Thursday, February 9, 2017


I picked up an interesting book from the YA section of the library this week -- Kissing In America by Margo Rabb.

When I glanced at the title my first thought was, "Umm, no thanks!" But, then I noticed the blurb from Elizabeth Gilbert up at the top, which stopped me in my tracks and made me pick it up for further inspection.  Turns out the book has very little to do with kissing, and a whole lot to do with grief (both the kind you go through after losing a loved one, and the kind that gets handed down to you from parents or grandparents who suffered through something horrific, such as The Holocaust) as well as self discovery, coming of age, and the people who help get you through it all. 

The main character ends up on a cross-country bus trip with her best friend (chasing a boy, of course) and this advice from their bus driver really spoke to me and my personal beliefs.

"Ohio is the best. You gotta eat at City Chili...chili on top of spaghetti...First time I ate there, I come home and I says to my wife, I says, 'Let's put the chili on top of spaghetti for a change.' She says, 'No way. Chili? Spaghetti? No can do.'...Most people you know, they want to stay in their little house and not change nothing. But when you hit the road...everything you ever thought about the world is wrong. That's why you gotta travel."

I'm guessing that same paragraph may have resonated with Elizabeth Gilbert too, since her best seller Eat, Pray, Love was all about breaking out of her bubble, conquering her fear of change, and learning what she could from other cultures.

We'd been living in west Texas for five or six years when Hubby was offered the chance to move back to Indonesia. This time we'd be living on Sumatra rather than Java, and since we'd be working for a different company, and have two youngsters in tow, it was sure to be a totally different experience from our first.  My friends kept asking me"Why are you doing this? Don't you have a choice? Is someone forcing you to go?" I'm not sure they believed me when I said I actually encouraged John to accept the offer.  For sure they never would have fathomed that adjusting to our new life in Indonesia was the easiest part for our kiddos. It was coming back and adjusting to that same west Texas town afterwards -- where they no longer fit the mold, and old friends now thought them weird -- that was the difficult part.

Did they ever regret having gone? Well, perhaps you should ask them, 'though I have a pretty good idea as to what they might say. One thing I know for certain is that, without that experience, they would not be the amazing individuals they are today, nor would they be with the wonderful people they are now married to.

"That's why you gotta travel."

Along these same lines, I came across this article online recently. It was an eye opener, for sure! Now I finally understand why the friends who were most horrified that we were moving to Indonesia all voted one way in the recent election, while our lifelong adventure buddies voted the other.

Break out of your bubble. The world is a wonderful place, and not nearly as scary as you've been led to believe. 

Truthfully? The scariest things are right here at home.

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