I am excited for my upcoming trip to OZ (the land of Oz not Australia) to celebrate travel and hopefully, inspire, 12 yr-old kids, to see the beauty of others, culture and travel.
One of my grade school friends is a sixth grade teacher. She posted something on social media about her desire to bring in people to her classroom in Wamego, Kansas, to discuss living abroad and/or travel. She even suggested skyping or facetiming as a way to achieve this goal. I saw her post and commented. I think I had had one too many glasses of wine. I said something like--I have traveled some....
She liked my response and I saw that she had commented on others about their time abroad. She messaged me later asking if I would like to participate. She suggested skype and I told her that, no, I will be there in person. I can do this! I can combine trips to see Jasmin, Emma and meet her new addition, have lunch with another childhood friend and teach about travel. I spent 36 hours with Jasmin and Emma in July and had a blast. My little niece is a hoot! She kept referring me to as her cousin. I loved that. Seeing that I am older than her mom...haha. And, surprisingly, I enjoyed spending time in Manhattan. I wouldn't mind returning to Tall Grass brewery or having another meal at the chef. I am my new nephew's god mother as well. I will be meeting him for the first time. I hope to see my mom at some point too.
I contacted Tami about arranging lunch. Last time I swung through town, I did not give her enough notice. I am committed to having lunch in S Town at a local brewery. I was a little anxious about where Tami would suggest. It's been years since I have spent any time there. I know of a few truck stops, fast food, and casual dining (applebee's, chili's, carlos O'Kelly's). I was hoping for something new and unfranchised. Thankfully, Tami knew of a place.
Regarding the teaching, there is something to it. I have been told that I am a teacher just never pursued it in the traditional realm. I have been doing more yoga teaching and feel more natural with it. My language sounds more like me and not as stilted.
I know that I am unconventional and so I am curious as to how her students will relate to me. I figure I can overwhelm them with photos and stories of my time in Vietnam. Since it is my most recent passport stamp, it makes sense. I can also speak to Cambodia, Laos and Bangkok. I might bring up the Khmer Rouge but I didn't visit the Killing Fields or any of that part of the history. I spent time in Angkor Wat and had a human experience. I can speak to the food and spending a day with a tuk tuk driver.
I can speak to the language barrier and being in the Capitol but outside of that, I spent more time meeting people and dining. I hope these kids like to hear about food. I don't know if they understand the significance of me being in Vietnam. I don't know if school teaches of the Vietnam War. They didn't when I was in school.
I am excited and wonder how I could do more of this. And, what upcoming travel I could do. There is a trip to Portugal in my future. As much as I love Narcos (and I do), I put my trip to Columbia on hold. Robert and his wife will be in Portugal until next June or July. Honestly, I have always wanted to go to Spain and Portugal. Why not go?
Especially when I have friends there that can give me the local perspective. They have lived there since 2007 or 2008. They will be concluding their time next summer. I would love to see them before they depart.
Columbia will be there and perhaps I can see another season of Narcos before I depart. It is in my thoughts and I keep meeting people that have visited. It will happen.