their hydroponic lettuce, homegrown veggies, and stubborn weeds) and the change-making, social impact area that never ceases to amaze us with nap rooms, ping pong tables, and patios (Citr!x, Red Hat, and HQ Raleigh thanks for sharing your secrets!).
We’ve been introduced to countless amazing entrepreneurs like Christopher Gergen, who blows you away with everything he has accomplished from the people he knows, to the places he’s been, to the things he’s done. Jason Widen, an entrepreneur, father, and someone if you’re lucky enough you can be like one day. And Liz Tracy - the most connected, respected, butt-kicking director of HQ who knows-it-all and will always help you find your way.
But what I’m going to remember most is not the number of places we visited or who had the coolest start-up story, but the memories and moments that I had with the people here. So, Tomas, to steal the layout of your previous blog, I’m going to break it down by person.
You never cease to make each and everyone of us smile. Whether we are referring to you as “our little alien” or laughing with you as you hit in me in the head (usually with an umbrella) you are always smiling. My favorite moment of you was the day you went for the bar. Despite your reservations, you decided to partner up with Chris and take on the duo challenge at the high ropes course. You embraced your fear and went higher and further outside of your comfort zone, proof that when you reach for what you want you will always find a way to get it.
You’re the mexicano to my güerita. I will never forget the day I convinced you to go to yoga with me. As we were awkwardly forced to do some sort of stretch that neither of us could do, I just remember thinking how lucky I am to have a friend like you who will literally suffer pain just to hang out with me.
You’re fearless and always helping us find our way. You tackled the enormous flying instinct, saving me, and the whole Thinkhouse, from extinction. Without you, this blog post would not have been possible! Every time there was music, I knew I could count on you to dance with me! I could not have asked for a better partner in the ice cream eating contest (we’ll win next time for sure!). Continue to bring the fun wherever you go next in this big world!
Your New York personality and “charm” kept us all laughing. My favorite moment with you was when Serge, Rhiannon, you, and I went for a run. I’ll never forget you almost being able to catch up to me, but ending up lost in the middle of downtown Raleigh. I know I can be a pain, so thanks for putting up with me. I can’t wait to see what you and Kenny accomplish and all the musicians you will influence together.
My favorite moment together with you was our walk to and from the YMCA. You are always so positive and happy, qualities that are definitely infectious. I loved getting to know you just a little bit more and to hear all about your aspirations. I can’t wait to look back on the day when I can brag to everyone about how I know an Ambassador of the United Nations!
With your dry sarcasm and your affinity for food, it’s no wonder we got along so well. I loved hearing about your family (it makes sense that we are both eldest children) and Skye. We all loved you showing off the cute little shoes that you bought her and we hope to one day meet her in person!
Kennnnnyyyyy. You’re just a guy, but you have a way of touching all of our hearts. My favorite moment with you was one of our first nights here when we all went out to Oak City Meatball. You and I sat next to each other and it was the first time I had really talked to you and learned how cool of a person you are. Thanks for putting up with me and I can’t wait to see the impact you are going to make on young musicians.
You’re my go-to guy for advice. You are always keeping the Thinkhouse semi-livable and me sane. My favorite moments with you are the times we walk together to and from downtown Raleigh. From passions to adventures we always have something to talk about that leaves me thinking about it for hours. Keep inspiring your fellow Czechs to keep thinking!
Some of my most memorable moments in Raleigh have happened with you. From struggling to line dance to being your model for Freckle, I never have a dull moment! One of my favorite moments with you was the day we did the high ropes course. You and I were exhausted from crushing all of the obstacles so we sat down and just watched the rest of the group persevere through the course. I’ll never forget sitting there and thinking how lucky I am to have met someone as cool, friendly, and amazing as you. Keep being yourself and helping others to find themselves as well!
Hands-down, you are the best intern ever. My absolute favorite moment with you was when we celebrated Cow Appreciation Day 2015 the right way, a.k.a. we covered ourselves in spots and literally drew on our faces. I always love being around you (even when we force ourselves to go on a run) because I always have fun. Thanks for making Raleigh one of my new favorite places to live!
Whether you are running around introducing us to new, amazing people or inspiring us to follow our passions, you have always believed in every single one of us. Every time I talk to you, I walk away feeling that I am on the right path. Thanks for helping each and every one of us to follow our paths to greatness. Keep inspiring and believing because one day (hopefully soon) we’ll have to thank you for it!
In conclusion, I could not have asked for a cooler, kinder, or more awesome crew to spend the past month of my life with. I truly look forward to the day where I can tell the stories of how I knew each of these great individuals when they were first just starting out. Thank you all for a life-changing experience and I’m already looking forward to our reunion!
Jamie Wadovick is a Sullivan Foundation Service & Social Entreprenuership Fellow from Rollins College.