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Happy 4th of July!

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The first thing I was told about America as a kid was that it’s the land of opportunity. For many years, I didn’t understand what that meant until I started reflecting on the opportunities that shaped who I am today. This week, I’ll share the story of my very first American opportunity, which presented itself when I turned 19. Perhaps I’ll inspire you to go on a journey down memory lane and uncover how your first opportunity shaped the person you are today.

Growing up, music and I shared a special bond. Sometimes, I discovered lyrics that were supportive and understanding of my loneliness and sorrow, while other times, joyful rhythms perfectly captured my happiness. At 14 years old, I created mixed cassettes that told a story and gave them to friends just to see if they would ponder the order of the tracks I had selected.

Music has always been a dependable friend and an essential part of my life that I couldn’t imagine living without. It provided vital support during the significant changes I experienced while adjusting to life in America. After approximately a year of living here, my excitement soared upon discovering that I could listen to an incredibly fun live band at a restaurant called “Pasha” without the need to present my ID, as long as I arrived early for dinner. After saving up for the expensive meal, I eagerly attended the event and stayed until I had the chance to meet the band and assist them in loading their gear into their van. This place soon became my sanctuary, my weekly pilgrimage, where I not only enjoyed the music but also forged connections with everyone who worked there. I no longer had to purchase dinners or pay a cover charge. I suppose you could say I became a groupie.

The band played three sets of high-energy dance hits, and between each set, there was 40 minutes of boring elevator music. I observed that many people didn’t want to wait around during these breaks and left. Having also met the owner one night at the bar, I suggested that he get a DJ to bridge the sets and keep the crowd engaged. He said, “Well, you are here every week, how about I give you $50 cash, and you do it?” I didn’t know what to say since I was 19 and legally wasn’t supposed to be allowed inside, let alone perform a job I knew nothing about. After taking a few days to think about it, I realized this was my opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, so I said yes!

Less than two years after landing at O’Hare International with no English, I welcomed my first opportunity to challenge myself and grow. That first opportunity many years ago helped me in more ways than I can count. I gained confidence, expressed my creativity, improved my self-worth, practiced entrepreneurship through private gigs, made many good friends, and earned additional income to establish myself here. Whenever I tell this story, I always end it with “Only in America.” Only in America would a nineteen-year-old with broken English be offered a job he’s never done before. While it has been close to 30 years, I still get the question, “How do you like it here?” My answer has always been the same: I love it here. Here gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and discover who I really am. I love it here because here is home. So, what is your “Only in America” story?

– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

Hope, Fear, and AI

Discover the fascinating world of AI-powered language models and their impact on survey research in this thought-provoking article from The Verge. With the advent of advanced AI technologies like ChatGPT, the article delves into how these models are transforming the way surveys are conducted, analyzed, and understood. Explore the possibilities and challenges that arise from using AI in survey research, as well as the potential benefits it brings to data analysis and decision-making processes.

 National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day is July 1st

Get ready to indulge your taste buds and celebrate National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day! This delightful occasion is a perfect excuse to discover and savor the most imaginative and unique ice cream flavors out there. From tantalizing combinations like lavender honey to exotic options like spicy chili mango, there’s no limit to the imaginative concoctions that ice cream enthusiasts have dreamt up. To inspire your taste buds, check out this mouthwatering article featuring some extraordinary ice cream flavors you can make at home.

How to Clean Your Air Pods

Are your beloved AirPods in need of a refresh? Look no further than this informative article which guides you through the process of cleaning your AirPods to keep them looking and sounding their best. From removing earwax buildup to tidying up the charging case, you’ll learn simple and effective techniques to maintain the cleanliness and functionality of your AirPods.

Eat Beans Day is July 3rd

Eat Beans day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the delicious and nutritious world of legumes! Beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils, are not only tasty but also incredibly healthy for you. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they make a fantastic addition to any meal. So, why not explore the wonderful world of beans and incorporate them into your daily diet? Here is a delicious recipe to get you started!