Salt Lake City with the boys. Girls have girl-talk...and boys definitely have boy-talk!! Let’s see I was newly pregnant and not telling anyone yet. I was exhausted, nauseous, and easily irritated. But I tried my best to smile through it all during a 2-day design charrette for the Almaty School project in Kazakhstan. I was thrilled and excited to be apart of the project! It was my first true design project with FNI. It was going to be hard work and the concepts that Jeff and Randy had developed already were truly inspiring. But little did I know that I would have to spend the next couple of days with two cerebral, babbling men - Bert and Jeff. Oh, the banter! Oh, the scientific jargon and talks about black holes and 5th senses and whatever else they ranted on about (I think I blocked it all out!). My tired, cranky, and constantly starving pregnant self was about to reach the end of the rope with these two going on and on...and on and on and on! They were truly acting like little kids in a candy shop! Giggling and bantering back and forth. And at dinner, they must have thought I was such a stinker because I wouldn’t have a beer and was actually starting to doze off! Did I mention that I was pregnant at this time?! But regardless, a few weeks after the trip, I started to tell people the news - and I hoped that Jeff and Bert would understand my cranky behavior. We went on to design a beautiful school with a river running though it and large balconies all within a glass box. It was my first true design project with FNI and Jeff was a wonderful teacher and guide. Working directly with him on that project, I really came to understand what the principles were for this 21st century school design - and how the design patterns were being interpreted creatively and functionally. I have truly learned from the best - through his humor, sincerity, and patience. Thank you, Jeff! I do want to mention one more thing - because there have been so many changes at FNI in the last year. My first year at FNI was so different than it is now....and I know it was because of Jeff’s involvement. We were a smaller group then and there was always learning and discussions and lengthy intellectual emails circulating....Jeff was always sharing something for Ted.com or an interesting article or a video of a lecture from a conference he had attended. We would all join in and comment and add to these discussions. This made FNI such a great group to work with - we are constantly learning and sharing. Since Jeff has had to focus more and more on his health this past year - that piece has been missing. I hope we can regain that piece! You are truly an inspiration and always pushing those around you to think bigger, think grander, think of more possibilities and more ideas and more about how we can transform they way we think and view the world. That’s the Jeff I know. And I miss you in our little virtual office! Come back and visit.
-- Jen Lamar