Tag Archives: English as a second language

Love and Peace in seven minutes

Early Friday morning, there was a magical looking mist just above the surface of the Vermilion. My non-early morning nature took in its beauty, as the extra minutes of quiet gave me time to consider what living by a river that flows both ways could teach me.

On that morning, the river was flowing south — like it’s supposed to in my mind. However, there are times when it’s heading in the other direction. I’ve seen the reverse flow many times, but it still discombobulates me. Like the Vermilion, my relationship with my 15-year-old daughter has its own ebb and flow that no moon chart seems to be able to predict. And like the river’s reverse flow surprises me every time even though it happens often, the continual re-recognition that my 15-year-old daughter has a right to her own opinions and ideas does the same thing. When she was young, she was always such a compliant child.

Cue laughter on the part of other moms and dads who had compliant young children who grew to be teenagers.

Too often these days, she and I can’t get on the same wavelength. Seems as though when I’m in the mood to be relaxed and have fun, she’s surly and preoccupied. This week, I finally recognized that there are moments when she approaches me and offers her own form of an olive branch — and maybe I haven’t been exactly receptive either. I vowed to do better.

So, on Thursday morning when I was rushing to get to my office and she asked me to watch not one, but two Internet videos, I stalled. I asked if how long they were.

Seven minutes total, she said.

I asked if she could email me the links.

“I really want to watch them with you,” she said.

That was the point when I thought, “What’s seven minutes when it may re-open lines of communication with my daughter?”

So, I said, “Sure.”

And, she started the first video. It turned out to be one I had already seen, but I was going to watch it anyway — and love it. She must have sensed that I’d seen it and asked. I told her I had but that I wanted to watch it again. It was, after all, Valentine’s. (The video is the one with the guy named Isaac who choreographs and films his elaborate proposal to his girlfriend. She sits in the back of a car that goes slowly down the road as all their family and friends proceed to sing and dance and perform to Bruno Mars’ “I Think I Wanna Marry You,” ending with a proposal. It’s sweet, beautiful and touches me no matter how many times I watch it.)

My daughter said, “We don’t have to watch this one. The one I really want you to see is its follow up that just came out today.”

The first was a video about love. When it finished, we smiled at each other. Then she was ready to show me the second video. It ended up touching my heart even more than the first. Rather than being about the sappy sweet, choreographed, unrealistic aspect of love, the second video was about the power, value and rewards of long-lasting love — and the difference a supportive family makes.

Maybe my daughter simply showed me the video because it was beautiful and well done. Or maybe she too has occasional flashes of realization that life is better when you’re at peace and ease with those around you — especially your mother. Maybe she too wants to ease the tension that becomes all too common between a little girl who’s growing up and her mother.

Email Jan at jan@janrisher.com.

LSS: Everybody out to Mardi Gras and here’s why:

This is a column about Mardi Gras.

But bear with me.

Nearly 20 years ago, I planned to take a trip to Africa for early February. I planned it for that time because my friend, who had lived there 12 years, assured me that was when Burkina Faso was at its best — meaning that the temperature rarely topped 100 degrees and most roads were passable because it wasn’t the rainy season.

I was living on the East Coast and was accustomed to trudging my way through snow for much of the winter. That winter, however, was different for me — the cold and dark days passed much more quickly than usual. The time seemed exciting and full of anticipation. I didn’t take long to figure out it was because I had something out-of-the-ordinary-winter-doldrums to look forward to.

Every year since then, I’ve tried to plan a trip during February. I just like the way having something to look forward to in February makes my year work out.

For years, I thought I was so clever.

Then I moved to Louisiana — and learned that Louisiana was clever long before me.

Even though Louisiana didn’t invent Mardi Gras, the state has certainly perfected it, but the harsh reality is that folks in other states just don’t get it.

Really, they don’t.

If you’re not surrounded by the hullabaloo that is Mardi Gras — it’s just Tuesday. Remember the year Bobby Jindal gave the response to the State of the Union address, which happened to fall on Mardi Gras? He started off with a big, toothy, “Happy Mardi Gras!” — and it fell terribly flat.

The rest of the country hasn’t the capacity to appreciate the balls, the pageantry, the royalty or the parades. I’m convinced that they can’t get it even if they come to visit a year or two or three. Appreciating the intricacies of Mardi Gras takes time, repetition and a degree of generational perspective.

