For me, hands-down it is all of the new "friends" I have made, particularly here on PaleoHacks.
I always expected to gain health benefits. I knew given my penchant for science, that I would learn a lot about physiology, biochemistry, etc. And I fully expected that my family would benefit from it.
What I never forecasted, or certainly massively underestimated, was the number of people that I would virtually meet and have now befriended. With only a few exceptions, I am amazed at how collegial and compassionate this community is.
When I saw Jack Kronk's post a few weeks ago about his concern regarding his lipid tests, my first reaction was "my friend needs help". I have never met or talked to Jack yet that was the feeling. I'm not saying this to toot my horn at all and clearly there were many others that responded the same way.
Likewise, when I had my "coming-out" regarding my lacto-ovo implementation of Paleo due to family/ancestral baggage, I was overwhelmed by the number of supportive and thoughtful responses I got from my many new friends. I was very reluctant to write the post I did, but the community really delivered for me. THANK YOU!
So unquestionably, the relationships cultivated with many of you is the biggest surprise. And I certainly am a jokester and bullshitter at times here on PH, but this is straight from the heart. Thanks!