I Believe in Adventure

Patricia - Lakeland, Florida
Entered on April 6, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change, family, legacy
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I Believe in Adventure

I believe that life is an adventure that I must live to its fullest for myself and for others. I believe that in order to be happy and feel a sense of pride in my accomplishments, I need to try new things, reach new limits, and help others whenever it is in my power to do so. I learned this from my grandmother who, until she succumed to Alzheimer’s disease, was the most vibrant person I have ever met. She spoke six languages, which she needed because she loved to travel and she had the habit of talking to everyone around her. She quoted poetry, told bad jokes, and was generous and pushy. Once, when she was in her early sixties, she met some young men through her hiking club. They were going to be traveling through D.C. and didn’t have a place to stay, so she gave them the keys to her apartment. My parents were afraid that these strangers were going to kill her, or at best rob her, but they just spent a couple of nights, wrote her a thank-you card and moved on. My grandmother was fearless. She was born to a Jewish family in Austria, and her parents took her to Chile when she was a little girl. As a young woman, a writer, and an internationally competitive swimmer, she met my grandfather and moved to Peru. She worked as a journalist while raising two sons, got herself in trouble with the military government for the things she wrote, and was exiled to the U.S. Largely because of her example, I have always pursued adventure, and have always given freely of my time. Like my grandmother, I was an immigrant as a little girl. I grew up loving diversity, learning as much as possible from the people I met, and having a passion for adventure. Like her, I have a knack for languages, I love to read, I travel whenever possible, I try to always taste new foods and learn new things. I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer, and now a Spanish professor. My passion is Service Learning and I try to open the world of service to my students through local and international volunteer opportunities. Through working closely with people who have different lives and different views of the world, students learn to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Their lives are enriched by setting aside their fears and seizing the opportunity for adventure. Life is a gift, and we have the opportunity and obligation to do the most we can with it, and to share whatever we have with others. I try to instill this in my two sons and in my students, and I will count my life successful if my influence helps them in some small way to make giving and adventurous choices. It is my grandmother’s legacy and I am passing it on.