For example, most folks across the rest of the country (I could safely include the world here, but I’ll stay domestic) would not think it perfectly natural to happen upon a lady in front of her home on a Sunday afternoon as she meticulously photographed 31 highly decorated, brightly colored, glitzy, glimmery high-heeled shoes — only to be told that she was a Muse.

That should have been explanation enough.

I was (and remain) ashamed to admit my lack of knowledge before last Sunday of New Orleans Muses and their shoes. Yes, she and the other members of her krewe are each allowed to throw 31 shoes during the course of their New Orleans parade.

When she explained the situation, it all made perfect sense to me. My first thought wasn’t, “How bizarre.” Nope, my first thought was, “I wish a Lafayette krewe would throw out something handmade and beautiful like a shiny, shimmery shoe — I’d love a shoe.” Followed by, “Perhaps they do? Maybe it’s another level of the secrets of Mardi Gras that haven’t been revealed to me yet?”

The Muse went on to explain that she took about four hours to carefully decorate each of her 31 shoes she would throw to “special people along the way.”

She pointed to one shoe that included a King Cake baby, “This one’s for a friend who’s just has a baby.” She pointed to another shoe and said, “The backless shoes are the easiest, but even still they all take a lot of time.”

If you do the math, through the course of the year — or the months leading up to Mardi Gras, she spent about 124 hours decorating her shoes. By the looks of the shoes, which were basically works of art, I’d surmise that she enjoyed every minute of the time.

And such is the fun (and point) of Mardi Gras.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

LSS: Unsolved mystery rules

Mystery ruled my week.

I keep going through the pieces like Columbo in a whodunit — inch-by-inch, slice-by-slice and moment-by-moment. I love a puzzle, but early on, I recognized that this conundrum was beyond my skill set.

So, we called in the authorities. At this writing, they too are confused even though this is a mystery with serious consequences — my dad’s health.

Ten days ago, he and my mom came to visit from their home in Mississippi. Dad had an eye infection. His doctor at home had diagnosed it and prescribed some medicine — and that’s when things began to get complicated. The very short version of a very long story is that my father’s health began going downhill, leaving him spending the better part of this week in the hospital, as a very sick fellow.

Watching a parent — who has always been so vibrant, so full of vim, vigor and readily bandying his personal version of funny at every turn — become disoriented and quite ill is a rite of passage that adults anticipate. Even so, none of us end up being prepared to handle it when it comes to pass.

As of this week, count me in that group.

In a culture that rallies around just how fast things that used to take a long time can happen — from meals to downloading files, most of us are looking for answers and looking for them fast, especially when it comes to the health of people we love.

But sometimes, no matter how hard people try or how much many people want to help or search for the solution, a clear-cut answer does not exist. That has been the case this week with my dad and the many medical personnel who have done so much to help.

Since my parents are away from their support network, I’ve used social media and tried to walk the fine line of providing enough information without going overboard. Both my parents taught school for decades in and around the town where we all grew up. As I’ve posted updates on my father’s health developments, watching the litany of prayers and wishes roll in has warmed our hearts.

Sitting in the hospital, I’ve read messages from former students and players. Messages like, “Jan, please tell Coach to hang in there. I know it is stressful on the whole family. Hopefully, there will be a diagnosis soon and a clear plan of action for the doctors. Praying for Coach from Qatar! He is loved all over the world. Literally!” Both my parents have been amazed at the outpouring of people who wished them well. There is nothing like being on the receiving end of positive thoughts and prayers to add a degree of peace to the situation.

Meanwhile, I certainly wish that someone could produce a magic pill and make it all better, that’s just not the way life works, is it?

Think of how society’s attitude toward sickness and medicine has changed from our grandparents’ generation to our own. Like our grandparents knew, sometimes we just have to wait it out. Then again, sometimes sharp, immediate and conclusive action is required. Finding the happy place between those two extremes, I suppose, is the sweet spot of modern medicine.

I’ve spent time this week being the primary mediator between my dad and his medical team. I’ve spent more time this week playing the role of primary mediator between my dad and the host of people who love him. Through it all, I’ve been reminded that the vast majority of folks are in the sharp-immediate-and-conclusive camp, rather than the waiting-it-out crew — and I’ve surely been there myself. But this week, I’ve learned to appreciate the value of waiting, rather than rushing, and ambiguity over absolute.

