Monday, October 26, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For....

If I’m going to be honest, this began a long time ago. But I am pretty sure that the adventure I’m on now went to seed in April of 2008. You might agree, if you believe like I do, that once you throw an idea out into the universe, eventually it will come to fruition, and your choice is only to pick the fruit or turn away. A spur of the moment trip (for me, anyway) to Phoenix with my friend Shelley, Eat, Pray, Love, one crazy night in a cab, and a chance encounter with a fluently Spanish speaking Scott, and a poolside margarita all added up to the kind of conversation best friends have while tanning in the sun on vacation. The idea was simple: buy a ticket and fly wherever in search of the elusive and nameless Scottish seducer. Go on an adventure. See the world. Fix myself where I needed fixing. Write a book along the way.

I never actually forgot about this idea, I just never put any wheels into motion. But the memory of Hottie McScottie’s sultry Spanish whispering never faded. I thought many times about this impractical idea, but how? When?

Meanwhile, the universe had its own plan churning and burning. I took a new teaching job where I met a new-to-me culture (Chamorro). The economy crashed. Washington State laid off 6,000 teachers. And because I was on a one-year contract, I decided to attend a job fair for the first time. Booth after booth after booth and all I heard was “we’re really not hiring right now, but check back in May.” And then I saw it. There, in the midst of eager 1st year teachers and exhausted administrators, was a sign with Palm Trees. “What are you selling,” I jokingly asked. The man began to give me his obviously worn out spiel, he asked me about my background, and when he found out that I wasn’t a student teacher or a first year teacher, he had the principal, Sharlene, whisk me behind the magic curtain and interview me. She told me the native population is Chamorro…the 2nd time I’d encountered the word in the space of a year. She offered me a job teaching in Rota, MP (where?!?), to which I could only reply “I really have to think about this.”

A couple of days later I met Vivian – a spritely, lovely woman at the dry cleaner near my home and work. I liked this woman immediately; I also liked the tattoos on her ankles and I said so. She told me they were part of her culture-Chamorro. “You have GOT to be kidding,” I told the universe. “No,” it said, “Listen to this…”

She told me she grew up near Saipan. “No WAY,” I said. “I was just offered a job near there, but on Rota.”

“No WAY,” she said. “I grew UP on Rota!”

An hour later I walked out and headed to meet my long lost friend Devon for dinner. Devon had just returned from India, and understood the implications. “Sounds like the universe is making it pretty clear what to do, Cami.”

So, did I decide right then and there to take the job? Absolutely not. It was another couple of months before I could muster the courage to just sign the contract and send it. I’m not going to lie, it took a lot of friends pushing me, some threatened pride, some really random encounters with other residents or former residents of Rota, a couple of drinks, and a lot of courage to fax that contract. When the lady brought back my successfully faxed documents I nearly threw up. But that was that, I knew I was going, and all I had to do was break the news to my family that I would, in fact, be travelling half way around the world to a speck of an island in the middle of the Asia Pacific to live with total strangers…

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