I was sitting on my flight back to Atlanta and thought I’d reflect back on the Moroccan experiences in a a more personal way. After all, this assignment was to be a look inside of myself and gaining leadership skills – just as much as lending problem solving skills to our clients, on behalf of IBM.

I will start with a longer dedication to the aspect I enjoyed the most – and that was the team. Every single person out of the 8 teammates was an individual with tremendous intellect, dedication, heart in the right place and an excellent sense of humor.

Willa (or Ms Obama as all locals called her) with her dance grooves, bottomless suitcase of clothes and the best hair scarves (I don’t know the right name for them, Willa!). Rikard, the Swede who never made it to Gibraltar, the ultimate shopper, and the expert in Moroccan diets that made your stomach go awry. Daniel, the Brit with English accent that noone understands, yet hidden drawing talent and soft heart for learning German on roadtrips. Laura, la Mexicana, with a wide Spanish singing and dancing repertoire, talent to sell anything to anyone with her two offshore bodyguards behind her and always an open eye for some good shopping. Greg, the organized German who can take all the stereotype jokes about “no failure culture”, invented a few team phrases (see below) and who ends sentences with the quintessential “ja”. Yan Kai, the petite Chinese who is not afraid to take on the “no failure” Germans, dared to wear high heels on trips and always surprised me with some new fact about her culture. And my closest partners in crime: Lavinia, the Brazilian (not to be confused with the Mexican) with contagious passion and energy, one that never has to reach far for a laugh or some adventure (see hammam), with suitcase full of 11 pairs of shoes, a ton of Brazilian gifts, bikini and an entire winter wardrobe (!); fluent in 4 languages, co-performer of all the 80s hits, and most of all, with a heart made of gold. And Ryo, a picture of what a gentleman with superb manners is, who has my admiration for his courage, willingness to truly step out of his comfort zone, always with some insight on the high tech Japanese culture, hungry to learn all the awkward daily phrases in English that none of us could explain very well, who can fall asleep anywhere and anytime and the one with the most fashionable wardrobe out of any of us.

Each of these people touched me in their unique way and I will truly cherish the times we spent together, the challenges we overcame and the friendships we made. I hope to see or work with all of them again! Thank you Daniel, Greg, Laura, Willa, Yan Kai, Rikard, Lavinia and Ryo for making the experience memorable and truly a fun month ! I have learned so much from each of you and you are my #1 takeaway from CSC.

last dinner, from left: Ryo, myself, Lavinia, Rikard, Willa, Laura, Yan Kai, Greg, Daniel
last dinner, from left: Ryo, myself, Lavinia, Rikard, Willa, Laura, Yan Kai, Greg, Daniel

Here are some team phrases that probably won’t make much sense to others but will bring up smile on the 8 faces above, I hope:

Wir haben diese Stadt gebaut
I am having full fun, not half fun
If they just knew how to get started
It’s only a fez
Alles gut
Insha’llah
I get it
I would like to taste Yan Kai’s noodle (nothing kinky, just a phrase we had to rephrase)
No carpets!
Hmm, awkward turtle !
Chin chin, banana, somehow
I can see your passion

There are more and hopefully, my teammates will contribute some memorable ones. I will list some of the other experiences from the country, project and personal reflection in the next post (and here you thought I was done blogging!) #ibmcsc