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  • Writer's pictureAlison Conigliaro-Hubbard

Meaningful Connections: Curiosity Wins Every Time

I’ll share the moral of this story first: when we live and work with ‘curiosity over judgment’, a world of connection exposes itself - and it creates a bond. It can be magical and it can leave an impression.

This is Namara. He is 72 and retired, and drove me in his Uber to the airport this morning. I was curious about him so I asked where he originally came from and what he did before he retired. He came to the US from Ethiopia 45 years ago, and he loves this country - he said he would defend it proudly. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and is a self proclaimed ‘history junkie’.

His Dad was a farmer in Ethiopia and drove oxen on his farm; and his brother was killed in turmoil in the country. Namara received a scholarship to the university in Hungary, where he lived and studied for 8 years before deciding to come to the US. He said the US offered more possibility for anyone to be what they wanted to be than other countries. Even with his veterinary degree, his first job in the US was cleaning dog cages.

Ultimately he went to UC Davis to study for his state and national veterinary boards, which is where he met his wife. While more than qualified, he spend much of his career in the US as a public health officer for the state of California, after learning late in the game that he developed an allergy to some of the animals he studied so many years to help!

His first grandchild will be born this Summer - likely on his birthday. He is thrilled!

I truly enjoyed meeting my new friend, and I know the feeling was mutual.

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