Sometimes accepting things as they are rather than dissecting why they are is a big step in the healing process.

LSS: A step closer to Olympic dreams

After much deliberation, consideration and some practice too, I am officially launching my campaign for a new Olympic sport.

It just so happens that if the Olympic committee sees fit, I may finally have the opportunity to realize my personal Olympic dreams — something I’ve envisioned for decades now.

My interest in this particular potential-Olympic sport was rekindled last spring by happenstance during a monthly ladies investment club meeting. (How many times has that sentence been written?)

Ten ladies of varied interests make up the membership of our investment club. We were all still sitting at the table after dinner when I remembered I had an arm-wrestling contender for my friend Stacey Scarce. If you know Stacey (parish naturalist), you know that among her many talents, is her arm-wrestling prowess. To my knowledge, she is undefeated in the ranks of women and can hold her own with many of the fairer sex, as well.

Another investment club member said, “Oh Stacey, I believe I can take you on.”

And that was all it took to launch a mini arm wrestling tourney. But alas and alack, we were no competition for Stacey. However, one of the women said, “Stacey, if I could take you on with these babies (and she motioned to her legs), I believe I could take you down.”

With those words, my face lit up.

“Leg wrestling?” I asked. “You know how to leg wrestle?”

I hadn’t thought of leg wrestling in many years.

The rest of the ladies in my investment club stared at me with blank expressions.

One of them said, “Jan, darling, there’s no such thing as leg wrestling,” as if we were discussing the Tooth Fairy.

“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong,” I explained and proceeded to explain the simple rules and regulations of leg wrestling.

Two people lie on the floor, side by side in opposite directions, with their hips aligning. Together they say, “One, two, three.” As each number is called, they raise the leg closest to the other person in sync. On “Three,” they hook legs and try to roll the other person. When one person successfully rolls on to his or her side away from the other person, he or she has won.

Got that?

So we went to my living room and moved the coffee table. I enlisted a volunteer to demonstrate one round and then a full-on Leg Wrestling Tournament was under way.

Mind you, the youngest member of our group is in her early 30’s. She did not participate. We have another member in her mid-30s, but she wasn’t there that night. Most of the rest of us are in the next decade-ish.

Not to embarrass my friends, but the first three or four of them were really very little competition. Some were afraid to try. Finally, Stacey agreed to a match.

While the girl can take all comers when it comes to arm wrestling, bring them my way for the leg wrestling portion of the evening’s entertainment.

Yep, I beat Stacey handily.

She’s convinced I have some secret technique that I’m not sharing. I promise I don’t. It’s sheer strength and force.

We’ve since taken our leg-wrestling tournament on to one other venue. Again, I was the undisputed champion.

Oh yeah, Olympics, here I come. Hello, Rio de Janiero 2016.

LSS: A lesson from his father

My husband and I have been married 18 years. Through the years, I’ve gotten bits and pieces of the story I’m about to tell, but this week was the first time he ever told me the whole thing — and he gave me his blessings to share it here.

Back in 1969, a few weeks after the astronauts landed on the moon, my husband’s dad went into the hospital.

From everything I know about my husband’s father, I gather that he was a manly man. I know he loved strange meats and cheeses, opera and bullfighting.

“He had a bunch of opera records,” my husband said. “I got that from him. I like opera. I’m not a fan of bullfights, but I’m glad I got to see some. I love the music and the sounds of a bullfight — and you know I love strange meats and cheeses.”

That trip to the El Paso, Texas, hospital marked the first hospital stay of his life. Doctors wanted to determine the source of some stomach problems. My husband and his mom were waiting for his dad when he got out of exploratory surgery. Everything seemed fine.

They talked for a while, and then headed home to check on the family’s two younger children staying with neighbors.

At some point that night, the phone rang. It was one of those phone calls you don’t want to get. Someone from the hospital was calling saying things weren’t going well.

Come quick.

No one else in the family drove. They woke Mr. Ortiz, the neighbor. He took my husband and mother-in-law to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, the staff wouldn’t let them in the room where they had visited a few hours earlier. My husband remembers someone talking to his mom and her crying.

Eventually, they went home. Nothing in his life has been the same since.

That was the summer between his 8th and 9th grade years. In 8th grade, he had been student body president and involved in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. Once the funeral was done and the dust settled, he and his mom sat down and had a long talk.

He was the same age as our oldest daughter is now.

