The summer of 1992, my pen pal came to my house to visit. That fall, I went to France to see her. While in France, I attended a French high school, got terrible grades (even in English) and was able to do a little bit of sight seeing. I found my local church congregation and met a few American families there that I could talk with. My American friends at church went to an International School and spoke English all day...French was just a class to take. One American family with 6 children impressed me quite a bit. They put their kids into French schools and their kids became fluent in French. I wanted that for me. And I wanted that for my future family.
|Harry and David Factory tour Spring Break 2015|
Over the years and through my many travels, I remembered this family. One day my husband and I would find a job overseas and our family would integrate into another culture. The kids would speak another language with native proficiency and without accent.
A few years after Tymon and I got married, he got a job with Panasonic Avionics. As a worldwide company, they have job openings across the globe. Sometimes, I would log in to his employee account and search the job postings. I searched for jobs he was qualified to do and then I'd search those countries and cities for available housing and schools. It was a time suck but seemed more productive than watching TV in the evenings. Though none of the job postings resulted in overseas employment, over the years Tymon and I seriously discussed making it happen one day.
A couple of weeks ago, during Spring Break, we visited the Oregon Vortex. It's an odd place where the world collides within itself and molecules change size. What seems real in one place alters when you move a few feet over. In the upper photo above you will see Tymon and Hilary with a stick on their heads. Notice the angle and that Tymon is taller than Hilary, which in real life he is about 4 inches taller. In the lower photo they've switched places. The only change is that they are in different parts of the vortex. It now appears as though Tymon is maybe only an inch taller. Hilary grew a few inches in a matter of seconds.
It wasn't comfortable for me in the vortex. I found it fascinating while at the same time nausea was setting in. Apparently, when the vortex was discovered by miners over a hundred years ago their horses and other animals wouldn't go in the area with them. I believe it. I also wanted out.
|Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California|
|Winchester Mystery House, Jelly Belly Factory, Oakland Temple|
And yet within me, my dreams of yesteryear swirl around in a vortex, side by side with the life we have now. It's a little awkward. A little uncomfortable. And a lot exciting.
|Golden Gate Park and Bridge|
Tymon and a friend have been working for the last year plus on opening a business together. There have been plans, set backs, more plans, some forward movement, a little disappointment, more forward movement and the time has come to take the leap of faith. I've been planning for an altered role in my driving school for just over a year now. We're really going to do this.
|Stinky Sea Lions, San Francisco Cable Car, Lombard Street|
We're moving to Sao Paulo. We visited the Brazilian consulate in San Francisco during spring break to finish our applications for visas. It took many months to get permission to even make that appointment. And there was always the possibility that it wouldn't happen. However, we got our visas in the mail this past Saturday. We're legal. Tymon and the boys have tickets to fly out in about 6 weeks. I will follow with the girls sometime near the end of summer after our driving school's busy season.
|Alcatraz - former US Federal prison.|
Part of the exhibit included the names and images of political prisoners around the globe as well as a brief description of their "wrongs". There were post cards and a big mail bin to collect them in. An interesting combination of art and activism. I felt conflicted as to whether or not I should send one of the prisoners a post card. What do I know about any of them? Nothing...except what the blurb said. There were many men listed. I wondered if any were women. I found a few near the back of the book. One, a Vietnamese blogger named Ta Phong Tan, spoke out against her government and its corruption. I sent her a note.
|We met one of the original "Rosies" in Richmond, CA.|
We visited my aunt in Berkeley and went with her to the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond, CA. During WWII, Richmond was building ships faster than anywhere else. Many women joined the workforce during those years. We met a woman named Mary Torres there. She worked at the same shipyard in Oakland that my grandfather did during the war. We listened to her story for about half an hour. Mary's courage and faith to travel across the country not knowing a soul and having nothing but a few dollars and sandwiches in her purse inspire me to take a similar leap. Only I'll have my family with me.
I imagine this fall my life will somewhat resemble the American mother I met in France. Similar yet different. In many ways, all my own. Truth be told, I'm excited that I get to choose these challenges.
Often our lives are packed full of complexities that don't seem compatible. Sort of like the vortex swirling around us. We stretch and grow in the face of adversity. Though I'm not fighting a corrupt government or inequalities in the workforce, different challenges will be be smacking me up side the head soon enough.