Saturday, April 14, 2012

How I met a Special Agent and Then Ate a Turkey Sandwich and Cried.

(This was written awhile ago - finally got around to posting it!)

(In which I am inarticulate and use "then" a lot and capitalize random phrases.)

You guys, sometimes life is so damn blissful. For real.

That is about as articulate as I can honestly get right now, because it is 2 AM and I have been just writing away, unfortunately about my own life and not about DC immigrants like I am supposed to be doing. At least I am not sitting here looking at photos of Ryan Gosling. 

 I have had two of the most normal but amazing days of my life. We are only going to talk about the amazing. Except the normal IS amazing. That's what's amazing.

I won a giveaway from a blog! Normally, I think those are silly ploys to get more readers, but this was a giveaway for a BOOK to spread the word of writing about diversity! And I won it and connected with some Young Adult writer/bloggers, which is fantastic.

Then a food truck was blasting To Be A Man, from Mulan. Go listen to it while you read the rest of this blog. It will put you in the mood.

And then I went to a book launch/reading on a book about Andean folktales. I love Andean folktales. And everyone was being all anthropologically nerdy, and I splurged (what a weird word) and bought the book. Then I talked gardens with some professors of mine I ran into. Then there was free Peruvian beer, which I have missed so, and I stuck a bottle in my purse. For emergency purposes.

And the next day I ate brownies and Turkish delight at work and was praised for my writing and editing skills (if only they could see me now....) and then went to an Alumni Dinner and met a former Secret Service officer who is now a Special Agent of Homeland Security and we talked about the anti-human trafficking movement while we ate sandwiches and I got his card. Because I live in DC and these things happen.

And then I sat outside, in a warm spring night, with an early moon in the sky, and ate the turkey sandwich I had taken to go, and cried.

Because once upon a time (and probably again, in some manner) I was a janitor.  And I dreamed of being in a bright big city, meeting exciting people and feeling like I could Go Places.

This isn't a story of Happily Ever After. This is a story of interludes. Being a janitor wasn't the Bad Place I escaped from, it was just what life was. I was happy; in fact, I was excelling in school, paid well, had my cool high school friends...

But I have been living this New Normal for three years now, and I still shock random passerby's with tears or goofy grins. Because I can't believe this is real- the little girl who wanted to live in the big city and go to a great school and work for the things she believed in actually made it.

Ya know, the kids who complain at my fancy private school are often fancy private kids who have grown up expecting this and now find it shallow or cheap. Or they are those that let the fancy private kids drag them into cynicism. 

But to me, to the other academics who have found a shared love of learning in their classmates and professors, to the suburban or country kids who found they love the city, to the starry-eyed scholars and big-idea activists who gaze at the Smithsonian or Library of Congress or MLK memorial, or at hard working community gardens and energetic protesters, to them and to me, this is a dream come totally and madly and concretely true.

(So you can shut your face, cynics and skeptics.)

I have made it. Tonight, after I swallowed my sandwich and wiped my eyes and tried to give a reassuring smile to the frightened people on the sidewalk, I went for a run and watched the sun set over the Potomac river.

Maybe after this I will be a janitor again, but right now I don't even care. I can't begin to describe all I have been blessed with, and I certainly cannot begin to deserve it.

So thank you. For the diverse and amazing set of friends I would never have met back home, for the resources and opportunities and adventures and for cherry blossoms and monuments and over-priced brunch.


1 comment:

  1. This was a super touching and very sweet post, Mary Ellen. (yes, I just now read it) You need to write a book. Please.