“Think about Greer (our daughter) right now,” he said to me last week. “She doesn’t have a clue about the ramifications of the light bill not getting paid. She doesn’t even think about it. The lights go on by magic. We stop and eat at a restaurant, and she orders whatever she wants. It’s all magic. Back then, when my mom and I figured it all out, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, you mean if I don’t do this, the lights won’t go on? What do we do?’ Well, I got a paper route.”

So began my husband’s long career in newspapers — and many other life lessons.

“I became more aware of everything around me because I became responsible. Childhood was over,” he said. “All of a sudden it wasn’t about me anymore. I wasn’t bitter. That was just the way it was. As a matter of fact, in a strange way, it gave me more reason to succeed — to be good at what I was doing because I wasn’t doing it just for me anymore.”

He had thrown a paper route before, but the short route was to earn money to buy model airplanes. He refers to the job he got after his dad died as “a real paper route” — 100 papers every afternoon. He’d pick them up a block from his high school and walk the mile or so up the mountain throwing papers on both sides of the street. He switched to a morning route his sophomore year in an effort to be available for after-school activities.

By the time he graduated high school, he went to work for the newspaper full-time.

Early in our conversation, I asked my husband what he thought his dad taught him. He was stumped.

“When your parent dies and you’re that young, there are a lot of things that you plan to do together or thought you’d do, but we never got to do,” he said.

By the time he got to the part of the story of how his life changed after his dad died, he had come up with an answer to my question.

“Maybe that’s what my dad taught me — to get up and go to work every single day.”

He paused.

“Or maybe it was something more. Maybe somewhere along the way, I figured out what my dad knew all along. He was a man who never complained — which may explain why he was so quiet! Even so, I believe he taught by example that life is about happily doing whatever you have to do.”

Gracias por la lección, Papi.

(Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, runs in The Sunday Advertiser. Email her at jan@janrisher.com.)

LSS: Waiting for the lights to come on

Sitting in the dark of our living room, with the lights and electricity out because of Thursday night’s humdinger of a storm, my 10-year-old daughter was freaked out by the lack of light and electricity.
Barely a hundred years ago, electricity was the exception and not the rule. In fact, by 1920 only 35 percent of homes had electricity. By 1956, 99 percent of American homes were wired to use electricity, which means the bulk of us have had lights at our beck and call throughout the duration of our lives. We take light and so much more of our day-to-day lives for such granted that we miss a major element of appreciation altogether.
Genuine gratitude is soul soothing and makes life at large so much more palatable — for everything from a refrigerator full of food to a song that makes you smile to a car that cranks to a phone that rings to a faucet that turns on and spews forth cold, fresh, clean water. By today’s standards, any of those amenities are considered basic necessities by most.
Sitting in the dark of our living room seemed to be a good place to continue the gratitude conversation my 14-year-old daughter and I had started earlier this week. I know 14 is tough, and I try to be fair, but there are times when 14-ness gets to a parent — and, lately, that parent has been me.
I think about the time when I was about her age. I recall enough of that time to remember believing that I was really proving something with my outward display of a near-constant state of frustration with the world. Of course, I generally reserved such an exhibition for my parents at home. I suppose I wanted to be certain they recognized just how little they knew and what a pain they were.
And, you know what they say about karma.
I’m still uncertain about just what it was I was blustering around about, but it was something significant in my mind. Like my own daughter today, I took light and so much more for granted.
Sitting in the dark made me think about all of this.
Lately, I’ve tried on several occasions to share with my daughter how much better life gets after the transition from living a tormented life full of anguish to one that’s more contented — and I’m unsure if that shift comes by choice or chance. Either way, something caused my realization and appreciation of the bounty of my world, and life was so much better afterwards. With that awareness, I also became conscious of other notions that made life much easier — the value of letting go of situations instead of trying to control them, the wisdom of forgiving those who had wronged me in reality or perception and the joy in attempting to do my part to make the world a better place every day.
Together, we continued sitting in the dark until the storm subsided, and the lights came back on.

LSS: Get up and move.

