2019 was a year filled with some major lows but also some MAJOR HIGHS (the Universe tried to keep itself in balance?).
These highs included being invited by the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture for my first solo art show (see posts Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part I, Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part II, and Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part III); moving to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound); and meeting my partner John (see post Morning Walk in Black and White).
However one of the “awesome-nest” highs of 2019 involved achieving one of my “bucket list” items – seeing President Barack Obama speak in person.
I’ll share the story of how it happened in a moment, but this was the second opportunity I was lucky enough to experience seeing a U.S. President in person. The first U.S. President I saw speak in person was in May 2018 – 43rd President George Bush, Jr (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey (Re-post)) and that was very awesome.
However seeing President Obama (44th U.S. President) speak in person was something very high on my “bucket list”.
Greenbuild Conference 2019
I have two very awesome siblings, they are two of my best friends on this planet – a brother Raoul and a sister Rianna (by the way, I am writing this post from the Denver International Airport as I get ready to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend to meet up with my brother and his family).
My sister Rianna, earlier in 2019, finished her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Project Management (the same MBA I have from the same university) and got her dream job as a Construction Project Manager for a University she was already working, but this time with their contractor Project Management company. (I was so impressed she finished her MBA in record time while working full time and being a busy Mom!).
She is working on her LEED green building certification and her new employer approved for her to attend the Greenbuild International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia November 19 – 22, 2019. She was very excited to be approved for this opportunity but she was in shock when she discovered that the keynote speaker was President Barack Obama!!!
For an extra fee, you could bring a guest with you to the keynote as well as some limited events at the conference. So for my early Christmas present, my sister got me a ticket to the keynote which was actually titled “A Conversation with President Barack Obama“.
There was a crazy extremely long line to get seated for the keynote, luckily we showed up early. Here we are waiting on line in major anticipation of seeing/hearing in person one of the people we most admire:
The keynote was actually an interview of President Obama by U.S. Green Building Council’s president and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam. The focus on the discussion/interview was on sustainability and affordability.
Here is a link to an online article with a wonderful summary of the highlights of the event – Highlights from former President Obama’s Greenbuild keynote.
I also found several excerpts from the keynote on YouTube:
It was very exciting to (sort of) be breathing the same air that President Obama was breathing and my sister and I tried to restrain our inner fan girls and just focus on his talk/interview/conversation.
We sat in the middle of the very large auditorium and luckily they had large monitors so we could get a close up view of the interview. Here are several of my photos of him speaking on the large monitors:
He was as we expected, an incredibly eloquent and engaging speaker!
My sister and I were in sort of daze after the keynote was done and we were giggling/laughing with other conference attendees as we walked out of the auditorium, squealing “that really happened, we really saw President Obama speak!!!”
I got the feeling that this moment was part of many attendees’ “bucket lists”!
After the Keynote/Conference
I telecommuted for work from our Atlanta, Georgia hotel while my sister attended the rest of the Greenbuild Conference and then we wandered around downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
We stopped at Centennial Olympic Park from when 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia.
It was very cool to see the iconic Olympic Rings in person:
In the park area they had a sweet little German-style Holiday Market going on and we wandered about that market and enjoyed some Bavarian hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.
My sister used to live in Heidelberg, Germany for several years while she was in the military and she had fun chatting with a market vendor who was from Heidelberg.
Autumn colors were in full force in Atlanta and we also enjoyed wandering around enjoying the beautiful foliage!
On the final day of the conference, in the evening, they had a major end of conference party/event – a party on the field of Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons (U.S. Football team for my blogging friends abroad)!
It was amazing to actually be on the playing field of a U.S. Football team. I cannot share photos, as it might be embarrassing (smile), but they actually let party/conference attendees try kicking a field goal from the goal line! My sister was very brave and tried it herself, without much success, and she accepts she does not have a future as a professional football player (smile).
Here we are at the party on the stadium field:
They also had a concert on the field for conference attendees by the band Collective Soul!
I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, the most I’ve ever traveled in one year. I am quite behind in sharing my adventures and hopefully I can catch up on the backlog of stories I would like to share. Not to mention the backlog of reading my favorite blogs I follow!
The New Year is nearly upon us! Hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful holiday season! Hopefully I will post more before the end of 2019 (smile).