“This will always be your home.” A very very dear friend, who I definitely did NOT spend enough time with while in Mexico, Violeta Elena, was one of the first, and not the last to say this as I prepared to leave for the states after six years. I specifically remember one stretch of road as I JUST cleared the border of Mexico, into the states, and for the ride, it WAS just me, and the 3 dogs, 3 cats, relying on me me relying on…
so many many memories and relationships that became the glue that held me together when there were so many times I felt alone, and realized, I never, ever have been alone thanks to the amazing moments I have been lucky enough to build with so many. When I hear Tracy Chapman’s song, Fast Car, I think so much of those alone nights on the road, driving to and from Mexico, and without a doubt, all these memories of so many unforgettable moments with unforgettable individuals of both sides of the border make me realize, no border exists between any of us, only if we allow it.
I remember so many times when I first met shy, unsure of themselves individuals, and within a few years they became these amazing young men and women able to lead HUGE projects and lead HUGE amounts of others, and being able to be a witness to that, seeing that happen in individuals is one of the most amazing things you could EVER wish for, EVER. I remember Alice, and one say she had to navigate the metro for a stretch by herself and I – me, myself, and I was petrified, and we were in New York. I will NEVER, EVER forget the look on hr face as she figured out one of the most complicated routes to get to me, and she did and beyond, and little did I realize then, this would be one slight indicator of what an accomplished young women she would become. I can say this of every single young woman and man that has passed through the challenges what we thought was a simple magazine, was actually a training ground for what we all wanted from life itself, a metaphor even if you will. I thought of this amazing young man and how many of us feel like this until someone sides along beside us to let us know what power we each hold to bring small to large groups together amid so much conflict. When people tell you you can’t or go through motions that express that, the BEST thing in the world is to see dear friends defy the odds and grow into something even greater than you can know they can be.
Then I realized, when I started my career in education, I never was and still, am not prepared to full be able to take in the sense of wonder how every single student I ever met, from then Kate Baltz, to Alison Schwinn, to every single person that devoted themselves to Cross Country, to attempting something new like PAVE and Christina Stevenson, willing participants in my English classes to take an idea and transpose it to something outside of the classroom, the colleagues that believed the same was possible, so so many people that worked alongside me at Glade Run Stables and St. Steven’s Academy with Julie and Jen, to Slippery Rock University colleagues like Kim and Natalie to amazing and inspiring/talented individuals I met at the Baltimore aquarium like Andrea and Carrie, to SO MANY, and never realizing how dear to my heart a country like Mexico and the American School Foundation would become to everything I felt from my toes to my head in what I wanted to be as a person – It caught up with me as I sat in this amazing new library at Woodbridge High School. Names like Camila, Alice, Alia and anyone willing and daring enough to turn a library into a social venture like Gaby, Mocte, and Javier and run with it, along with countless more that would defy so much of what may thought was the minimum possible – it defined and redefined the idea of being alone was – which was a myth. With individuals like these, there was no way, no matter where you would be, you would ever be alone, ever.
The first two days of students I had never met before, this feeling of how students would just come up to me and we had this spark of – “Some great things will happen this year” just begin to pour out and you KNOW, you know this is going to be an exciting year due to the potential some individuals held inside of them. The talents, creativity, and abilities of all these years of working through the amazing aspects of education, as well as the disappointments, flaws, and missing links that education desperately needs, you realize how much the world needs individuals as these to keep so many others moving towards amazing feats they are not even aware of currently.
Those nights of on the road for miles of dark road ahead and not much else would disappear thanks to all the shining moments that these dear dear individuals were willing to share with me? There was nothing but lighted road from Mexico to the states if you just are willing to let in appear to you. Some people want to win the lottery, some want to win as much money as they can have for their life, but I have always had this one dream. I would want everyone I have ever met in Mexico, and in the states, to be in one huge gathering together, and I think we would be in AWE of how much energy and creativity we all have always had and getting to share and swap stories with each other. Strange maybe, but I think it would be the most beautiful moment I had ever experienced and we would continue to learn so much about who we have become. Who knows, stranger things have happened.