Friday, January 4, 2013

Inspiration From Italy

From National Geographic

Last weekend I got an email from a former Outward Bound student of mine. This student was one of the most remarkable teenagers I met, and let me tell you here and now, I met a lot teenagers...

But in the sea of teens, which can be some pretty rough waters, this one is a GEM.

Born and raised in SF, she has now ventured off to Italy to study for nine months.  Alone.  She's had some sad and difficult life and family experiences, but has grown into one of the best, brightest, and bravest young women around.  I am so inspired by her and the courage it takes to be a teenager in another country.  Taking Italian lessons and working on service projects with Rotary Club, she is keeping busy and traveling often with her host family. She, and two other American students, even cooked Thanksgiving for their host families.  It was the first time she'd ever cooked a full Thanksgiving meal and it was important to her to share this American tradition.

I loved working for Outward Bound.  I loved the long days I spent hiking behind a group of students, with their dirty hair, crazy stories and slang.  I was never more in-tune with pop culture than my days in the woods with students. Which is a hilarious paradox. Anyway.  I think about the long dinners, sitting on the ground, eating spaghetti with spoons,  recapping the days adventures. Laughing or breaking up arguments or telling stories.  All of it (at the time I might have said most of it) was meaningful and wonderful and nuts.  Getting this email from this student sent my mind racing with inspiration and nostalgia.

I've been mulling over some resolutions this week, what with the new year and all.  Hearing from her in Italy reminded me not of *things* I want to do or maintain, but the way I want to *feel* while doing and maintaining. Maintaining a sense of courage and independence, a solid commitment to self reliance.  It's little things.  It's not avoiding asking for help. It's simply doing things on my own accord.  A simple (and somewhat trivial) example: I quit Facebook a few weeks ago which means sitting down and making phone calls or writing letters.  Not relying on FB to carry on my relationships. Self reliance/relaying on myself.

Just some thoughts for y'all today as I, honestly, try to figure out what to do with/how to maintain this blog.

All's well here in Wilmington.  We've had some visitors saying with us, which has been good times. Trav's prepping for his first day at work Monday, and I am up to my eyeballs in resumes, cover letters, and personal statements. To maintain sanity, every now and then I watch Seinfeld clips on YouTube.  Have a great weekend!


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