At 21, I did not have to look very far back to find a shambles of opportunities I had been given. My mother, I knew, still believed in me (even if her knuckles did often turn white on the steering wheel). One University had politely requested I not return. Another had not gone quite so far, but neither had much success been found there.
It was time to look elsewhere, and so I found myself on a long flight to New Zealand. It was to another school that I was headed, and this third time - I hoped - would be the Charm.
As we came shuffling toward the terminal, on both sides of our pathway were Maori dancers welcoming us. After a long and bewildering flight, with no sleep and holding someone's baby and having been sick upon, this somehow felt like a last straw. The dancers were making such loud noises, jumping and extending their tongues, that the small children began to scream.
I remember as though it were yesterday, as we made our way through this montage, the voice of a tiny child crying, 'Mommy, that man put his TONGUE out at me!'
Thus my year as an American in New Zealand began. Would I find living here an adventure? Would friendships be made, and kept? And (wavering thought) would I succeed this time?
I was not to know. Yet. At the moment, I felt like crying myself. That man did have such a very long tongue.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/flissphil/12288043/">PhillipC</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/letdown102/4622645909/">letdown102</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/caribb/5409382954/">caribb</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>