When I decided to join a blog circle in which I wrote a letter to my daughter each month I thought “this will be easy”….Well, the first two months were very easy for me. Then came March and I had no idea what I was going to write. Last night I had decided on a topic, and as I sat down to write my letter I completely changed my mind. So, as I sit here ready to type my letter my mind is going in new direction. Because of this change, I am using photographs for the past rather then current ones.
As I sit down to write this letter to you, all I can think about is the fun that we are going to have next week. One of the things I have always wanted to give my children is a view of the world. You have heard both your father and I say that you often times learn more by traveling then you do in a classroom. I started traveling with you before you were even a year old! For your first trip you went to Chicago on a girls weekend, then we went to California and Las Vegas a couple of months latter. We have not slowed down since that time. I have enjoyed our travels together more then you know! The time that we spend together on our family trips, spring break with Grandma, and our girls weekends are always amazing even when things go wrong. If we had not traveled, you never would have learned that you hate bed and breakfasts (you should try a nice one when you are older)! Watching you see the world as I did when we visited New York City for your 13th birthday is like seeing the city for the first time again. I love that you like the simple things and enjoyed your day in Central Park as much, and maybe more then you enjoyed shopping at Tiffany’s. I also love that we can relax on the beach together and just enjoy the sound of the ocean. Sending you off on a cruise last year was a wonderful feeling. The fact that you were able to see two countries and try new things without me let me know that you were growing up and you could do things on your own. Hearing your stories about speaking spanish while in Mexico showed me that you know how to put your education to good use. I know how much you would like to go back to Mexico and I hope that one day you can go their again, or maybe even Spain so that you can continue to explore and use your new language.
One of my hopes for you is that you will continue to see that there is a big world out there. I know that you would love to go on a mission trip to Russia and hopefully one day when you are out of school that will be possible. I also know that you dream of going to Brazil in 2016 to see the Olympic games. What amazing opportunities those would be for you! I love that you have your passport and you are ready to use it. If I could teach you some of the things I have learned by living abroad and traveling as much as I have, this is what I would like for you to remember:
1. You are a guest in the other country, Americans are NOT superior to anyone and should use the same manners you would in your grandparents home.
One of my fondest memories of living in the Philippines was getting to spend time at our maid’s house with her family. They treated us like family and we treated them the same way.
2. Take time to learn about the culture and don’t just hit the tourist attractions.
One of my biggest regrets is that while visiting Spain in high school I chose to stay home the day that the rest of the group when and toured some churches and other buildings. Now as I am older I would love to see the architecture and appreciate the fact that these amazing buildings were built in a different time without all of the technology of today.
I love that in New York you enjoyed both Broadway shows we saw. While some people may consider this a tourist attraction, I believe it is experiencing the arts, and at 13 years old I believe you understood that it is art, and not just a show.
3. When you see other people with “less” then you, remember that material things are not what matters and you should not think “less” of them.
I will never forget my mission trip in Jamaica. Those of us that were not working at the medical clinic took the time to paint a lady’s fence and the building that she sold soda and snacks out of. We worked on her property for three days. She was very appreciative of the work and never could have afford to have fixed all that need fixed. She kept saying that she wanted to give back to us. So, one night as we sat down to eat dinner she came over and asked if she could sing for us. She opened her hymnal and sang with all her heart sharing God’d love with us.
4. Work to empower the people you go to help rather the just doing work for them.
While working in Belize not only did our group scrap and paint the new school building, but we also assisted in the classrooms and helped with testing the children. We worked alongside the teachers and did what we were asked. Hopefully this showed the children that we valued their education and we were not just there to spend American dollars and build them a building.
5. Try new things (food, activities, etc.), if you don’t try you will never know if you like them or not.
I am the first to admit that I am a picky eater, not as picky as you, but still picky. So, trying new food is a hard one for me. Activities on the other hand I absolutely love! Who knew that I would love to stand up paddle board? So, get out there and try something new each and every time you leave our little part of the world!
To continue reading this months blog circle please visit Sarah Costa’s blog.