10 Years Ago
10 years ago I was beginning my junior year at my very suburban high school. I had spent a good part of my summer driving around with my three best high school friends, Adrianne, Sara and Stephanie. We all worked at the same McDonalds at that time and I was the only one with both a license and a car, if I remember correctly. We named my car Ed, because he was a gray, 4-door, 1986 Pontiac 6000 that deserved a mundane, middle-aged sounding name. I believe the church trip of that summer was “A Ride with the Son,” a week-long bike and camping expedition around Wisconsin ending with a crazy whitewater rafting trip where “I totally swear, I like, almost died.” The biking, however, was great. I remember at certain difficult times, 40 or 50 miles into the day, really feeling a connection with nature, sparked by the physical labor it took me to pass by all that rolling Wisconsin scenery.
5 Years Ago
I had just gotten back from my first trip to China. It was the summer of my life, and pardon the drama, but it forever changed my life. I had just been overseas for the first time. I had seen the world, not in its entirety certainly, but I experienced the existence of a big, diverse, beautiful, fascinating world. I made many friends that summer, some American, some Chinese. There is one friendship that will always remain special to me. It was also the most unlikely. A brilliant English student from Qinghua University and I met when some of my American friends and I were hanging out outside the dorms on campus. She and I clicked right away, bonding over talks of politics, current events, the media, religion, the world. She later married a Swedish man and is currently studying on the East Coast. I am married to a Mexican man, and I sometimes wonder what our tri-Continental dinner party would look like. That summer I learned a love of diversity. I was fascinated by the oldness of China – architecture, ways of life, food traditions, language, while the newness seeped in. Millions of cars, American-style advertising filling the open skies, students flocking to learn English and study in the states. That summer began a near-obsession with China, I later spent a year there and dreamed of more. I’m not sure when that more will come now, but I know China hasn’t left my life forever.
I worked an incredibly slow Sunday lunch at my restaurant. I came home and played with Jessica, this incredibly smart 6-year-old Mexican girl who my sister-in-law was babysitting. She has a baby sister who she carries around like she’s a doll even though she has to weigh at least 20 pounds. Jessica wanted to learn how to use my computer, so I showed her some of my digital pictures, and we tried to play chess and some other assorted games. It was my first time really communicating in Spanish with a child. It’s a lot different than with an adult, you have to speak a lot more clearly.
We bought some stuff for the bathroom we are putting in the upstairs of our house. I worked out (I wish that was a common enough occurrence to not have to mention) and then did some reading. Now, you would find me writing a marathon blog entry and awaiting the start of my novella.
I don’t work tomorrow either! I am planning on sleeping in, cleaning up my house and then hanging out with an old friend who just got back from Mexico.
1. Yoplait yogurt
3. Tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
4. String cheese
5. Juicy nectarines
CDs whose songs I know all of the lyrics to
1. U2 – War, Joshua Tree, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Atomic Bomb
2. Mana – Revolucion de Amor
3. Juanes – Un Dia Normal
4. Garden State Soundtrack
5. Over the Rhine – Ohio
5 Things I would do with $100,000,000
1. Buy some good properties that will appreciate over time. Buy some properties in blighted areas of the city and work to redevelop them into something useful for the community.
2. Give a big percentage (75%, I mean, what does one girl do with $100,000,000?) lot to some really good charities
3. Travel all over the world. I definitely need to hit the six continents. I would probably go to every country in South America, Europe and lots of interesting places that someone would recommend to me in Africa. I would definitely spend months if not years in Mexico and China – traveling and writing and traveling some more.
4. Keep working, but in some business that I have yet to dream up that would provide good jobs to working people.
5. Finally, put some away in the bank so my family and I can live our final few years without worry.
5 Locations I would like to runaway to.
1. Beijing, China
2. Madison, WI
3. Chicago, IL (I’d live in Mary’s neighborhood, in one of those great old row houses)
4. Portland, OR
5. New York – I’ve never been there, and I think I would love it
5 Bad habits I have
1. Biting my nails when I am nervous or bored
2. Swearing – this is a new one, but since becoming a General Manager, this has become a serious problem
3. Easily becoming bitchy with my husband
4. Not going to the gym even though I pay $60 per month for my membership
5. Eating too much crap – I really enjoy good, interesting food, but in its place, I also can put away the junk
5 things I like doing
3. Riding a bike through the city
4. Watching people
5 Things I would never wear
1. Those God-awful furry moon boots that are in style (or maybe that was just last year) let’s hope
2. On second thought, fur, real or fake, on anything
3. Feathers, on a belt, or on anything else
4. Tool belt
5. Basically any hat, especially that really big sombrero that Mary is always talking about
5 TV shows I like
1. La Madrastra – my novella that’s going to end in one week!!!
2. That 70’s Show
3. King of Queens
4. Seinfeld re-runs, especially watching my Mexican husband “get” the humor
5. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, What Not To Wear, While You Were Out, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition (these are all sort of in the same category, so I thought it best to mention them all)
5 Movies I like
1. In America
2. Garden State
4. Motorcycle Diaries
5. Office Space
5 Famous People I would like to meet
1. Bono – and not just meet, but have time to ask him some really good questions about his life in music and social justice
2. Phillip Yancey ((not really that famous, but an author I would like to speak with)
3. Brian McLaren (ditto from above)
5. The next Democratic Party presidential candidate, whoever that may turn out to be
5 Biggest Joys at the moment
1. Returning to consideration of all things eternal through great books given by others
2. Working in my garden
3. Hanging out with my husband and his family, on good days there’s a lot of people (and a baby) laughing, having fun, and eating something yummy
4. Any opportunity to visit friends in Chicago, or even just visit with friends here in Milwaukee
5. Reading great books
3 Favorite Toys (I couldn’t think of 5!)
1. My car – I love the sunroof and the stereo, and being in the car, with the sun shining, and the music playing
2. Whatever book I am reading at the moment
3. My laptop