The theme for this blog simply has to be Orange Is The New Black, for a few reasons:
- I met Alex from Orange is the New Black, and it took me a full day to wipe the silly grin off my face
- It’s almost Halloween
- We had a team bonding event where my team was named Orange Is The New Black, our team cheer was “K-I-L-L, kill kill kill!” and our hashtag was #Prison.
- I’m GOING TO AFRICA. On first thought, that has no nothing to do with Orange Is The New Black. On multiple after thoughts, it still doesn’t, but I am EXCITED and I wanted to throw that out there.
I know most people are likely interested in #1, so let’s start there.
As a Gaygler (gay Googler), I have had great opportunities to connect with other like minded people, proactively seek funding through the diversity network and attend swanky events, such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Galas.
This past weekend, myself and a team of Gayglers were lucky enough to attend the incredibly well executed HRC Gala in San Francisco. Surprise guests included actress Laura Prepon (i.e. Donna from That 70’s Show and Alex from Orange is the New Black), singer Mary Lambert (i.e. female interlude of Macklemore’s “Same Love”) , and that one famous NBA player who came out as gay this past spring.
The night was a win for so many reasons. Chief among them was the classic dessert trick. Back in high school, my closest girlfriends and I would have dinner dates at Applebee’s. In an effort to curb our chubby child instincts, we’d order one dessert for the table and split it. The scene is very similar to a scene you would imagine when lions and wildebeests congregate at a watering hole in Africa. We would fence each other with our spoons and the dessert would be gone in seconds. One time, we couldn’t decide if we wanted The Blondie or The Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. Oh, life’s great decisions. We asked the waiter which is better, and he brought us both! And only charged us for one! It was amazing. Every dinner date since then, we attempted the same trick. Never did it work again.
Until the HRC gala. As the waiter poised to place a light colored dessert in front of me, I noticed the dark colored dessert in his other hand. Always biased towards chocolate, I asked for the dark one and inquired as to the difference. He explained the light one was pear flavored; he looked to my left where there was an empty seat. He put the dark one in front of me, the light one to the left of me, and winked. After I polished off the chocolate dessert, I pivoted my head to talk to the person to the right of me. As I craned my head, the waiter swooped in and in one fell motion, replaced my empty dessert with the light colored dessert that was sitting at the empty seat and gave another wink. Best. waiter. ever. I instantly wished he was my friend.
Side note: I tried to explain to Alex, aka Laura Prepon, what had happened, but she didn’t really get it. I could tell by the polite laugh she gave me.
Back in 2009 (I just made that date up, but sounds about right), I decided I wanted to go to Africa. I wanted to dance with the lions. I wanted to swim with the great white sharks. I wanted to see those people from National Geographic. Between 2009 (/random date in history) and now, I have been to SouthEast Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East, and South America. But, I was never able to conquer Africa. This past February, I finally made my dreams come true; I spontaneously booked a round trip ticket to South Africa with my cousin, Amanda, good friend, Sreetham, and person I had just met (seriously, the week before), Nikki. A word about how Nikki joined the crew:
I met a Gaygler (see, the Gayglers have given me everything!!) shortly after joining Google. This Gaygler played on a basketball team in the city and they took an annual trip to Tahoe every winter. She invited me to join. I joined this weekend trip with ~15 people I have never met. One of those girls was Nikki. A week or two after the Tahoe trip, I purchased my ticket to Africa and posted on FB. Nikki saw the post, texted me “I’ve always wanted to go to Africa! Can I come?!” I responded “Sure!” and sent her my flight itinerary. 2 hours later she responded with the text “Booked!” to which I simply thought “This person is amazing.”
Moving on. Here’s what on tap for the 2 weeks in Africa:
- Getting to Africa. I leave this Thursday to travel to Minneapolis for a Sales event. I leave MN on Friday to visit my grandparents in Connecticut. I drive from CT to NYC to fly out of JFK. My cousin and I fly from JFK > London for 14 hours in the land of Harry Potter. We meet Nikki in London. We fly from London to Africa together. BAM.
- Africa adventures:
- 4 day safari through Kruger National Park. Lions, elephants, leopard, rhino, and Cape buffalo…oh my!
- Diving with great white sharks! Seriously…
- Hiking, biking and general exploration through South Africa
Of course, my life motto of “It’s either a good time or a good story” will come into play on this trip. And I shall blog about it all. Someone else will take the pictures.
Cheerio, chap! To England and Africa we go 🙂