Monday night, I went to Sandy Bell’s to listen to live folk music with Tuva, Erling, Gregor, and Alven. I had one drink for an old friend, one drink for a faithful companion, and one last drink for the future moving forward.
I’ve learned that words can never truly express enough, and I’m never quite sure if I even say the right ones. And truthfully, the scariest part is you don’t know when your words might be your last. But, I hope that I’ve shown the people around me how much they mean to me. It’s something I fear that never do enough and as I realized is something I should probably do more.
My dear friends both old and new, you have taught me so much. I deeply adore you all.
So, I guess, now, I’ll speak about the that second drink.
I knew when I left home after Christmas that I probably would never see my slobbery, stubborn dog again. My dad had told me for months that Mulan was on borrowed time. At 12, she was well beyond the life expectancy for a large breed such as a Newfoundland.
Monday in class at 5.30 pm I felt something in my chest. I’d be the first to admit that I haven’t been as religious in recent years as maybe my parents would hope. But, sitting in class then I knew something had happened.
Thirty minutes after the hour, my beautiful, loving, slobbery sod fell asleep at home surrounded by those she loved and who loved her.
Mulan was hard to train and never graduated puppy school. She never did what you asked her to do but she always did what you needed.
And for that I am so, so grateful. I am thankful for the time that I had her and the life she shared with me.
Her favorite season was fall, just as the leaves began to change and the temperature started to cool. She’d go outside and sit under the trees and let the wind blow her fur with two long strands of drool dripping from her jowls.
She was gentle. So, so gentle. Last December, when my dad found a half dead kitten on the porch, it was Mulan who stuck her head in and breathed hot air onto the the kitten’s face until the kitten gasped and my dad realized that my mom would just have to deal with another indoor cat.
To know the love of another creature who expects so little and offers you everything is truly a gift. To know that love and see it in their eyes is blessing beyond measure.
I will miss her forever, but, if someone offered me the chance, I would do it all over again. Without hesitation.
Mulan, I love you to the moon and to the stars. I love you beyond the stars and wherever else we will go.
And, now time for that third drink and a decision.
I have been accepted into two Masters programs. The first, here at the University of Edinburgh for the MSc in Human Osteoarchaeology. The second, back in Lawrence at the University of Kansas for the MA Museum Studies. I’ve also received a very positive email back from the Peace Corps recruiter I emailed prior to the government shutdown who wants to set up a Skype meeting/interview. And finally, I waiting on the outcome of a few internships I applied for.
Chances are, I will complete a Masters before embarking on any other work – but I want to gather as much information as I can. At the moment, I’m getting my TEFL certification and plan to double down on learning a foreign language this summer. It’s actually quite lazy that I don’t speak more than just English.
Which, leaves me with a lot of choices – none of which I realized are bad decisions. I’ll just have to figure out my next plan of action and move down the field from there.
I do know two things however. I’ve always known them, but I think this week just made it a little bit easier to define them.
First, forty years from now, I don’t want to think about what I have done and realize that I simply waited for the storm to pass. If anything, I love thunderstorms. But, I’m not throwing myself into a thunderhead for the sake of making history. I honestly could care less. I’m not a white man, my chances at being taught about in school are already slim. I’d do it because it is the right thing to do.
Secondly, I want to tell stories. That might be in a museum or as a novelist or maybe as a documentarist. I’m no quite sure yet, but I know I want to tell stories I believe in. And, sure, I’m not in a place right now to do that. I’m still collecting the stories I want to tell.
But, I guess, what I learned this week is this: I hope those closest to me know how precious they are to me. There will never be enough time, but what you learn from the time you do have will guide you forever. Just like the rainbow I followed this morning which led me to one of my favorite coffee shops.