How lazy am I tonight? Using a journal prompt.. but it brought up a few good points.. remember last night I told you about the 30 days digital Journaling challenge I did? Well each day we were emailed Journal prompts in case we needed, well, prompting. I saved all mine in an email folder but I didn’t use too many of them, I knew that one day I would come back and re visit and so here we are… I’ve done my Salad/Daniel Plan post, I’ve updated my Garden post and now it’s time for NaBloPoMo, technically I could have used the gardening post as NaBloPoMo and really I don’t know why I didn’t but anyways now I am using a journal prompt and drum roll please…. here it is…
What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?
There are so many layers to answers of this question, because basically I am timid and so any thing out of my routine is courageous for me. I think the older I get the braver I am getting. But my first reply to this question is “When I run away from home and went to visit a friend in America”
So basically to most people that’s not a big deal, but here is where I am different. I do NOT GO ANYWHERE on my OWN! Never ever ever.
It’s taken many years to figure out why and what caused it and how to fix it, I am expert at counseling. It’s come to light that when I was young maybe ten years old or so, I was almost abducted, the details are sketchy but I do remember the police and I do remember my Dad and my brothers going looking for the car, and I do remember after that I never went anywhere by myself. I always had my cousins who lived around the corner to walk to school with, and as I got older I just adjusted to wait until I was able to go somewhere with someone.. didn’t matter who as long as I was not alone. I remember once I was accused of hiding behind my children because I wouldn’t leave them and travel by tram a few suburbs away on a volunteer program that I had enrolled in. I “thought” I could do it, and I could be brave and catch the tram and go there and walk to the place and then do the repeat trip home. I did for a while but I worked myself up into such a state I made myself sick, so I quit. This is a recurring theme in my life, I start off with good intentions and then the anxiety gets to me and I quit… I was doing a schooling thing too and quit that as well.
So my Most courageous thing was leaving everything that was familiar and travelling 12,000 miles to America to meet a guy I had met online and spoken to on the phone but never met in real life. If my daughters came to me and said that I’d flip out.. But I DID THAT!
My marriage was coming to an end and I was in counseling and I told my therapist that I wanted to go to America and meet this guy. I had planned to go with my cousin, we had booked and paid for our tickets, but at the last moment she had to cancel to pay a bill and so it was just me. I spent many sleepless nights crying and worrying, my dream since I was ten years old “was to go to America” my school friend Donna had been and came home with amazing tales and I swore that day “some day I am going to America” So my dream was so close and my cousin pulled out and I broke the news to my friend who knew of my phobias about going anywhere on my own and of course he was disappointed but he understood my quirks.
Just as the deadline on cancelling the tickets got closer, I cried and whined I really wanted to go to America and my therapist asked me “Why can’t you go?” and I told her “I never go anywhere alone” so we visited that and she came up with some coping techniques and then she gave me wise advice. “See yourself doing the thing and you will be able to do it” we worked on that theory for a few visits and the deadline to cut off drew closer and closer I was going to lose my holiday and my money! I tried so hard to imagine going there and I would always see myself step onto the plane and flying in the plane but I could never see the end and me getting off the plane, until….
I had a very vivid dream, and I do not usually remember my dreams but this one was so life-like. I got on the plane, I flew, I ate, I slept and I read my book on the plane and then (Thanks to my therapist who step by step explained to me what would happen from the time I got on the plane to the time I got off it, She had been to New York just a few months ago all by herself with a 6 month old baby!) I saw myself getting off the plane and going through customs and I remember in the dream I was so proud I was in America!! I knew I had to catch another plane and my therapist told me where to go and what to say and in my dream I did that and before you know it I was in the State where I needed to be. I had made it, I stepped off the plane and saw my friend! I HAD DONE IT (in my dream that was the first step!) so at 4.30 am Melbourne time I called him at work in USA and said “I am coming I will be there at 6.30 pm on the Eighth of September 2000″he tried to talk me out of it.. “What if you get anxious half way?” I don’t know I’ll deal with it I said, It’s not like I can say “turn around I’ve changed my mind!”
So from then one I had three weeks before I made the trip, 12,000 miles on my own and all at once it didn’t seem scary like it used to feel.
The day dawned I had hardly slept the night before I was so excited to go, I kissed my children Goodbye and got into a friend’s car to go to the Airport, I knew that once I got there, I couldn’t turn back, so I made myself a promise “No looking back no regrets” I kissed them Goodbye at the International gate and from then on I was all alone.
Going through customs was scary because stupid me, first time traveler, got my passport photos and then promptly went and changed my hair radically differently and so the Customs officers questioned i it was really me, I had to drag out my driver’s license and other ID to prove it. Boarding was easy and I had the middle seat of three. I had a business lady on my right (window side) and a business man on my left. The lady and I started talking and I told her “First long distance flight, first holiday alone, first time to America, little bit nervous” she was wonderful and told me exactly what would happen and then suggested I follow her off the plane and through to customs. I will forever be thankful to that lady. The flight went well, little bit bumpy who knew clouds were so lumpy! BUT I loved it, my love of flight was born on that plane. the food, the movies and the whole trip.
It was seven am when we landed and maybe closer to eight am by the time I cleared customs and the lady had told me “Just walk through those glass doors and you will find out where to go for your next flight” I was about to walk in America!! I think I actually floated.
As the doors opened I saw a familiar face, but hang on how could I recognize anyone in America I was in LAX and I had to get to Detroit in Michigan. But another long time fried had traveled something like 6 hours to meet me off the plane because he too knew how nervous I was about coming, he said he didn’t want me to spend time there alone and would sit with me while I waited for my next plane to Chicago. I will always be grateful to Bribaby for making the trek to meet me and then I think it was only maybe about an hour before I had to board the next plane. What a gracious guy!!
