On the morning of what I hoped would be my last day of dealing with a long and ugly battle, I took my Girl Child and my mother to see the circus. Not the Old School style with elephants and tigers, but rather a Steam Punk collection of amazing acrobats with bicycles and hula hoops.
I had gotten a smokin' deal on the Cirque Mechanic tickets over a month earlier, and the week before the show a new round of what felt like external bombardments began.
Busyness and unpleasant appointments came at me, with people in authority trying to get me to be elsewhere at the time of the show.
I told them no.
It wasn't easy, and I felt pretty pressured to just make things convenient, but I held my ground. I didn’t explain why, only that I was unavailable at that time, and we would need to reschedule.
(This is miraculous growth, because if you know me, I tend to over-explain everything, but I doubt they would have understood or seen the importance in going to watch people fly through the air. And I had tickets dang it, and I was going to take my girl to the circus!)
The day came, and as I watched in awe, I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place.
These people were talented, and their acts had me smiling and wowing like a 4 year old. Any time you can get to feel those kinds of smiles, I’d say it’s a good idea to go for it. But when you’re dealing with outside stress and suckiness that can make your stomach hurt and hair turn grey, it’s more important than ever to protect whatever potential joy you can grab.
And watching grown people who get to travel around and do flips on trampolines for their job definitely brought me all kinds of joy.
I was so impressed with what I was seeing that my mind couldn’t help but thinking of all kinds of metaphors for the circus and life. Even for a woman who loves metaphors as much as I do, it was a lot.
But it made sense then, and it still does now. To me at least.
The acrobats were not just talented and entertaining, they were totally inspirational. The strength that they’ve developed, the practice and devotion they’ve gone through to get to the point where they almost always land on their feet is amazing.
And when they don’t land on their feet, they get up and shake it off, they get their head back in, smile and go on with the show.
Watching them work in pairs and groups, I couldn’t help but think of the trust they’ve built~ you have to believe that person is going to catch you. The communication was wordless, but it was clearly there.
Each person knew that it couldn’t be all about them.
They had to take turns, watch where each other were landing, and work together to make it all look seamless.
I’ve been involved with enough theatrical performances to know that it wasn’t seamless. It was work. Fun work, but still work.
As in all of life, things sometimes went wrong, but they just didn’t lie down and cry or quit when that happened. They kept going, with the common goal of putting on a great show. And that they did.
The kind of strength it takes to do what these people do is huge, and it’s not just the physical kind, although holy moly, lemme tell ya, they were a physically fit bunch. But doing what they do to make people smile takes emotional strength and huge bravery~ not just to hang upside down 15 feet in the air, but to say to the world, “I’m going to go travel with the circus!”
That’s bravery if I’ve ever seen it.
Once again, the lessons in our happy homeschool are as much for me as they are for my kids, and more about life than academics.
I had gone to Cirque Mechanic to be entertained, but I left inspired.
Aside from wondering if my family too needs a trampoline (I’m well aware that I may never fly through the air quite like they did, but my goal isn’t to go pro, it’s just to have fun…)
I came home feeling encouraged to be brave, keep practicing so I get stronger, and when I miss, to get back up and keep smiling, because after all... the show must go on!
Since I love new experiences, adventures and traveling, the idea of hosting a foreign exchange student is something I've toyed with for years.
Bringing another culture into our home and sharing our culture and family life with a young person from another place all sounds great.
While we travel often, this could bring a taste of someplace we might not go into our home, and we would learn way more than we ever would through a book or video.
And despite the worries some extended family members had about my kids becoming Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, my kids actually like meeting new people.
Also, we finally have a home that is conducive to being hosts, and our lives are in a pretty good place to share.
But, being tied to a school calendar and dealing with a year full of school stuff would be hard for this family of free birds. With one kid taking high school science and music classes a few days a week at a charter, and the other kid taking Spanish and art at the community college, we are already tied to enough external constraints.
Also, while I really love being a hostess, I don't think I have the stamina of many of Colombian relatives who offer up their homes for extreme lengths of time. I lean towards the thought that house guests are a bit like fish in the fridge. They both have about a 3 day window before they start to get offensive.
So, when I was researching this article for North State Parent Magazine, I was super excited to learn more about short term summer stays. Some programs are as short as 2 or 3 weeks, and since it's summer, you can just roll with your usual vacation fun and bring the foreign exchange student along.
That's waaaaaaay more up my alley! As long as they were up for adventure and not prone to complaining (which I would think would be a requirement for a kid to participate in such a thing as travelling overseas and living with strangers for an extended period, but I suppose you never know....) we could totally make room for another person on our road trips.
Since my family will be spending a chunk of summer volunteering in Nicaragua, I'm not sure if we'll be available for the dates needed this year, but I'm definitely opening up the window of possibility.
If you are open to considering the idea of bringing the world to your doorstep, check out my article, and see what's available near you. This could be a fantastic opportunity for many families, but for homeschoolers especially, this could be a great learning experience!
If you've had any experiences on either end of a foreign exchange student program, whether as a traveler or a host, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
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Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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