Despite appearances, this is not a column about moving furniture.
Act 1
For reasons unknown, three months ago, my husband took all the bits and pieces I had stored in a rather large piece of furniture in our bedroom and moved it to our living room. Granted, the piece was not designed for a bedroom and shouldn’t have been there to begin with, but it was and, in my humble opinion, it worked.
But he didn’t think it belonged there, and, like I said, he was right. He moved it to a spot right beside our front door and said we would sell it. I was game.
The giant empty piece of furniture began its life near our front door.
Gradually, I started placing this and that inside its closed doors. A candlestick here. A souvenir there. A spindle of string. A birthday card. A pewter tray.
Haphazardly, the glass-doored 6-foot tall chest on legs began to fill. It looked ridiculous, and I missed the storage space in our bedroom — be it right or wrong.
At this point, I should be completely honest. I must admit that though I’d like to say this piece of furniture was moved three months ago, that is a lie. I only thought it was “a few months,” but upon closer reflection at the dated artifacts inside, I now realize it was moved more like 14 months ago.
At first, I asked about it often. In fact, it sat empty for a good two months.
I readily admit that this turn of events did not have happy consequences for my marriage. I began to ask about the piece of furniture, perhaps too often and with no results.
“When are you going to sell that thing?”
“Why did you empty it and move it in here to begin with?”
“It doesn’t look good there. We should do something with it.”
And so it went, for a long, long time.
Act 2
I get a lot of email.
Most of it is from people, companies or organizations I’ve taken an interest in over the years. Over the past several months, I’ve noticed a trend. Much of the unsolicited email comes in during the night. Yep, between 11:30 p.m. and 8 a.m., I’ve been getting about 60 emails each and every night. Granted, much of it has deals and information that I might be interested in — if I had the time and energy to sift through it all.
About three weeks ago, I began relentlessly deleting the junk email each and every morning. Call me slow, but early this week, I realized that I should simply unsubscribe to the array of emails filling my inbox over night. I decided to unsubscribe to a minimum of six lists a day. Doing so has been no easy task, but it’s been empowering.
Act 3
On Thursday morning, as I sat in my self-congratulatory stupor after unsubscribing myself from six email lists, I looked up and saw the giant piece of furniture — the very piece of furniture that has been driving me crazy for far too long.
I sat there and thought, “I bet that thing’s not really that heavy.”
I checked.
It wasn’t.
So, I removed the rugs and cleared a path between the living room and our bedroom and started moving the piece of furniture. With every foot I inched that large piece of furniture down the hallway, I became more and more robust and determined.
Of course, I thought, “Why didn’t I do this long, long ago?”
The feeling was the same one that I got from unsubscribing to the email lists. In both cases, for months, I had wallowed in a state of learned helplessness asking, “Why is this happening? Why doesn’t someone else fix this for me?”
When in fact, fixing both the problems was within my grasp all along.

Jan Risher’s Long Story Short appears Sundays. Email her at jan@janrisher.com.

LSS: A red-letter day

Today is a red-letter day,” the high school principal said over the intercom system long, long ago.
I was a high school junior back then. I didn’t notice the kids around me snicker when he said it. Maybe they did, but more than likely, the folks in my homeroom weren’t paying attention. Later that day, I realized the principal’s “red-letter day” comment had legs.
In the way high school students can turn an innocent comment into a cult phenomena, many students were repeating the phrase over and over.
I didn’t get it.
I thought, “In fact, it is a red-letter day. We’re playing our archrival in football. We’ve got a big pep rally. It’s crazy dress day. What’s not red letter about it?”
My friends, who were enjoying the red-letter silliness, noticed that I didn’t get it and, to their credit, they tried to shield me from it—the way people try to shield the innocent.
Not that I was innocent, but still, in this one case, my friends went above and beyond the call of duty and tried to have their red-letter day fun when I wasn’t around. Perhaps more than I realized myself, they knew the high school principal and I had more in common than was cool for me to admit or acknowledge.
I suppose I had heard the principal use the expression before.
A red-letter day. The expression comes from medieval times. Even back then, calendars had special days and dates printed in red ink.
In lots of ways, I suppose that my high school principal taught me a lot about embracing occasions. He tried to teach students the beauty of turning blasé moments that could have passed without anyone thinking twice into moments that could linger for a lifetime. He was one to take bold steps, rarely holding back. For me, watching him pull off crazy stunts no one else would have tried was contagious.
I couldn’t help it. I had to try them too.
The truth was that I had been paying attention to that particular high school principal for a lot longer than the morning announcements lasted.
He was my dad.
I knew the cold hard fact of the matter was that students were going to rib the principal to some degree. I thought it was kind of sweet that my “red-letter” friends realized a split-second too late that they were having good-natured fun in front of me. They tried to cover up the way kids do, but we all knew the score. I wanted them to know I didn’t mind. However, I didn’t want to betray my dad either. We all silently agreed to agree that I didn’t hear it.
In the weird way these things work, because of that flash of a red-letter moment that no one else likely remembers, the phrase has stayed with me much more than it would have.
Today is a red-letter day. That high school principal taught me that turning just another day into a red-letter one was energy worth spending—no matter what anyone else thought about the effort. He knew how to drum up excitement. He knew how to organize something and get other people on board. Truth be told, making an occasion or a party out of something that could have been boring or humdrum is a gift that served him well throughout my growing up years. That ability is a gift that continues to serve him through to this very day. Though my efforts often pale in comparison, the perspective of age has taught me what my friends probably realized back then—my dad and I have a lot in common.
In my house, like the one where I grew up, we are of the mind that there is nothing wrong with having a celebration whether it be organized to the nth detail or spur of the moment.
And on this day, I have all the faith in the world that celebrating my dad and his day will be a red-letter day too. We will make it that way.

