It’s “That” Day!!

The day when you realize the project is about done…the day when you realize you’re no longer going to see your new friends every day of the week. The day when you realize it’s time to go home!

It’s bittersweet really! I’m ready to go home but I’m not ready to leave here. The last three weeks have been something I can’t truly describe…an experience…a journey…a life changing moment in time!

We will leave each other tomorrow evening following a fun filled day in Seoul. We will depart as we came…heading our separate ways…but we will take something with us…

We have all touched each other in some way…from heartfelt embraces, to laughter beyond measure…to frustration when we were all stressed, to excitement and pride after we delivered our final presentation to the Mayor and the County today.

We came here as 6 individuals…on a mission to improve tourism for Pyeongchang County…and we are leaving as partners, comrades…beloved friends! I will miss all of them completely!

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Antonio with his “goorggeous” accent. Justin with his crazy stories. Souvik with his knowledge and serenity. Stephanie with her calm composure and camaraderie. Sunny with her sweet smile and “sunny” disposition. And our fearless leader Ji-Hyun…with her determination, her dedication and her desperation to make us successful on this project. 🙂

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I will miss all of you dearly! You have truly touched me and I will hold a special place for you in my heart forever!

Now on to our day today…we had our final presentation with the County. And it was a beautiful day for it!

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Pyeongchang welcomed us with open arms as they stated “Pyeongchang will never forget your passion.” They told us our passion for Pyeongchang and our passion for the success of this project were beyond measure. We were so touched by this.

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We shed blood, sweat and tears to come to this point. We interviewed over 60 people, we toiled for 3 weeks investigating and building recommendations, and we vetted and practiced our recommendations for days preparing for “this” day.

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We began at 9:00 AM with a warm welcome from the Mayor. Our presentation went off without a hitch (not that I’m surprised!). I struggled off and on all morning holding back tears. Every “thank you”, every warm speech, every toast held meaning and touched me…reminding me of what we have accomplished and the relationships we have built in such a short period of time.

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Our excellence was apparent when we came together as a team following our presentation and the first thing we did was hug each other. What an amazing feeling of satisfaction AND relief! We came all this way and we delivered! We put together the most amazing presentation I have ever seen (and yes I’m biased) and we presented it as one team, almost as if we were one person. Our delivery was seamless…our recommendations were delivered in one voice. We were at the top of our game! And it feels great!

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We nailed everything, from the timing – to the delivery, to the translations, to the real meaning! The satisfaction we feel as a team right now is indescribable.

I honestly can’t say how AMAZING it feels to see your charts up on a screen in front of 30+ people (who don’t speak English), and to watch your colleagues deliver with such style and grace. We were experts on that stage today. The pride I feel in what we have accomplished and what we have recommended is beyond anything I’ve felt in a very long time.

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In this day and age I’m so used to delivering and executing on my own that I seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a part of a team of equals…a team who without one another would not have been able to accomplish what we accomplished. I am SO proud of this team…I am SO proud of my friends…Sunny, Justin, Antonio, Souvik and Stephanie! You all make me proud to be an IBMer and even prouder to call you friends!

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After our presentation we dined with the Mayor and several Directors. We took a nice long drive through southern Pyeongchang County to the restaurant. What beauty to behold!

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Sunny even enjoyed relaxing a bit!

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So many people joined us for lunch, the County had to bring a bus.

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We took over the entire restaurant.

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The relationships we have built with our customer are beyond any I have ever built in my 18 years at IBM. There’s something about the Korean culture that welcomes you with open arms. Our gracious hosts, Pyeongchang County, made us feel more welcome than I have ever felt in my life. They delighted in our presence, they went out of their way to make us feel welcome and they made a lasting impact on us that made me feel beyond ecstatic that we have truly made an impact on the lives of the people in this place.

It was Mr. Jang’s 60th birthday. What better way to celebrate than together with our new friends. His son is also expecting a baby in August. Such great things to be thankful for.

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Mr. Mayor Sim and Mr. Mayor Antonio did a final toast…to our project, to our health and to our new friends!!!

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Lunch was fantastic as usual.

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And more strawberries!!  We just can’t get enough of them!

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There is an opportunity here to help build up a community, to improve a society and to build something great! That is gratifying! I honestly can’t articulate what this experience has meant to me….and I’m not sure I will ever be able to do so.

The tears today were flowing…I seemed to have kept them mostly at bay (although the team now knows that I was an emotional basket-case today – but it’s not like that will surprise them). They seem to know we well enough now….

Following lunch we had a few more close-out meetings and we enjoyed our last meal with our new friends in Pyeongchang.   We dined together, we drank together and we laughed together. It was the perfect ending to a perfect 3 weeks!

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Then we ended up at karaoke! HAHA! And we thought we were a close team before…it’s amazing what some bad singing (not all of us…Ji-Hyun rocks!!!) and a small room will do for relationships. All singing comments aside, it was fantastic and just what we needed to end our journey.

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We thought about some snacks, then thought better of taking them into Karaoke with us.

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One more group photo for the camera…

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We have one more full day together as we venture into Seoul tomorrow and I know it will be an emotional roller coaster. But with that I say another Ahnyeonghi jumuseyo (goodnight)…until we meet again!

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