Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 Recap

Going into 2011 I had resolved to do a better job of reflecting. While I believe it make most sense to stay focused on moving forward, I better recognize the need to celebrate wins and analyze losses. So I started capturing things I wanted to remember by snapping pictures. I assumed my desire to be creative would net a cool year end presentation but my bias for simplicity won out. Here is what I did for the year. The year started with ALL of my family in Texas. It was the first time my parents were not at home for the holiday and cool to see the interaction with Layla’s family. February: I turned 28. Original plans had me traveling to Dallas for the Super Bowl, but the snow and ice in Dallas made it more appealing to stay in Chicago. Layla pulled together a great house party. I secretly want to have a Super Bowl (Birthday) Party every year. Later in the month the Booth Black and White Bowl and Barrister’s Ball offered me an opportunity to break out my tuxedo and get acquainted with one of my new favorite things, the photo booth. It’s clear that B-School kids party better than law schoolers. March: Traveled to Morocco (Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakesh). Tagged along with Layla’s class and was able to sit in meetings with top government officials. I maintained a steady diet of veggie tagine and couscous, even managing to do a decent job of rolling balls like the locals. The most impactful experience was interacting with Boubker Mazoz and his Sidi Moumen Cultural Center. Boubker has created a haven for youth in the middle of “al hofra”, (the hole) in one of the more depressed areas on Casablanca. The center’s children were so talented. I can still hear the young lady’s, adorned in a hijab, stunning rendition of the star spangled banner. It was eye opening to see the impact that President Obama and American culture had on this group of children. They spoke of hope and provided me with a greater sense of responsibility that I have to doing more in my community. Marrakesh is easily one of the most sensory stimulating places I have ever been. I spent a few nights tucked away in the medina at a well planned riad, got my hair cut (razor line) for $5 USD, and had amazing food under the stars. The stories of snake charmers, monkeys, and guys trying take advantage of you were all true. It was also fun to haggle over goods with the merchants and I ended up with some cool stuff to bring home to my mom. April: Wesley came to visit me in Chicago in April and we took in a few tourist attractions. It was cool to have him around for a couple of days. Hopefully he benefitted from the change of scenery. I know that I have grown a lot since moving from Ohio and was happy to share the experience with him. We took a trip to the top of the Sears (Willis) Tower and even stepped out over to the outer edge of the observation deck. I can still feel my heart fluttering as I recognize I have a slight fear of heights. It was also the first time I saw him work out in person. He struggled a bit but I could see him willing to compete. I’m glad he kept focus and ended up having a solid football season. The guy is doing well and wants to do better. I’m proud he is my brother. May: Layla finished up at Northwestern University. It was awesome to see her accomplish one of the goals we started talking about over 5 years ago. I’m proud of her for taking advantage of the law school experience. Though it was much different than she had intended, I know she grew in all the right places from the experience. After rushing from an interview, I arrived in time to see her walk across the stage and get her hood. Hopefully, she could feel my smile from the balcony. I also had a chance to travel to Columbus for less than 24 hours to party with Sean as he finished up school. Like I said earlier, I realize the importance of celebrating wins with friends. I held myself accountable to that… even though I was hurting in class the next day. Later in the month we traveled to Wilmington, NC for Holly’s wedding. Our logistics were spotty at best because Delta decided to cancel flights. Fortunately, we overcame driving 4 hours in a monsoon and a taxi driver who pulled over a couple of times to check his map to make the ceremony. I had some great roadside ice cream, toured a battleship, and was as close to Jacksonville, NC (birthplace) as I had been in nearly 20 years. Wilmington is a jewel. I definitely plan to visit again, soon. June: Christa got married. I had not been to Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church since I was 12 but it was fun to come home and see her get hitched in the same building we used to have choir practice and Sunday school as children. The reception was great, marked by great food and Christa figuring out how to drop it in a wedding dress. Here is me sharing a very tasty beverage, Welch’s grape juice, with the rest of my table. Whitney was the first from the crew to graduate after having decided to quit working and return to school full time. We spent a lot of time together commuting, working in groups, and making ice cream pit stops. It’s crazy how many common thoughts I could have with a girl from Oregon. I’m sure she will fix the Post Office soon. July: One of the first