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Year End Summary : 2019

image000000Achievements of the year: 10 years as a federal government employee!  When I joined the National Cancer Institute’s Small Business (SBIR)  Office, I was told that it was a start up within the government.  And funnily enough that was a pretty true statement.  We operated like a startup in the initial years – setting up both the Center and several programs to support cancer start-ups.  While the mission of the Center was initially to support cancer start-ups by providing funding, we came quickly to the realization that non-funding resources such as training, networking and mentorship was equally important.  I have spent the last few years setting up several such programs and its good to see the results trickling in.  In terms of publications, I had two more papers and one more book chapter published this year.

Travels of the Year: We went on a short two-week trip to visit Kerala & Dubai during Annika’s spring break.  It was hectic trying to meet family in Bangalore & Kerala & Dubai within those two weeks. The visit was so quick that the most frequent question we heard was “why did you come if you only had two weeks?” I took the kids to Abu Dhabi while we were in Dubai to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and visit more family in Abu Dhabi & Sharjah.  The kids and I returned home from Dubai. Seejo skipped Dubai and took his parents to Rome & Venice & Switzerland.

We visited Jasper & Banff National Parks during summer and had a great time seeing the beautiful scenery, lots of bears and walking on a glacier.  We ended summer with an impromptu long weekend trip to the Outer Banks!   Other personal trips included a flying visit to Madison to meet my maternal cousins & a post-Thanksgiving get together of paternal cousins at Hershey Park. WE also met up win Philadelphia as part of my annual fall reunion with my undergrad friends.

However, work trips were plenty this year, thanks to an expansion of my role at work – I bookended the year with trips to San Francisco in January (JP Morgan Health Conference) & November (Med Tech Summit). In between, I visited Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta & Austin for work. Other than Austin, all trips were using United Airways since it is the preferred government carrier. My flight was late for 10 of the 12 individual trips. I became very familiar with airport eateries (One Flew Over in Atlanta is amazing and recommended!)

Screenshot_20200119-040854Family Time: 2019 was the year of the family. My inlaws visited us in May from India for a month – for the first time in about 8 years.   My mother spent 6 months with us from July to December and we were all very upset to see her leave in December.  While she was here, life did get a little easier for me and I could focus more about stuff at work.  We all visited my aunt who was visiting from India in Madison and spent time with my cousin and his twin sons. Tanay enjoyed being the big brother to two toddlers! We celebrated my father’s sister’s 75th birthday in late September with a small family get together.  And then another uncle had a grander 75th birthday celebration and about 5-6 families got together in late November at Hershey to celebrate.  Seejo’s Uncle and Aunt came from India for a visit.  We had another cousin join us for Diwali – lots of family get togethers.

Books this year: I read a lot of different genres this year – so there wasn’t a real theme to the year! Lots of easy reads  (romances, mysteries – too many to list ) and books that I thought I had read but realized that I hadn’t (Fahrenheit 451, Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut), some fiction (All the Lives We Never Lived: A Novel – Anuradha Roy,  Home Coming by Ya Gyaasi) non fiction (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing by Merve Emre). These are the few that I remember.  I had some personality assessments done this year as part of official leadership training including Myers Briggs, FIRO_B, 360 degree, Strength Finders and how these meshed with my own internal assessments of myself. So these books on Myers Briggs and Negotiations were rather interesting reads

Kids Update: Tanay & Annika are thriving!  Tanay follows Annika around like a little puppy (sometimes literally – Annika pretends that he is her dog sometimes).  According to Tanay – “chechi is the smartest person in the world” and he believes it implicitly. Tanay is “super super cute” in his own words and a “super super liar” in my words.  He doesn’t hesitate to tell a bald-faced lie – for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  But he has learnt the trick of smiling impishly and getting us to laugh with him.  Annika is a whirlwind and is interested in too many activities that she has us hopping around trying to get her from class to class.  She is getting to be an avid reader although her interest is slightly skewed towards non-fiction (specifically animal facts from national geographic).  They both enjoyed having ammamma here for half the year and are looking forward to her returning soon.

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