My Sense of Adventure

13 November 2018
My mom sent me a message and said she’s zip-lining through the Redwoods this afternoon. She and my dad are celebrating their anniversary in style! Just two months ago, she zip lined over Niagara Falls and, when I was 16, our whole family zip-lined through the rainforest in Costa Rica.
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People often tell me I’m adventurous and ask where I got it from. I realize it’s both of my parents’ sense of adventure that has rubbed off on me in different ways. Both my mom and my dad love to travel and they are the main reason I have visited so many places, and why our family’s favorite foods are not your average American cheeseburger! My mom is so brave. She tells stories of leaving her hometown after university to start afresh in New York City. You hear stories like this a lot, of people making their way to the Big Apple to start a new life, but my mom had a $20 bill in her pocket, an old car, and a whole lot of determination. Later she met my dad at a church event and, while he was playing his guitar by the pool, someone dared her to go ask him out… so she did! They ended up getting married, living there for 12 years, and my sister and I were both born there.
Besides zip-lining, my mom loves a good thrill. She was always the one riding rollercoasters with us as kids and, now that I’m an adult who doesn’t ride them, I realize she must have really loved that adrenaline rush! I remember her going down waterslides, jumping off diving boards, snorkeling, and swimming with dolphins. She was always up for a road trip for my various dance competitions in Pike’s Peak, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and other cool places. She has shown her love and support by coming to visit me when I lived in Haiti, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand, doing adventurous stuff along the way.
My dad’s style of adventure is less thrill-seeking and more pilgrim-on-a-journey. Growing up in Texas, my dad loved taking trips to Mexico with his buddies and I’ve heard stories of sunburns, spicy foods, and once eating an entire bag of mini-limes! As a teenager, he set out to make his faith his own and as he tells it, ended up walking around Montana and spending time discovering who God is. Even on business trips, we’d be staying in fancy hotels where the conferences were held, but he would lament that we weren’t out in the community with the local people. He’s reflective and smart which led him to the adventures of Law School at NYU and Seminary at Princeton. He started his own law practice and nobody knows immigration law like he does!
When I was 8 years old I traveled abroad for the first time when we visited family living in Asia. As a shy, sensitive, and introverted child, I don’t know that I would have been prepared for this trip, except that my parents took it in stride, setting a good example for me by sampling all the new foods, observing the music and language, and taking us to see exciting sites. If you know me now, you know I haven’t stopped traveling since, thanks to them. Together we visited over half the U.S. states on road trips, and also Mexico and Costa Rica during my years at home. They have instilled in me a joy of seeing the world and noticing the good parts of all life’s circumstances.
This all goes way beyond a simple sense of adventure. My parents take chances on people and offer grace and love to everyone they encounter. Memories of my childhood are filled with various people living at our house, people who needed some space between transitions, or people who didn’t have homes at all. I know sometimes it was frustrating for them, but mostly we saw generosity, hospitality, love and support lived out in an accessible way. They’ve always volunteered at church and for local community groups, advocating for those whose voices are not being heard. They are humble and kind, and make you feel safe when you’re with them.
I smiled when I received that message from my mom today. I’m happy to see that their sense of adventure has not been lost now that they’re officially empty-nesters, and I’m happy to see that their signature grace, humility, love, hospitality, and kindness has only grown over the years. I want to be like them when I grow up. Happy 36th anniversary mom and dad, and happy birthday mom! You really are the best.

-A-

Mom and Dad on their honeymoon in Mazatlán, Mexico <3

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