Its December now and its starting to get cold here in Vegas. Although today was nice, sunny, and perfect to play some football, the temp drops in a desert like you would not believe. One of the top 3 or 4 coldest places I have ever been in was in a desert. Getting to shoot a nude model out here is going to be left only to the brave who have a smidgen of antifreeze in their blood. (Any takers?) Needless to say I’m gonna have to move indoors for a while.

At any rate, I am going to do tributes every now and again and this one is going to be for my friend, Umit (oo-mit), from Istanbul, Turkey. I got to meet Umit while doing my MBA at Murray State University in Kentucky. I got to meet and interact with many different cultures while in the Army and I have always been intrigued by observing and learning how other people in the world go about their daily lives different from my own. I grew up in Texas… in Terrell, Texas actually. I was not named for the place nor do I own it. I just lived there. Anyway, I didn’t travel too much, but I always loved reading about the history and traditions of other cultures. So when I joined the Army and was sent to places all over the world, I got everything I could from the experience.

Therefore I came to relate to Umit very well. Since I was curious about his country and customs, I was glad that he was willing to indulge me in my questions about where he lived. I thought I might have gotten on his nerves to some degree, but I was able to often return the favor in his quest to learn more about the U.S. Sometimes we had challenges with the language. Umit spoke English very well. Every now and then a word might understandably stump him and we could spend 15 minutes just to figure out what he was trying to say. On one such occasion we discussed job opportunities. I thought he was trying to tell me he wanted to be a carrier builder, so I am making associations to either naval ships or HVAC units. When it finally dawned on me that he was interested in finding a job on, we were both too mentally exhausted to continue the conversation.

The closer it got to the end of the final semester, the more we hung out. We went to a party that was in his honor where I got to meet even more international students. My daughter called me while at this party explaining how proud she was of her command of the french language. I put her on the phone with some of Umit’s french speaking buddies and she quickly realized there is a big difference between learning french in school and speaking to someone from France. I recall good memories with my friend, Umit. I regret that he has called me 5 times since I have been in Vegas and I have missed each call! I do not hope for Umit’s next visit to the states. Rather I hope to visit him in Istanbul sometime and let me be the foreigner for a change. I know I could not do what he did by coming to a foreign land and get an MBA. I got a 3.5 GPA and he did better than I did!

So this is for my man, UMIT! I look forward to visiting you sometime and I hope that Kentucky MBA serves you well. I wish you all the best my friend.