November 16th, 2013
So, the thank-you post. This has been long coming and I will be grateful long after it has been posted. I thought it would be interesting to write, not just for the purpose of thanking people, but because it would help me (and any interested supporters) know all that went into this project, and all that simply couldn’t have done by myself.
Without further ado, then, in no particular order…
Mariya S., for letting me e-mail her countless times saying I’d be coming to Holland, despite the fact that I never made it. It’s among my greatest regrets of the project, and I’m still planning on coming, even if it has to be a few years from now (I might not be going to fix bikes; hopefully What The Fiets won’t need any more help at that point!).
Freesia C., for being the first person to donate, without my even asking. You expressed a confidence in me that I wouldn’t have in myself for a long time after.
Luke S., for donating, of course, for the unique way that you did it, but most importantly for always being supportive, for letting me bounce ideas off of you, and for always being there for me. For not hating me when I chose Zambia over Abamath. Okay, for not hating me as much as you could.
Marilyn, my mom. I think only the word “everything” can encompass all you did for me and this project, as anybody with a mom will understand. During the Watson, editing my essays, doing practice interviews, and keeping me calm over the phone right before my interview. During 90:90, always being supportive, commenting on my blog, and having positive suggestions. Letting me “leave the nest.” On March 15th, when I suggested doing it on my own, you were supportive without hesitation. Thank you.
Bryan S., who not only donated a lot, but was a great salesperson — one of the people you talked to was my second biggest donor and brought the first “holy ****” moment of the project, the moment I began to think it could really happen. Spreading the word is an uncountable way to be supportive, and you did great.
The Physics Department at UPS — Greg E., Rand W., Paul W., Bernie B., Bill B., Jim W., Marcus, and others — for your donations, sure, but also because you put up with my initial less-than-good ideas, and because you continued to be suggestive and supportive even after 100 iterations of everything. Also, Bill, you proofread the entire website… wow.
Kirstin H., for supporting me despite what our student government had to say about it. That really meant a lot to me.
Graham R., for donating without knowing me personally or having any connections to me, saying basically, “Yes, awesome project.” For letting me know I’m not the only one who has blind faith in strangers.
Cynthia H., for being one of the few I canvassed who opened their door, and for being so supportive otherwise.
Tim, the skycap luggage checker, who was the nicest luggage checker I have ever met despite the time of day (4 AM). You started off Guatemala on a good note.
“Amon CG” and the kids at Fauji Cycles, for putting up with me while I tried to fix things the “right” way, and for teaching me to fix them the Indian way. For all the tea, camaraderie, jokes, and for your friendship. I hope we meet again someday.
Prabhat A., for basically being my father figure while in India. For giving me a place to stay; a family; a map of the area (in so many ways); for feeding me; giving me endless, much-needed advice; letting me travel with you; taking silly pictures of me; and, in general, putting up with me while I figured out just what exactly I was doing with myself and how I was going to survive three months in India. For making my first trip outside of the U.S. such a memorable and positive experience.
Viju V., for giving such good advice, putting up with my terrible Hindu, translating so tirelessly, and for hooking me up at Firefox and working out so many of the awesome experiences I had. For being such a good friend during what could have been such a lonely time for me.
Shiv, for being so open-minded, supportive, and in general for being such a cool guy despite being so high up on the corporate ladder. That’s not always how it goes, and you should be proud of yourself.
The guys of Pedal Yatri, for their camaraderie, friendship, and for some good rides, even if they did start at 5 AM on Saturday.
Carlos, for giving me a place to stay and putting up with my terrible Spanish.
Sarah and Charlotte, for being such good housemates, and for being so supportive and open-minded when I needed it most. You kept me sane when I really wasn’t doing well. Things would not have gone well without your support.
Chiqui, for cooking really good food while I learned how to live without a refrigerator.
Laura E., for hosting the website at a sibling rate, for helping code it, and for being supportive without end. For suggesting people to talk to when I needed various bits of advice and you couldn’t give it yourself.
Jenna C., for diagnosing me with various foreign illnesses — I mean, for thinking my foreign diseases were really cool despite the aggravating symptoms — I mean, for telling me I was going to be just fine.
Mike S., for being the coolest Dean of Students one could ever ask for and for handing me an envelope as I walked to the graduation ceremony, making every other student in my class just a little bit jealous.
Diane B., for basically being awesome, for offering to host dinner party after dinner party in support of my cause, but mostly, for reminding me that there are crazy good people in the world if you just know where to look (…Craigslist. Duh).
Todd at Urban Tri in Minneapolis, for being the U.S. bike shop that supported me financially, for being genuinely interested despite the fact that I didn’t buy anything, and for being an all-around cool guy.
Sue and Joel, for giving me a place to stay, for feeding me and giving me advice on how to survive in Africa, and for reminding me that the starving children were right outside.
Paul, Tik, Mwewa, Israel, Benjamin, and the other guys at Zambikes, for being great friends, making me feel welcome, teaching me so much about Zambia and bamboo bicycles, and of course, for letting me return the favor.
I could go on, but honestly, it would be a while before I stopped. If I didn’t mention your name, that doesn’t mean I forgot about you. In fact, if you’re reading this, I probably have something to thank you for. Suffice to say I couldn’t have done this by myself. But I guess when you put your heart into something you’re passionate about, the world has a way of helping you out.
– – –
There will be one more blog post (Statistics/Final Thoughts) about a week from today, and then I have to go do that whole “job” thing.