Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wind in my sails

(No this is not about me joining the sailing club.)

Happy Mothers' Day to everyone but especially to my mom. I'm not sure what percentage of people who read this blog have actually met my mother, but if you haven't met her you really should. Yes, I typically write about my adventures (with work, food, travel, etc) in random corners of the globe. But you see, my mother is the person who instilled that adventurous spirit in me.

I was always a bit confused by the stereotype that people who travel or live abroad must be running away from something. And Mom has certainly joked that both her children had to get as far away as possible when they graduated. But on the countrary, I've found that it's only with my mother's love, encouragement, and example that I was brave enough to set out on this road in the first place.

From the time we were children my mother always encouraged us to try new things and explore new cultures. She hired me a Spanish tutor because the rural school we attended didn't teach languages to elementary students. She and my father sent us to language camp and carted us off to see the world when I'm sure they could have saved themselves some stress and money leaving us at home. She opened our home to an exchange student and even today has a Chinese language-buddy that she meets with to practice English and share our culture. From her I learned the incredibly important lesson that travel is fun, other cultures are interesting, and people - no matter where they come from - are all worth getting to know. When I said I was going to try for an AIP* job (don't worry grandma, I didn't get it) she didn't bat an eyelash and when I found out I was headed to Lagos she was celebrating with me.

Without her behind me, I wouldn't have been able to sail very far from home. And while it kills me that we spend so much time apart, I have the lessons she taught me with me wherever I go. And the occasional great pleasure of introducing her to the places I've called home over the years.

So here's to you Mom!

I love you  and can't wait to see you soon,

Your daughter

*AIP stands for Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan

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