Friday, December 20, 2013

VPPR on a Road Trip 1

As you may know, your intrepid VPPR (that's me - Hollie Rose, CC) is on a Road Trip. I have determined to make Toastmasters a part of this adventure. I'm blogging about other clubs I visit.

December 9th, 2013

I began my trip on Sunday December 8th from Middletown, CT.
My expected first destination was Baltimore, MD. That was the plan.
The weather report had said it was to start snowing soon in NJ and the entire Eastern Seaboard. Reports said that by 5 pm it would be raining in Baltimore with temps so cold it would freeze on contact.
I thought maybe I should put off beginning my journey this day.
But ya know, there's always something. That weather world be settling in to CT on Monday and what? Put it off another day?
Just go. Get as far as I can towards Baltimore, then stop when I must.

As I drove through the mess it occurred to me that I have a friend who'd extended an invite in Newark, DE. Maybe I could make it that far?
I called her. She too was driving in this mess and determined that we'd near her house at just about the same time.
In fact, we arrived within 5 minutes of each other.
Now the thing about Kari is that we'd never actually met before. At least not face to face. We made each other's acquaintance 12 or 15 years ago on an email list serve book group of avid readers. This was a very special group and many of us have kept in touch through the years.
So Kari came to my rescue in the snow and opened her home to me.
I tell this whole story partially because I recently gave a speech about serendipity and how I welcome it into my life, and how important it is to me to be open to the flow of possibilities.
Late night Kari and I are talking in her living room before going to sleep and she says offhandedly that she's Toastmaster at a meeting in the morning.
Well no wonder I came here instead of going to Baltimore!

Toastmasters club #2129155
Siemans Glasgow Toastmasters
Newark, Delaware
Dec. 9, 2013 Noon
Location: Bldg 700 Auditorium, 700 GBC Dr.

Because of the snow Kari was able to work from home that morning while I slept in. By the time I followed Kari to work the driving was much better. Siemans Glasgow is a closed corporate club so we had to go to one building to get me a visitor pass, then another for the meeting.

What a fun and lively bunch they all were! I got to chat with many of the members before the meeting started. People greeted me warmly and introduced each other as "this is my mentor" or "this is my mentee." That made me smile to see the pride and camaraderie of the members. There were 17 attendees and myself.

President Jamie Sterner opened the meeting with some timely quotes about leadership from the esteemed and recently departed Nelson Mandela. Then she introduced me and I gave a two minute hello-this-is-who-I-am-and-how-I-came-to-be-here speech.

My friend Kari was introduced next as Toastmaster. It was her first time in that role and she'd told me she was nervous but I couldn't tell. 
She did a great job.
The theme for today's meeting was Friendship. How appropriate.
The Word of the Day, given by Raju Danthurluri, was Confidant: A person with whom one shares a secret. 
We were also introduced to an Indian word: Dhost, which means friend, like amigo does. Most speakers used Dhost in their speeches, table topics, and evaluations.
The Toastmaster introduced the functionaries and then, in turn, she introduced the Evaluators who shared the upcoming speaker's project and objectives.

Speech # 1 - An Icebreaker by Tridib Borkakoty. Evaluated by Earlean Oduaran.
Tridib told of growing up in India and the many moves he experienced due to his father's work transfers. So much so that when he came to the US it was no big deal. Recently on a trip to Switzerland he overheard his native tongue being spoken on a train. This was unusual as his native language has less than two million speakers worldwide. It turned at to be an old school friend! Small World.

It is tradition in this club to give a standing ovation for an Icebreaker. A very nice touch.
Speech # 2 - CC Manual, project 8, Visual Aids.
Title: Wisdom by Edwin Chrisostam. Evaluated by Yali Yang.
I loved Edwin's speech! He used three props to show some of what we, as fallible but important humans should remember, always. One. A twenty dollar bill, crumpled and trampled is still worth 20$. Two. A pencil has an eraser because there are always mistakes, but nothing so grave that it cannot be fixed. Third. Three bananas. One not yet ripe, one perfect and one black banana. Sometimes the time is not right yet. Sometimes it's perfect. And sometimes its too late. "Gobble up the present before it is too late!"

Speech # 3 - CC Manual, project 2,
Title: Pongal by Rama Arumugam. Evaluated by Gladys Privon.
Pongal is sort of like Thanksgiving in Tamil. Pongal literally means "boiling over"
like milk does. In fact, boiling milk is one part of the many days of celebration. This was a lovely slideshow and I enjoyed learning some of the traditions of this holiday.

The Table Topics Master was Carolyn Franklin. Her theme was Christmas. I didn't catch the name of the first speaker who answered the question about her favorite holiday movies. Earlean was asked if her kids still believe in Santa Claus. Um. No. When they moved into an apartment with no chimney, it was easier to just tell them the truth. Raju answered about holiday traditions and how they incorporate Christmas into their lives even though it is not part of their beliefs.

The evaluations in this club were outstanding, with both appropriate praise and good ideas for future improvements.

The meeting ended quickly as the room was scheduled for another group right away.
We gathered a moment in the lobby to take the photo you see at the top of this post.

Great people. Great meeting.

~~~~~ Hollie Rose, CC


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