Citizen of the World

I’m sitting in a café in Canton Ohio, awaiting for a road trip later today headed to Nashville. I’m just getting over my jetlag from the United Kingdom. Somehow I will squeeze in New York City and Philly before I head back to London next week. I am not a musician, but I am embarking on my annual North American leg tour of visiting family and friends. I am proud to say that home is not one city, state, or country. The world is my home, and I feel it.
            Last year I visited Paris three times, and am yearning to return to this little patisserie St. Michael Boulangerie close to The Shakespeare Bookstore. I want to simply roam and linger in these familiar haunts with the same drive as visiting my best friend in our hometown as we cruise the streets of the Midwest. Both bring a sense of wonder, beauty, and joy. Both are blissful, exciting, and memorable. Both internally are stored and replayed in my head as moments I’m deeply grateful for.

            This should be of no surprise that I view myself as a citizen of the world, and perhaps you could explore that title too.

            Upon completing a recent 23 & Me DNA test, I found that my genetic makeup for the past 500 years places my roots to almost every corner of the world. It’s amazing and makes perfect sense that my sense of adventure is ingrained in my blood. My ancestors pushed out of their boundaries to see new lands, interacted with people who were “other”, and even mated with them. One after another, after another. Although, I know of the history of an incrementally small percentage of my people. There’s universality in their stories….in all of our stories. 

            Explore. Learn. Love. 
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Simple Summer Pleasures

“Work like a captain, play like a pirate.”

Everywhere I turn, I am reminded of the prospect of summer that’s looming over our heads. I’m visiting my family in Ohio, the weather is warm but has a side of sprinkle to cool us down. Grass is plentiful and full, some freshly mowed, and I simply want to sit in it and feel summer. I laid in the grass yesterday the weather was 24 degrees Celsius (mid 70s Farenheit). I closed my eyes and tried to breathe in the bliss.

Living in England, I don’t have that same sense of summer at all. Few would be the days that existed like yesterday, and if so much of the time I am in the office. Summers are different in the Midwest. In Los Angeles and Hawaii, I somehow took it for granted, because beautiful sunny weather was always readily available. But in Ohio, I counted down to my summer days. Officially it’s less than one month away, but for me it’s already here.

Stores display bright vibrant colors of items for sale displaying pineapples, flamingos, ships, with phrases such as “adventure starts here.” Kids gasp in wonder at bubbles being blown with a wand. Dogs linger with smiles under the sun. Windows down while driving, blasting rhythmic tunes. I want to inhale it all in and bottle the feeling of summer.

I admit that sometimes, I can be internally judgmental. I have lived in so many amazing places throughout the world and have an inner wanderluster that is always spinning. At times, I question how can people stay in one spot, settling for their homeland versus bursting at the seams to see what is out there. But yesterday, as I lay in the grass watching my cousin’s children play in their backyard playground, I thought this could be enough. Moments with family, friends, and laughter in the summer sun can be sustaining and addictive. We live for the summer.

I purchased a tiny tea towel to flavor our British kitchen for the next several months. I am going to try to capture this colorful flavor.

Summer is not just a season or location. It’s a state of mind. 

How can you get there?

22 Years in the Making 

Without planning,  I took a bold move in engaging in an activity I have avoided for 22 years…jumping on a trampoline. The amount of times I have jumped on a trampoline are less than one can count on your right hand. And it’s all because of a war wound I encountered at the age of 16, when I double bounced in a backyard. More than four of us were on a massive trampoline on a summer’s day, living like king kids, and then the land occurred. I completely broke my left ankle the day before my driver’s test. Not only did I fail the maneuverability portion of the test, but I had to wear a cast for the rest of the summer.
I quickly learned to associate pain with trampolines. I vowed never to do it again. The opportunity never arose. And I never had to face the fear, until yesterday.

At my dream job that I’ve held for the past four years, we take groups of workers on fun events to bond and de-stress. These have included such things as a ropes courses, race car driving, golfing, swimming, and white water rafting. I haven’t attended all, but somehow yesterday the stars aligned for me to be there.

I warned the leader of the group of my PTSD about trampolining. Nobody pushed me to jump or even asked me to, but as everyone was sitting for their safety video. I said to myself “why not?”. I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, I had a blazer on with jeans, but I didn’t care.

One of my goals this year is to do something every month I’m afraid of. It was May 19th and I had no activity planned. Why the heck not? And so I did.

I bounced on my own solo trampoline at a trampoline park. And after sometime, I added some leg kicks, attempted to bounce to the trampoline next to me, and at one time even tried to bounce on my butt.

I saw all these adults around me who had no fear and had amazing skills with balance, flipping, handstands. It was insane, but such a release of joy.. The simple act of bouncing with 80 people, all on their own trampolines was bliss. People released who they were and momentarily acted as kids again.

There was this one top of higher area that many people jumped up to and were perching on. I told a friend that it reminded me of the 8th grade steps I had in grade school. Only 8th graders could sit there, and it wasn’t until 8th grade that you earned the right to get to the steps. That’s where we would spend recess. At one point she and another co-worker made it to there. She said to me, “come on Tricia, 8th grade steps.”. 

It was such a blessing to have a friend reflect back to me a memory and a goal to attain, with such ease. And yes I did bounce to the 8th grade steps.

What have you been avoiding? What have you been keeping from your life due to fear or a bad experience? Is it still a valid fear? What’s stopping you? They are only 8th grade steps.