The Whole Picture is Nothing But a Compilation of Details.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I don't like e-cards. I really don't. I think they are impersonal beyond belief, but here I am... "Why?" you may ask. Well, there are about ninety-five of you on my Christmas card list and sending an e-card instead of a traditional card this year enables me to donate $146 to a charity of choice (last year I donated to Doctors without Borders). Enough said.



A brief synopsis: 2011 brought many changes to my life, and with them, opportunities to grow (and at times curl up in a ball and cry...).

In January 2011, having just returned from my second Christmas in 18 years with my family in Sweden/France and about to head to South America for two + weeks (great trip!!!), I got laid off in one of the tightest job markets since the great depression. But change is good: I used this as an opportunity to re-educate myself to enter a very different field of work for a second career, one that would be sustainable on a personal level for a longer time than being beaten up by horses: Higher/International Education. I started as a part-time, unpaid summer intern at a language school in Boston in April, got put in charge of the kids' camp in June, obtained my certificate to teach English as a Second Language in October, taught for two months and landed a full-time position last week...  :) .  Eight months from start to finish! Thanks to the many of you who supported me in my quest. Not to mention those of you who planted the seed years ago by shipping me out of Sweden.

I also made it to the west coast for the first time ever, where I celebrated my 40th birthday. Spent a wonderful week in San Fransisco with a great friend, her family and a new friend. When one door closes, try another... :)   I surfed for the first time, kayaked a lot, became a contributing writer to and learned how to restrain lobsters. I started running again.  I made more new friends from around the world. I also want to point out that I had no unforseen injuries this year... just a knee surgery. Is the tide changing? ;) 

Best wishes for a fantastic 2012!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Local Trip to a Place Far Away

Sunday morning. The phone rings. "Hey. Any chance you could pick me up at the airport tomorrow night? I was in an accident and am scheduled for re-constructive surgery on my face in the morning." Whoa!  Whatever was on my list of things to do quickly becomes irrelevant, urgent matters can easily be rescheduled, and my own "problems" seem trivial. "Of course, what else can I do?" I ask. "Nothing. I'm in Arizona."

I pick him up Monday night. Traffic is light and my somewhat random choices of lanes magically take me straight to the correct terminal. I arrive curbside just as he exits the building, for which I'm thankful: there's nothing worse than waiting to be picked up at the airport. Especially when you've been in a pressurized cabin for several hours within 24 hours of surgery. If you have, you know what I mean. If you haven't, I'll advise against it...
We stop off at the local pharmacy and clean them out of their supply of ice packs (all sizes and shapes) and at the local favorite pub for some soft food to go. With three metal plates, a few screws and thirty eight stitches in the face, that's all one can eat... mush.

Fed, medicated and propped up in bed with ice pack in place, he dozes off. He wakes up every hour and a half throughout the night, uncomfortable from the swelling, understandably so. I change the ice pack each time and ask if he's taken his medication, again and again, wondering when he'll clock me one for nagging. But I've made the mistake of falling behind on pain medication and playing catch-up with pain. Pain wins every time...

The next morning, before leaving for my day job, I run to the grocery store to procure enough mush to get the patient through the day. My former "problems" are no more.
I return in the evening with more mush and ice packs. Pad Thai and icecream fall in the catgory of mush so we eat well. The second night shift follows the same pattern as the first. I clock out at 6 am, get changed for my day job and head for the subway.
On a whim, I get off one station before my normal stop. The doors close behind me and I find myself transported into a different world: I feel like Alice in Wonderland...  walking slowly down the street marvelling at the Christmas decorations and the last few leaves rustling in the light rain. Pacificio, the cozy, very European cafe, where I would never dream of bringing my laptop, beckons with soft light, the smell of fresh pastries and steaming coffee. Alas, today there it not enough time. I promise myself to return another day. I stroll on, smiling.
A narrow side street lined with brownstone buildings, all adorned with intricate ironrod work and Christmas decor invites me to turn off the main road. Enchanted, I pause and take a few photos. A small number of sleepy people are slowly getting ready for the new day, which is still stirring in the early daylight. A familiar scent hits my nose and fills me with good memories, triggering a warm smile to spread across my face. Despite being close to rushhour, the people I pass in the street return the smile.
The Boston Common is quiet, except for the ducks; they sound funny. I realize then and there that I am genuinely relaxed and filled with happiness. I feel like I've been far away from home for a week. I have been less than fifteen miles away from home for less than 36 hours. Giving is rewarding.