Monday, October 4, 2010

A Million Miles: Chapters 20-22

Happy Monday! I'm actually blogging on time. I should get an award or something. ;)

It's short and sweet today... I was captured by Miller's story about hiking to Machu Picchu. Partly because I was a Spanish teacher in another life (or maybe a mere six years ago) and I've always wanted to visit Peru. But I also loved the fact that he finally did something totally unexpected and out of character--he went and had a grand adventure.

So, here's my question: What is one wild and crazy, totally-not-you thing you've done in your life?

I'm going way back to answer my own question, but one of the most atypical Nicole things I have ever done is try out for the cheerleading squad. When I was in elementary school I was a very shy, quiet girl. There is no Christian high school in my small town, so when I graduated 8th grade I had to choose between two different schools in neighboring towns. I made my choice with the hope of starting fresh--giving myself the freedom to reinvent Niki, at least a little. One of the first things I did was put my name on the sign-up sheet for cheerleading try-outs behind at least 30 other girls. There were two slots that first year and I was sure I didn't stand a chance. Timid me? Are you kidding? But the day of try-outs I gave it my all. It was like I was a different person. I was wearing a mask... Or maybe just allowing myself to be the person I didn't dare to be before. I will never forget the feeling when they posted the results and my name was the last one on the list. Yup, I was a cheerleader, and for better or worse it was one of the most shaping experiences of my entire life.

Your turn! I just admitted that I used to wear a short skirt and scream Be Aggressive! at the top of my lungs. Don't leave me hanging out here all on my own... ;)


  1. I love it, Nicole! Trying something out of one's element is scary enough, let alone when one is in high school. Good for you!

    My junior year in college, I did something completely crazy and out of character for me. I had been teaching ballroom dance lessons (which was and still is very like me), when I met the producer of a television show called Club Dance. It was a country dance show featuring lots of two-stepping, line dancing and yee-hawing. It was filmed in my hometown and broadcast nationally on the Nashville Network (TNN). They needed some young faces on the show. Believe it or not, there are a lot of elements of ballroom dance (waltz, cha-cha, etc.) that show up in country dance. So I taught myself and my very reluctant dance partner how to country dance and we became "regulars" on the show. We even used to get fan mail. I participated in show tapings on the weekends, and tried my best to hide the show's daily airing from my sororit sisters. I still have my official Club Dance member jacket, and actually got the nerve to show my girls one of the episodes on YouTube last week. My seven-year-old daughter's words were, "Wow, Mom, I can't believe you used to do that." Me, neither...

  2. When a poll asks people what they fear the most, invariably public speaking is at the top of the list. Usually above death!

    I can understand why. After the terrifying, heart-pounding, head-spinning experience of giving my testimony to my entire church (age 15) and then again when I was involved with Navigators in university, I knew this was not my calling. And those testimonies were only 5 minutes long!

    About three years ago, a teacher from a local Christian school, called to see if I would speak to his journalism class. I figured I could manage 10-15 minutes. That would easily cover everything I knew. He said the class was 90 minutes long...Yikes! For some reason I agreed.

    This teacher was calm, cool and relaxed which helped me get through the session. During the class, I had students interview each other. There were an odd number of students so one young lady came up and said she wanted to interview me.

    That student was Heidi Vanderveen, now in her second year of university and a talented writer/blogger. She is a kindred spirit and wise beyond her years.

    The teacher, Todd Diakow, is a gifted, amazing man you know very well, Nicole. All three of us are now good friends, and we even spend time together discussing writing.

    I can't imagine life without either of them. Isn't it amazing how God can use a "near death" experience to bring new friends into your life?

  3. Maybe it's not so wild and crazy, but eight years ago I quit my job, packed all of my belongings, left behind all my family and friends in Chicago and moved to Iowa. I did it all for love (corny, yes, but it was true). Six years of marriage and one baby later, I definitely made the right decision. I miss my family a lot and there are definitely things I miss about Chicago, but I sure do love Iowa.

    I'm a creature of habit, so picking up and moving to another state with no family or friends (and only a part-time job) was a big deal for me.


  4. Wow, Sherry! That's so awesome! I'd love to see you on Club Dance. Did you say that the videos are on YouTube...? :) Seriously, what a cool thing to do. You must have felt like you were living a double life--not in a bad way, of course. In the sort of way that would be an exciting surprise for anyone who knew you. I love it when people prove to be multi-layered and mysterious!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Doris! It's such a small world, isn't it? I've so enjoyed getting to know both you and Heidi over our email/blog interactions. It would be so great someday to actually meet face to face. You never know... If Todd can convince me to visit Calgary, we'll have to go out for supper or something. I'd love to be a part of your writing discussions...

  6. Tracy, it's not corny at all to move for love! I'd do it a hundred times over. My parents taught me that it doesn't matter where you are, it matters who you're with. Relationships are infinitely more important that geography. At least, I think so. And I'm so glad you like Iowa! It might be a bit of a learned taste, but I think it's beautiful.