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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taking Wrong Turns

I love a good adventure.

A friend of mine in high school made a comment- completely out of the blue- that has always stuck with me:

"Hey- did you realize that every driveway in the world is connected?"

Think about it.

And yes, I know there are oceans, etc, etc, but the concept that all of our homes are connected together is really quite profound.

And, to take it to the next level, if every driveway is connected than it is basically impossible to technically be lost.  Misrouted, perhaps, but never lost.

I think that strategy works well for life in general.  I've always hated when you're going through a rough period and people say "You'll get through it."  Of course.  Forward is the only direction in life that I'm aware of-- am I missing something?  Sometimes forward feels like dredging mud, but still, life slows down for no one.  There are a lot of speed bumps.

For me, the speed bumps have been the best part. 

When I was a senior in high school, I applied to be a Rotary Club Exchange student.  I wrote down that I wanted to go to Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.  I was accepted into the program.  They weren't sending students to Kenya due to the AIDS outbreak (it was 1988), they never sent girls to Egypt and I was eventually rejected from South Africa because I was over 18 (there's a nice twist to this...).  So I was given the choice of Costa Rica or Ecuador.  I enjoy the beach, so I picked Costa Rica.  Two weeks later, I got a call, they had made a mistake- it was Colombia or Ecuador.  I picked Colombia.  Since I didn't speak Spanish, I figured a larger city was better.  We completed the 28 page visa application, I deferred college and I waited for my family assignment.

Two months before my departure date, I received a letter from the Roberto Gonzalez family. 

From Ecuador.


The letter was beautifully written.  They looked very nice in the picture.  I had no big plans other than to be an exchange student, so after 48 hours of thought I figured "Why not?  If it sucks, I'll come back home."

So I moved to Ecuador.  For a year.  I honestly did not think I would last more than 2 months.  I ended up having the time of my life.  My "family" was wonderful and I made some of my very best friends.  It completely changed my outlook on life as well as my career choices. 

I even met the daughter of the family I would have lived with in South Africa-- she was an exchange student in the same city, believe it or not. Apparently, the student they had selected got sent home early for misbehaving.  And to be honest, she was a little uptight and nothing like Albita, my exchange sister who was wonderful and fun.

Nice wrong turn.

I blogged a few days ago about how my decision to be a mom was made.  Oops.

I even met my husband because I had been on a date with his best friend that didn't go well, met a colleague of theirs and she set me up with Shane. 

My career was also a giant wrong turn.  I applied off a classified ad as something to do until I went to grad school.  Now I have a career and a business that I love.

And today.

I had written on the calendar "Skip, UNLV."  I had no clue what on earth I was supposed to do with my son at UNLV.  I searched their website and other than graduation, I didn't see anything.

So I did the next natural thing- I posted it on Facebook.

Turns out my friend Paula was doing a presentation on creating a backyard habitat.

Hmmm.... I thought... that must be it.  We garden.  We like bugs.  We've been talking about attracting more bees and birds....

So we signed up (well, sorta- we actually just dropped in).

On our way to the museum where it was being presented, we stopped by the student union to get directions.  There was a sign directing people to a Family Day event that the school district was sponsoring.

Ooops.  That was where we were supposed to go.

But since I had told Paula we were going to her seminar, I told Skip we'd check it out on our way out (it ended after the seminar).  Plus, the habitat presentation really sounded pretty cool.

It was.

I learned SOOOOO much.  Paula is so smart and you can tell she has no idea that she is.  She said more in one sentence than I think I learned in a quarter of high school biology.  No joke.  I didn't realize that cotton tail rabbits were born hairless because they are born in dens and that jack rabbits have hair and nest above ground.  Makes a lot of sense.

Paula has the amazing ability to pull complicated science concepts together, into very practical, logical explanations.  Of course butterflies go to flowers that match their color so they can blend in.... that makes complete and total sense.  I had never put any thought into it.

And did you know that the Mexican Primrose is white and then turns pink once it's been pollinated?  I had no clue... how cool is that?  "No need to stop, Mr. Bee, I'm good to go..."

For three hours Skip and I listened, watched, toured the gardens as Paula and her colleague taught us some really cool stuff.

They even gave us a book on desert tree selection-- which Shane and I had been discussing just last week.

Nice wrong turn.

After, we stopped at the Family Day event.  Turns out, the target market was specifically low income families.  There was a lot of information on services and programs that wouldn't apply to us.  It was about encouraging your kid to stay in school.  How important college is... we've got that handled pretty well at our house right now.  I'm sure it was a great event, but for us, it wasn't what we were expecting or needed.

Creating a backyard habitat, however, was right up our alley.

Which connected us right back to our driveway.

Via a few wrong turns.


Chile Bravo said...

Awesome blog Mama Bean...brilliant

Rita said...

Sound very cool! I need to check out the colleges nearby and see what is going on this summer.