The "you never know..." Moments - The Growth

Woman being photographed by new found friend in South Africa

Due to the amazing people, in my life, I have to dedicate this blog to the universe. You never cease to amaze me!

At the beginning of the stifling summer of 2004, I was surrounded by millions of people (just like me) taking multiple jobs to support themselves, spending hundreds of dollars on head shots, business cards, and postage to send to hundreds of agents, hoping that they were on their way to getting "discovered"...Looking back at my sixteen year old self, that's what I wanted, but 4 years later, life happened.

While my survival job involved working in a high fashion clothing store on Rodeo Drive, two people stood out during this journey. Nancy, from Japan and Suzzan from Iran. Suzzan became the only person I could really talk to, during my early L.A. days. My lack for longing to be a material girl, excluded me from a lot of social groups and one day, after observing the "single, white, female" cliche perform their daily bragging routine about their love interests, diets and exposing their lover's bank accounts, Suzzan turned to me and said "You are very smart, it is going to be very difficult for you." ...It brightened my day and I found her lack of pretentiousness refreshing, especially after we had just met. With time, it became more evident that everything about me, never did and never could fit into the cliche's daily gossip.

For example: I was reading aloud a excerpt from a play I was studying, to Suzann. The entire cliche entered the transaction room;

Girl 1: Could you not read in front of me?

Suzann: You don't like to read?

Girl 1: No, I can't, it gives me anxiety.

Girl 2: Yeah, reading is hard.

Girl 3: That's where our future husbands come in.

... No really, this is actual dialogue.

I would lie awake, at night, thinking that reaching the goal to get to Hollywood was not as rewarding as I anticipated.

But a new found distraction from the cliche was discovered as soon as I met Nancy. She had just started working at the store about 3 months after relocating to the U.S. and being around her ignited my curiosity to learn another language. Japanese for me, was very difficult, but her patience with me only drove my devotion to keep trying. By the end of my retail days, I managed to learn how to process a transaction in Japanese. I was on cloud nine.

Quickly becoming disillusioned by the glitter of Beverly Hills, I found myself dreaming in my waking moments of a world beyond the U.S.... I even started looking into schools in London, but the idea came to a screeching halt when a talent agent asked, "How old are you?" I was twenty at the time. "Good, you still have time to build your resume because after 25, forget it! You're too old." I realized that my time was limited and I had spent years working so hard to follow my dreams. I caved under the pressure and killed the London idea.

In the crisp winter of 2007, at the beginning of my marathon training (and fresh off of my break-up), I started having these random dreams. For one week straight, I dreamt I was in South Africa, walking through a grassy field and I came across a majestic lioness, crouching down, ready for an attack, her piercing green eyes locked into me. Was I going to die or was I going to live? Either or, I was waking up, with the strong belief that this was an adventure worth exploring. I started checking flights, connecting with my Mom's friend, Sylvester, who volunteered there every year. After all of my research, the plane ticket was going to be over $3,000, the costs of room, food and additional transportation was going to be another $3,000...Needless to say it wasn't feasible. I had to set that need aside, thinking that it could potentially be a 10 year goal... But I still had trouble controlling this hunger for exploring the world, I had to do something.

Within the birth of the new year, I decided that 2008 was it!! I was going to devote whatever free time I had to planning and plotting a European adventure. Books were purchase, a plan was in session. I didn't care if I ended up having to sell my car, I was going to start exploring once and for all! Then that fateful opportunity gave me those 9 days, in New York, that forever changed my course. I made the decision, that fall, to pack my bags and leave for New York - Saying goodbye to Los Angeles... And my Euro trip savings.

Thrusted into the highs and lows of the city life, in 2015, the ultimate, unforeseen, opportunity finally got me the exposure to a world beyond the known...New York real estate.

As a corporate relocation agent, most of my clients were international. Not only did we share the same levels of excitement of moving to NYC, but being around my clients left me very intrigued by their perspectives on life. And during the appointments, something else was flourishing, a gift to me that was far more rewarding than a pay check...friendships. Before I knew it, my husband and I were hosting our very first Thanksgiving with our new friends, from France. We were invited to enjoy some of the most amazing authentic cuisine, beautifully home cooked by our Sri Lankan friends, celebrating birthdays, promotions, even casual get togethers that involved having amazing conversations that kept us up until 3:00am.

Although I felt trapped by my demanding real estate schedule, I cannot deny that it was wonderful in allowing me to deeply enrich my life with such amazing people from all over the world.

Woman with friends from Sri Lanka and husband

Now that my internal achievements are currently at a stand still, I feel that all I can do now, to be productive, is to reflect. Am I really getting what I want out of life? Through processing these feelings I am left to believe that yes, I am getting a lot from any vision I've ever had, it's just coming to life in ways I simply couldn't predict. But overall, if I can dream it, it can happen.

For instance: When I told my husband about my desire to go to see lions on their native soil, in 2012, he surprised me with not one, but two trips to South Africa. And even better, he discovered the volunteer program for Kevin Richardson: The Lion Whisperer, where we could assist in the daily routine of caring for lions, who were born and raised in captivity.

Woman in cage with volunteers with a lioness in South Africa

Meg, the lioness, in South Africa

And lioness, named Meg, stole my heart with their fierce curiosity. I may not have been out in the open wild with her, but her piercing eyes, reminded me of my vision.

...And on the way to meet Meg, we managed to have a 12 hour layover in Paris!

woman in Paris

Although the ability to travel, at this point, has been limiting, I don't feel as deprived from seeing the world. Perhaps my husband and I can host our own United Nations at our Thanksgiving table this year...

Looking back, who would have thought that dreaming about South Africa, could actually put me there five years later? Who would have thought that I could have a worldly exposure through the eyes of many new friends all at once? Who would have thought that a job that paid the bills, could turn into a gateway to grow and develop my need to see the world? Who would have thought that my 20 year old self was actually onto to something when she would lie awake those sleepless nights near Beverly Hills?

...I guess that's where the infamous saying "You never know..." comes into play...

And you never know how a dream can allow you to grow. And to grow...All I have to do is dream.

Woman in the open field in South Africa


#friends #journey #growth #dreams #KevinRichardson #LionWhisperer #Lions

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