New Girl in the City

Like others who came before me, I brought some dreams with my luggage when I came to America. With an exceptional experience at University of Michigan and a successful career at Las Vegas, those dreams came true. I still remember the day I had landed at Boston after a journey of over 24 hours from Punjab. I came from one paradise to another, but felt the differences immediately. Time flies… I’ve spent one third of my life in this country now! Punjab was my home growing up filled with pleasant memories. In just a few years, I’ve begun to feel a strange love for United States as my new home. What lies at the core of this love? My exciting job? My involvement with AIA and USGBC? My cute little house? Or my independence? What has this country and Las Vegas given me that I didn’t have in India?

The answer has been in front of me all along… I just didn’t realize it until recently.

I’ve had some great experiences in this land of opportunities. Getting the architecture license in India was a process, but it felt like an achievement here. Being able to teach LEED classes has been marvelous. Serving on the USGBC Nevada Board has been absolutely brilliant. And the few years I’ve been on the AIA Las Vegas board are an amazingly different story. But these are not the central reasons for my love for this place. When I look back at all of these milestones, I wonder if the joy of making a new home here would have been the same without the people along the way!

James Chaffers trained me, while Allen Shaffer is the one who first showed me the direction towards advancement of my green building ambitions. Garry Hoholic encouraged me to get involved with USGBC, while Lance Kirk helped make it happen. Windom Kimsey’s voice is still in my head when he first introduced me to Wade Simpson, “Watch this girl, she’ll be on the AIA board someday.” I knew then that I will prove him right. Mark Hobaica gave me the confidence to run for the President-Elect position, while Mike Del Gatto stood behind my efforts towards EPYAF. And the person who motivates me every single day is my husband, Jagan Singh. He is the most ambitious and intelligent man I’ve met and he inspires me everyday to do better. The names are endless, but their invaluable support is limitless.

When I had first come here, I had my goals straight. But now I know that the joy of achieving these goals is meaningful only when shared with others. Only now do I see that my strange love for this city is actually one with the attitude of the people and the encouragement they offer.

United States is as tough as it is beautiful. If we pause for a moment from running after our goals and think of what really matters, life will appear spectacular! I am living the life of all those who came to this country before me with big dreams and aspirations. I hope you’ll join me in reliving the moments you or your ancestors lived. Join me in living the American Dream!

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