LSS: Take a trip

Settling in after our big trip to England hasn’t been difficult because life just kept right on going—like it does. However, my perspective was much improved.
At work, I was able to plug right back into the swing of things, with new and hopefully improved ideas. As I’ve written before, I love to go, but I also love to come home.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice and narrow mindedness.”
He’s right. Travel forces us to do things in ways we’re not used to doing them. Basically, we have to think differently—maybe not much or maybe in mind-boggling ways. Thinking a little differently—even for a short while—is good for our brains and souls.
Sometimes traveling in England doesn’t feel nearly as foreign as other countries. But like all Americans who walk across a street there, every time my daughter Greer and I took that first step into a street, we were reminded that we were in a foreign place. We had to look right, not left.
Hence, since we’ve been home, I’ve been a much more deliberate driver. It’s a mundane example, but a reminder that looking at things through a different lens heightens awareness.
As much fun as taking a trip is for me, planning trips invigorates me even more—especially trips to places I’ve never been. I like to share that joy.
So, I want you to take a trip soon.
Take a trip to anywhere.
Pick a place and start planning.
It doesn’t have to be to a distant land, but try and make your journey include spots and activities you’ve never done before. If you need destination suggestions, I’m full of them! For example, have you been to Ship Island off the Mississippi Coast?
Sure, plan a big trip for down the road, but right now plan a trip to somewhere for June or July. Think of something you’re passionate about—the Red Sox, the space shuttle, Fourth of July fireworks over the Washington Monument. Think of something you’ve always wanted to see or do. Make it happen. Mark it off your list.
If you can’t come up with somewhere that rocks your world, settle for cooler weather.
Go somewhere you don’t know well. Stay a week. Stay a few days. Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, the lakes of Michigan, the mountains of Arkansas, the hills of Tennessee. Pick a National Park. The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Great Smokies, Acadia.
Head to the beach.
Take a cruise.
Consider this your clarion call.
If you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at researching, call a travel agent. Lafayette has dozens of knowledgeable travel agents.
Travel bargains are plentiful. Finding ways to travel on a shoestring can be fun. While Greer and I were in England, we made it a point to go to farmers’ markets and buy foods for picnics. Fresh bread, homemade cheddar and homegrown strawberries were delicious. The farmers’ food tasted better than most restaurants we tried. And, to top it off, it was cheaper.
If what makes travel exciting is doing new and exotic things, you don’t have to go to new and exotic places to experience new and exotic things. If necessary, go to easy-to-access places, just find something different to do once you’re there. Maybe you go to Houston all the time, but have you ever been to the Asian mall in Houston? Have you been to the art museum downtown?
Let go of expectations. Go with an open mind. Acknowledge and move on.
The day after I returned from England I spoke with a friend who said traveling of any form wears him out. I understand. Traveling is often uncomfortable. Maybe that’s what more of us need—to be uncomfortable and challenged more often. Maybe we wouldn’t be quite so quick to judge if we were a little less comfortable from time to time. Maybe we have to be forced occasionally to look at life from a different view.
I encourage my friend (and you) to go somewhere—preferably some place beautiful.
It all can be beautiful in one way or the other, can’t it?
Finding beauty in the foreign or the familiar rejuvenates our souls and makes us better people, which, in turn, makes the world a better place.