things I did was travel to Milwaukee to check out Nyerere and have my first Kopps burger. Nyerere’s love for the bond is so strong and makes me realize that I need to get more involved in what is going on in Chicago. At this point, I’m getting familiar with Chicago. Looking for a more permanent place to live, what networks to tap into, and what events are a must do, including the Old School House Picnic. I have to go back next year, it was a great time. I tried mostly to stay out of the way as Layla took the bar, and was happy to celebrate with drinks at The Aviary when she finished. A few days later, I caught her in a vulnerable place, after she returned from a failed taco run, and stuttered and sweated my way through a proposal. We were engaged to be married Saturday, July 30th. Shout out to Patrick and Syreeta for the well wishes, though I’m pretty sure they were wondering why I was beating my chest as I ran to the car after class. I’m excited to have someone to get better with for the rest of my life. Proverbs 18:22 makes a lot more sense to me now. More to come next year on this topic it makes me a little emotional haha. August: A little nerdy… but one of the reasons I was excited about Booth was the chance to study entrepreneurship. I completed Private Equity and Venture Capital Finance in August, learning a little bit about the process and more about what I wanted to accomplish going forward… Maybe Pancakes in China. Congrats Vipin and BG! Layla sold my couches and got to experience firsthand the extensive analysis that goes into me making major purchases. It must have taken 6 weeks to find a new couch. September: Marked my 10 year high school anniversary. It was cool to see all the different places my classmates have gone since graduation. I’m thankful that growing up at Trotwood Madison, meant that I was surrounded by people that expected me to do well. It was a relief to fulfill my commitment as Senior Class President thanks to the help of Omni and folks back home. A great byproduct of this event is the class has grown closer in the months since, evident by the active the Facebook Group. #StillBoutIt Staycation in September meant us checking out our first Cubs game (Thanks Nidhin!). I remember watching Cubs day games on WGN as a kid, so it was surreal to be so close to the field. Alinea was amazing. Somehow Layla hustled into a reservation and we were able to spend a weekday night out at one of the world’s best restaurants (literally). We even had our final course prepared by the famous Grant Achatz. October: The coolest things about October are that my mom and Wesley celebrated birthdays and Layla found out she passed the bar. In retrospect, I worked too much...but did have a chance to catch up with friends during Black MBA in Atlanta. Finally went to my first Diageo party and got to see Big Boi perform. Here is me with Mr. Quick. November: Somehow Layla and all of her Chicago friends were born within a four week span, so I got to crash a couple of her friend’s parties too (and learn about Chicago haunted history). Layla was really accomplished in 2012. Here is her getting sworn into the Illinois Bar. Well done homie. The Rams won State (technically in December), but we tailgated a bit over Thanksgiving. I’m so happy to see how they have evolved. More kids get a shot every year. It was surreal watching them in the State Semi Finals at Northmont. December: Closed out the year with a very active December. Once finals were done I was able to take advantage of free time to do some fun stuff. We hit up Watch the Throne on a last minute ticket purchase. I can’t say that I am big on concerts but this one was a good time. Kanye and Jay Z are contemporary philosophers so I’m happy to have experienced the show first hand. Might have to buy the DVD to see how well they captured the crowd energy, lighting and effects. The majority of the crew graduated from B-School. We partied in Paris Club and rocked “Where Fun Comes to Die” tees. Two years went kind of quick. I probably would have gone full time if I had not understated the value in the relationships you build while getting your MBA, but am happy that the structure of the weekend program allowed me to make new, life-long friends. I visited Shane and Keenan in Boston in between finishing up a work project. I experienced a Stroll on the Hill and dinner on the North End for the first time. Went to Miami for Mile’s graduation and caught a few minutes on the beach. I can imagine how proud Mr. and Mrs. Dotson are when having both of their children graduate in the same year. Shelly came through with amazing tickets to the Thursday night Colts vs. Texans game. I did not let having a 6A flight the next morning stop me from having a great time thanks to Mark and Jeff Naaman. The next day I flew to Houston for Christmas. We met up with friends and family for karaoke the first night. Got to see Layla’s parents’ new home and enjoyed amazing food over the course of a few days. We went to church on NYE after IU beat Ohio State in basketball, and later hosted a few friends. All things considered I had an amazing year. I’m blessed to be around people that are doing well and motivated to take my achievements to the next level in 2012. William A. Lumpkin


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