Sunday, August 23, 2009


Just three months after Jeff had recovered from a major cancer operation that excised much of his liver, he attended a Microsoft-sponsored conference in icy-cold Oulu, Finland which featured gusts from innovative schools in 13 countries. After the obligatory conference presentations (of which Jeff did one that I still refer to often), we were all taken to experience some down-to-earth Finnish culture. The highlight of the evening was a communal sauna (separate for men and women). At the men’s sauna, we hung around trying to match the Finns tolerance for high temperatures. But even as some of us started to wimp out in the 160degree heat, Jeff held his ground and actually seemed to be enjoying himself sweating up a storm! But this was not the end. The Finns then told us that according to their custom, we would now have to walk to the adjacent pitch-black lake (it was past midnight and there were chunks of ice floating on the lake) and dip in it to complete the sauna experience. Of course, I laughed at them thinking it was all a big joke. But when the slightly inebriated group of revelers began heading in their glorious nudity to the lake, I followed to see what would happen. And sure enough, one-by-one, with steam rising off their heated bodies, each person jumped into the water. I figured that sanity would prevail and Jeff would remain on shore with me but that was not to be. First Jeff walked neck-deep and then under the icy depths leaving me no choice but to follow suit. Today, I look back on that experience as a major highlight of my life – who would have thunk it?? And I have to thank my intrepid friends Jeff for inspiring me to take a chance and see what happens. And now I reflect back to that cold November day whenever I find myself hesitating to do something difficult and, more often than not, Jeff’s can-do spirit inspires me to say, “what the hell!” and go for it :)

Am guessing you wouldn't want to see pic of 12 naked guys from 12 countries so here is one of Jeff and Prakash in Alaska hiking on a glacier.

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