On the plane to Chicago I had a whole row of seats to myself so I went to sleep and remember seeing the desert out the window before I drifted off to sleep. Next stop Chicago O’Hare Airport. That was much harder to navigate than LAX and I was worried seriously about getting lost and missing the important connecting flight. I swear I asked ten different people for directions and running, I made it to my gate with about six minutes to spare before we started boarding. This was a smaller plane and a shorter flight, I was getting closer!
Finally we disembarked and I knew the man I was coming to see would not be here to pick me up he was doing DJ’ing at a wedding and the plan was I would go to his sister’s house and have a shower freshen up and get dressed up and go to meet him there. But I didn’t see his sister anywhere, I didn’t have a phone number to call her, I didn’t know where I was or where I was supposed to be going, I felt really worried for about ten long fearful minutes and then I hear her calling me “Kiiiiimmmyyyy” and here she comes running, she had trouble with parking etc, I have never been so relieved to see anyone as I was to see Robin.
An hour later we pulled up at a very fancy Reception center and because Robin had her two girls in the car she couldn’t park and get out, so she directed me “Just head through that door and ask for Jim” but I’d come all this way and now I was nervous. I said to her “Can’t we just ask this doorman heading this way to go and get Jim?” she laughed and laughed and gasped for breath and said “THAT is Jim!” Uh oh!
I spent three weeks in Michigan in and around Detroit, I loved it, we played mini golf (Aussie won, go Aussie Sheila!) and I tried new foods, some I liked (Baloney with mayo) some I hated (Sloppy Joes) we went to the movies ( Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood), and shopping, he is still talking about the time in Meijer’s when I backed up the shopping trolley (Shopping carts for my US friends) to get a bargain pair of shoes! and I ran over my toe with the cart, Oh I have never felt such pain and he laughed and tears rolled down his face in mirth and they rolled down my face in pain! I saw my first real life deer, and asked Jim if they were garden ornaments? again, he laughed! then I saw them move, what were they doing just walking around people’s front lawns? and the time I saw a squirrel in the vacant lot and jumped about six feet in the air with fright, I thought it was a rabbit!! So many amazing memories, clipping coupons to go shopping, trying Bagels with jam, and making my first Pumpkin Pie because it was almost October and so Halloween was not far away!! Learning what “Soda Pop” was and tasting “Tootsie Roll Pops” for the first time.. addictive much?!? Candy corn another addictive habit. And Pizzas in Detroit they don’t put pineapple on pizzas really?! Bizarre! My favorite day was when we walked around Detroit and went on the mono rail and did a truly American thing, we went to the Baseball to see Detroit Tigers V’s NY Yankees. It was rained out and we sat there under plastic rain ponchos, in the “nose bleed” stands, it didn’t mater I was in America, doing American things and I had the hat, the t-shirt and various other nick knacks to remember it by.
Finally my time was up and I was to move onto New York to meet and stay with some other friends, Warren and Sharon. It was a short flight and I cried most of the way, by the time I got off the plane looking a wreck, Warren’s first question was “What did he do to you?”
Warren and Sharon have a beautiful old house and I had an amazing room and I slept so well. but before sleeping Sharon and Warren took me shopping and introduced me to “Beanie kids”. We got to drive through the streets of Schenectady and knowing how much I love history, Warren like a true tour guide was able to point out all the historic buildings. The Second day we drove to Lake George and stayed on their boat on the Lake, what an amazing place, those autumnal colours were just glorious. I got to meet interesting people and we joined a party in the middle of the woods were I drank some poisonous alcohol and had lots of laughs, and Pizza, no pineapple but vegetables.. we never put veggies on Pizza at home! We also never had the merganser ducks either. I just loved the ducks!! We had dinner at a fancy restaurant that night and slept on the boat. That was a first for me.
The Next day we headed back to Schenectady to collect my bag and we went into New York City we drove past the twin towers little knowing that a bit less than a year later they would fatally be gone. We attended a street market and I got to do another famous thing, we had lunch in a restaurant in NY! But finally it was time to head to the Airport and head for home. I had been away three weeks and a few days and by the time I got home across the time line etc ect it would be three and a half weeks.
I slept the whole flight, I woke up briefly to see the lights of Nevada I think they said, and then I woke up to get off the plane at LAX and look for my international flight home. I was tired, I was sad, I was just over everything and ready to go back to my children I had never left them before for anytime let alone such a long time. They had been on school holidays for the middle two weeks and so this was their first week back at school, I couldn’t wait to see them.
My friend met me at the Melbourne airport with flowers “welcoming me home” I didn’t want to be home, I wanted to be there, and so I cried and I cried, and I couldn’t even talk to him about what I was crying about, I was so depressed and probably looking back maybe a bit jet lagged. I got home threw in my suitcase and raced around to the school to see the children in their classrooms. Glad to be back to them but not to be back to my own life.
That was fourteen years ago now, I still am close to my American friends and America and I are not done yet, I have pledged to see all Fifty States and some day I will, but for now, that has been my most courageous thing I have ever done. I still have to pinch myself sometimes and ask “Did that really happen?” or was it a really vivid dream? But then I look at the photos and I look at the “Beanie Kid” with the American flag on its tummy that I brought in NY with Sharon and Warren and I smile, so many happy memories with good friends.
SO what was YOUR most Courageous moment??
Merganser Duck.. don’t you think his little hair do is cute??