The filly’s mare looked after her longingly as she watched her head out through the fence break in Sunset Meadow after the Great White Mustang. The fiery filly turned to face her mare one last time before breaking the fence completely:
It’s a chance, momma. The chance of a lifetime and chances are what life is made of.She turned and broke into a gallop at the fence break while her mare watched after her.
While the filly ran, things began spinning through her head about what it would be like where the sun rises. Would she forget things about Sunset Meadow? Would she forget things about Sunset Meadow she took for granted because she lived there? When she returned, would she in turn notice things about the meadow she had never noticed before?
When I left Indiana for the People’s Republic of China, I was literally leaving behind everything and everyone I had ever known. I had made it to the age of 21 having never flown in an airplane before. My entire life had taken place basically within a 25 mile radius. Even when I went to college, I remained within that radius. As if that wasn’t limiting enough, my parents had joined a church in that radius when I was very young and we remained within that church until I was 21. This church had a school, so we attended there. Therefore, the only people in the small town I really interacted with in a BIG way, were those people.
In many ways, I would arrive in China being as ethnocentric as those I was there to teach. With the policies of the Great Leap Forward instituted under Mao Tze Tung, workers could not move where and when they wished as gainful employment offering better status became available. They were limited to the job the government chose for them, in some cases separating a family in order to capitalize on human resource. The family would come together during Chinese New Year for two weeks and that was it.
In America, we take family for granted. They are always around us. We’re connected to them by cell phone, by email, by every umbilical cord imaginable. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say…but we oft leave off there. The entire saying ends with stating that nearer are dearer. While the Chinese never really know one another for lack of being together, we know each other to death!
So I was wide-eyed when I arrived in California for 4-weeks of necessary language and cross-cultural training. I would describe the smell of eucalyptus and orange groves to my parents who thought I was nuts!! I had no idea what plantain, star fruit and other seemingly exotic grocery store items were – and I still hadn’t left the US!! I visited the great wide Pacific Ocean for the first time and was overwhelmed by the immensity (I had only ever been to various parts of the Great Lakes before that).
It’s a chance, momma. The chance of a lifetime and chances are what life is made of.