Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Saturday, January 31, 2015

a running list from Cincinnati --> Atlanta --> Paris --> Geneva (and BACK!)

This afternoon I kicked off a business trip to Europe. I'm going to Geneva to train some of the leaders of my company and making a one-day pit stop in Paris along the way. You know, because it's PARIS. While I was waiting to board my first flight from Cincinnati to a layover in Atlanta I read this quote:

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." -Archbishop Demond Tutu

I love that. 

I believe that.

I know that it's true. 

With all the bad and ugly happening in our world I believe that there is more good than bad. That there is everlasting hope. That love conquers all and that I am blessed through and through. 

I am thankful and I am humbled. 

Well, as humble as one can be sitting in the Delta lounge drinking a glass of cab while she's waiting for her first class flight to Paris. But yes, humble built on a mountain of gratitude and amazement that I even get a chance at such opportunities. 

Anyway, back to the quote. I am going to start a running list of "bits of good" that I witness on my journey from Cincinnati --> Atlanta --> Paris --> Geneva --> Paris --> Atlanta --> Cincinnati and I'll update throughout my trip and try to share every once in awhile- because something inside of me tells me it will be a beautiful list that is worth sharing. 

*1.31.2015 (Saturday)*

- Thankful for my mother-in-law who came to play with the kids for an hour when I had to leave for the airport before Dan arrived home from a meeting. She also brought berries with her b/c you know how the boys love their fruit. Papaw also showed up right before I left. I"m thankful that while I'm gone my babies have more than enough people to love them unconditionally while I'm away.  

-On the shuttle from the extended parking to the CVG terminal: the driver- he noticed my Purdue license plate which started a conversation about his son who had Purdue as his #1 choice for engineering school. I just loved listening to how proud he was of his son. And of course I love any chance to talk about Purdue. He was extra helpful with my bags and wished me a safe journey.  Kind words make a big difference when you're feeling fearful and sad about leaving your babies for a week. 

-On the plane from CVG to Atlanta- the stewardess- she was especially kind. She stopped by mid-flight and said she saw that I was going to Paris and wanted to hear about why I was going and what I was going to do when I got there. The man sitting next to me overheard us and said his company is based in Paris so he goes often and was just there last week. He spent the last 30 minutes of the flight giving me advice- he was quite a bit older than me so the advice included a lot of warnings about ignoring any gypsies, walking straight past anyone who asks me if I speak English, etc- he even gave me 2 leftover train tickets he had from his last trip. I love strangers looking out for strangers. That's pretty nice. 

-Right now as I write this in the lounge I can overhear a conversation behind me of 2 strangers. 2 men. The one man asked the other about his family and now the other man has been proudly babbling about his children for at least 5 minutes- pictures have been pulled out and they're exchanging stories of when their now pre-teens were babies. I mean, really. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, we're all the same. We all love our babies, we all our proud of them and welcome any chance to talk about them. 

*2.1.2015 (Sunday)*

-I don't have a lot of specific "bits of good" from Paris, but that was generally driven by me. I was careful to keep to myself as much as possible being an American woman exploring on her own, especially after the recent terrorist attack.  But, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that not one Parisian was rude or impatient with me, not one. Ever person I encountered was friendly and helpful. I'm relieved to say that I had zero moments of feeling unsafe or unwelcome. Zero. 


*2.2-2.5.2015 (Geneva)*

-My mom. She's been helping an extra amount this week with my sweet babies. She arrives super early so that Dan can leave for work on time which is hard when you're then taking care of 3 little people all day. On top of that, she always makes it extra special. On Sunday she came and picked up Jackson and Audrey for a few hours knowing that they might need a distraction as it was my first day away. She took them to visit Grandma Nanny (which they always love for the treats involved) and then went to a Superbowl Party and Aunt B's (treats also involved and lots of attention). On top of that she took them for a playdate on Wednesday with their best friends- Canaan, Ezra and Lainey. Nanna of the year, for sure. 

-The bits of good from Geneva have come mainly in the form of being made to feel at home by my many colleagues. In almost every session that I have led has included at least one of our senior leaders who I feel has taken on the role of somewhat protection- making sure I felt comfortable, giving me tips, ensuring I was taken care of during my time here, speaking up and supporting my points, etc. Thankful. 

-I happen to be staying at one of the nicest hotels in Geneva. I didn't know that it was when I booked it, I just knew that it was recommended to me by one of my leaders. It's directly across the street from Lake Geneva with the Alps in the background and every part of the hotel is luxurious. I've been here now since Monday morning and always feel a little less alone when the staff now recognizes me and asks how my day was, how I'm doing and ensuring I get to where I need to go each day. I especially loved tonight when I came in from the office and heard "welcome home, Miss Hoffman." (I still travel internationally under my maiden name since I've never had time to change my passport :). 

-Dan. He not only supports me when I'm away like this, but encourages me. He send me pictures and updates on the babies which I love, he calls and sends me messages to see how things are going, wishes me luck when he knows I have anxiety about the sessions I' leading. And last night, I was feeling somewhat down from missing my babies. I wrote him a note (because he was at work) and explained that I just don't think I can go on my mission trip next month to Ecuador- I just can't imagine right now leaving again so soon so asked him if I should just give up my spot. He reminded me that I would regret it if I didn't go, that this work is important to me and that it will be life-changing for sure. Like I said, encouragement in times of doubt.

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