Airports

Here I am, sitting in the Minneapolis airport by myself sipping coffee.

And you know what?

I love it.

I love all airports.

Please tell me someone else out there has this strange love affair.

It’s not that they are a glorious valhalla of the world’s cuisine.

Or that everyone is so friendly you can’t help but smile.

Or that they smell like flowers.

Nor is it the lovely security that is always easy, stress-free, fast, and never the place where you are praying it isn’t your feet you’re smelling.

click for source

Really, it’s the possiblity that makes me love airports.

I love that here is the open door to anywhere.

I could hop on a plane and jet off to Paris and be sipping this cafe-au-lait while people watching, with the Eiffel Tower out of the corner of my eye.

I could fly over to Belize for some reefs and ruins.

I could fly to Alaska to kayak among the glaciers and whales and polar bears.

I could fly to China to sleep on the Great Wall.

Airports are symbols of the most exciting times of my life: the first time I flew, when I went to Switzerland at 15 and officially got hooked on traveling.

The first time I flew alone, to the lake in California.

When I went to visit the Boyfriend in the Seattle–the first time I visited a boy and his family.

When the Boyfriend and I flew over the Cascades together–one of the most beautiful flights I’ve been on, and I was traveling with a boy for the first time.

When I went to Peru, terrified and alone, clutching my English-Spanish dictionary.

When I went to Southeast Asia with my cousin, with months of unplanned traveling and volunteering stretching seemingly endlessly ahead of us.

Despite the fact that I always get nervous going through security, I always end up eating junk food and getting sick, I love airports.

They represent the adventure of life, my dreams of seeing the world, and the forming of my independence. They have forced me out of my shell, warned me to keep my passport close at all times (and that leaving it in the bathroom of a Peruvian airport will only lead to bad things), helped me start seeing the great world, and showed me that where I come from deserves some love, too.

Being in an airport reminds me that life is the great world and that I’m just getting started.

Even if right now I’m just flying from Minneapolis to Denver.

The Boyfriend’s Birthday

Today, the Boyfriend turns…drumroll please…25!!

To celebrate, we are going to JumpStreet.

We’re really grown-ups now.

courtesy of xkcd comics

Boyfriend, I hope you have a great day, and a better year. You deserve it. I’m so grateful that we get to define being adults, together.

Now,

Please can we stop time for a little while to put this getting-older thing oh hold for awhile?

Thank you.

and in 25 other ways, I also thank you…

For showing me how much being passionate about your job matters…for showing me how far that can get you and how happy that can make you (you’re a really good example of that).

For always telling me I look cute even when I know I don’t.

For making me laugh at all of our inside jokes that no one else would ever get, nor would they ever want to.

For letting me take a million pictures until I find one that I look good in.

picture #3982. But I think it paid off.

For turning your cheek at my boot obsession.

but really, who doesn’t love boots

For letting me keep dreaming about the world.

For letting me write about you in my blog.

For sending me pictures of adorable puppies a million times a day.

For making your family send me birthday cards every year (and making them like me enough so they kind of want to).

For letting me be exactly who I am, even when it drives you insane.

For being proud of me for every damn thing I do, including figuring out the vacuum and color-coding my closet.

For always taking my side in every fight and instantly disliking anyone who has done me wrong, even though it’s usually my fault.

For sharing the fault in our fights, even though those are usually my fault, too.

For the compass.

For looking at a million apartments and finding one with two closets, just for me.

For putting down the video game controller when I have a bad day and need to vent.

For being a terrible editor…i.e. loving everything I write.

For letting me always win the grammar wars.

For loving every. single. thing. I make in the kitchen…even the fat-free stuff that has turned out nasty.

For letting me watch T.V. in bed when I can’t sleep.

For thinking my hair is awesome even when the rest of the world knows it’s really just unruly.

For being an engineer who can fix EVERYTHING from doors to computers to ovens.

For wearing all the red shirts I buy you (you look really good in red, ok?).

see? red.

For driving me twelve hours back to Montana just so I can get my dog fix.

you’d want to come visit her, too.

And, finally…

For being my guy.

Life Lately.

I know, I know.

You’re all D.Y.I.N.G. to hear if I’ve made my decision.

And I have.

But more on that later.

Right now, here’s a look at what’s been going on in my life:

Pictures include my parent’s visit, my cousin’s visit, activities with the kiddos, and a weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park!

I’ll update again soon, my friends. 🙂

A New World

I’m not going to lie, sometimes my  job is so stressful I count down the hours until I can go home and sleep.

And then, there are the moments that make everything worth it. There are moments like with M and J, where you see a small shift in a child and hope it will seed in their brain and bloom later. These are the moments that make every moment of stress, every moment where I feel like I can’t do anything right (which is pretty much all the moments), every moment of planning-anxiety, every moment of let-down or heart-break, just worth it.

These moments happen every day, and they happen often on field trips. Often these are events I’ve always taken for granted–like going to see a ballet. I had several friends in the ballet growing up, and the Nutcracker was a holiday tradition. But when were able to procure tickets to see the Colorado Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker, I realized what a treat it was for the girls we took to see it. One girl was so enthralled she told me she was “afraid to blink because she didn’t want to miss one thing.”

Today, we took 16 of our kids skiing/snowboarding at Keystone Resort. Skiing, as you know, is very much a hobby of the rich, and most of these kids have only been once or twice, through non-profits like ours. However, growing up in the fairly affluent town of Bozeman, I was lucky enough to both ski and snowboard regularly.

Dragging SIXTEEN middle-schoolers out of bed at 5 a.m. in the morning was not something I was looking forward too–and neither was dragging myself out of bed at 4 a.m.

I admit, I was grumpy on the ride up, sucking down my double-coffees and answering what seemed like inane questions from one particular boy, who also happens to be one of my unofficial favorites.

“Miss Amy, why is the rock that color?” (I don’t know anything about rocks. The best I could come up with was that the “lion-mane-colored rocks” were some sort of sandstone.)

“Miss Amy, are these the Rocky Mountains?”

“Miss Amy, is that mountain as tall as Mount Everest?”

“Why is it called Mount Everest instead of Mountain Everest?” (that was a fun one to explain.)

And so on down the line. When he finally asked me one question, I realized he was asking the endless questions because this was such a new and exciting experience for him: “Will we need oxygen tanks when we ski because it’s so high up?” (we had just finished discussing Everest and why his ears were popping in the altitude).

That’s when it hit me–not only has this kid had so little experience in the mountains, but that this upcoming ski experience was such an event for him that he wanted to soak up everything about it he could.

It helped suck the mundane out of my day, for sure.

And it was made all the better when this kid took up skiing like he was born to and talked about how it was his new favorite sport all the way home.

artistic, I know.

Sure, there were plenty of kids who whined, who fell, got yelled at for not listening to instructions, and one who even hit me so hard in the back rocketing down the hill that I couldn’t breathe for about ten minutes.

But that’s something else I need to remember–experiences that can seem dull and repetitive or not-special to me are a whole different ball game for these kids.  It pays to remember that when I’m annoyed because a certain kid won’t go home when program is over or after a field trip, it’s because home is miserable and this place is their sanctuary.

And even though I’m leaving at the end of this year and many of these kids may forget my name or even forget me and my co-workers may breathe a sigh of relief at my going, I will be forever grateful that I was part of creating a sanctuary for these kids.

Forever grateful that I simply had a place in creating a whole new world for this bunch of rambunctious, crazy, difficult, amazing kids.

And I’m pretty grateful for their part in making a whole new world for me, too.