I'd like to take a moment to give a shoutout to my friend Tara and her blog, A Serendipitous Life. I've been following her writing for several years now, and one of the things that's fun about her style is that she dabbles in serial-style writing. That is to say, she'll take a topic or theme and run with it, whether it's about participating in date-night challenges with her husband Steve, writing about the homes she grew up in, or most recently, a series called Reverb10 in which she reflects on the past year. And every time I read one of those posts I think, "That's cool; I should do that too!"
All this writing about business school is bound to get a little old, so I'd like to widen my scope a bit. And since I'm not necessarily interested in re-inventing the wheel here, I'll borrow from Tara's Reverb10 series. I won't necessarily pick all the same topics or go in the same order, so I'm grabbing from last Thursday's topic:
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
This question jumped out at me because this year the new friendship I made was so sudden, unexpected, and awesome. I am, of course, talking about Ralph. (AKA, "The German Guy") I don't know that our friendship changed me fundamentally, but it certainly gave me a kick in the pants that I sorely needed. He embraced the experience of living in a foreign country with such reckless abandon (well, as reckless as a German is apt to be) and crossed so many things off of his To Do list that I realized there was nothing stopping me from doing it too. In 2009 I had this two or three week period of total restlessness surrounding my trip to Germany in which I ran my head against the wall trying to think of ways to live in Europe. I can't explain it; something drew me in that was far stronger than just a desire to take a vacation. I used my car, my cat, and my job as excuses to stay put last year, but this year I realized that my other dream--going for my Master's--fit perfectly into the whole plan. Throughout my life I have met so many people who come to America to have an amazing experience, from our two Spanish au pairs when I was a kid to the Brazilian interns I met at Disney to, well, Ralph. I want what they had, and the only thing that has really stopped me up to this point is my own fear of not being able to clear the obstacles.
And, hey, even if I wasn't gunning for grad school, becoming close friends with someone from another country introduced me firsthand to another perspective on life in general. Everybody needs some of that.