Friday, May 18, 2007

The man from Staten Island

In my journey through life, I have unearthed some very rare treasures from time to time. I've also made the extraordinary discovery that life's true treasures are people, not things.

They are the people that have genuinely pure and honest souls. They are the people that lift you up. The people that encourage you. The people that don't hold hatred in their hearts. They go through life with a smile on their face, and hand out kind words by the truckload. They are givers, not takers...lovers, not fighters.

One such treasure is a man I met earlier this year. Judging purely by his energy and his love of life, you would think he was a man in his 20's, with a lifetime ahead of him. In fact, I believe in his heart, he is in his 20's, and always will be. The truth of the matter is, he's in his 70's, with many years of memories and accomplishments already behind him.

I have been fascinated by him from the moment we met. So rare is it to find a person of his age, that still seems to have an air of innocence about him. He loves people in a way that suggests that, to him, there is no evil or hatred in this world. There is only love and kindness, fun and adventures.

His name is Jim, and we first met online, on The Photo Forum. A few friends and I had been planning a trip to New York City in early March. One problem we were encountering was where to park. If you ever go to NYC, don't take your's not cheap.

Jim is from Staten Island. None of us had ever met him, or even had dealings with him on the forum before this trip came up. So when he offered to let us park in front of his house all weekend, we were at first just a bit hesitant. We are thankful to this day that we did not listen to that hesitation, because we would have missed out on experiencing the kind hospitality that Jim showed us.

Though he had his children over for dinner at the time that we showed up, he and his whole family welcomed us into their home with open arms. They offered us food and drink, a place to rest for a few minutes, and a bit of lively conversation. After our pitstop, he went out of his way to take us all the way into New York City, and was prepared to take us to our hotel, as well....only to turn right back around and go back home, and return again the next day to be our NYC guide.

That day, with him as our guide, we were enamored by his anecdotes about the various places in the city that we found ourselves in. The tales of a young Jim courting 'his lady' still make me smile when I think about them. He opened our minds, he made us laugh, he gave us all a little piece of himself to take with us for when that weekend was nothing more than a memory.

We have conversed online here and there since that weekend, but internet communications leave me wanting more.

I have a strong desire to go back to Staten Island, and sit down with him and his lovely wife for tea. For conversation. There is so much more that lies behinds those kind eyes that I have yet to discover. I want to learn the mysteries of what makes him who he is. I want to determine how a man that I barely know can have so much faith in me and my abilities.

He isn't making it difficult for me to come back, either. He has offered us not only a place to park, but also a place to sleep, and a hearty homemade breakfast in the morning.

I certainly hope I get a chance to take him up on that offer. Breakfast at Jim's sounds quite appetizing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One Small Step....

Ok, so one small step hardly describes it. Today I had my appointment with the financial aid advisor at IVCC. Not only did he ease my fears, but he also made me downright confident about the future of my education. I was so worried about how I was going to make this happen....but I'm not now. How doesn't matter. What matters is...I AM going to make this happen.

After my appointment with the financial aid advisor, I took care of some other things. I got an appointment to take my placement tests. I have to test in reading, writing, and math. Reading and writing are gonna be a breeze. Math? Not so much. I have two weeks to brush up!

Before leaving the college, I also made an appointment with a guidance councelor.

I'm going all the way this time. I'm going to college. I'm going to get an education. Then I'm going to get a good job, and not struggle to make ends meet.

One giant leap for happily ever after.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Talent I can only dream of...

If you haven't already, do me a favor and check out my best friend's website, Joe Dombrowski Photography.

Joe is one of the most talented people I know, and this website shows much of that talent off. It showcases his photography, his music, and his web designing all in one damn nifty lookin' package.

Check, it out and let me know what you think! I'll pass it along!

Getting my start in life...

In two days I have an appointment with a financial aid adviser at the college.

I'm determined this time. One way or another, I'm going to start college. Come hell or high water, this fall, I will be starting a transfer program at IVCC. My major? Psychology.

I've wanted to go into that since I was probably 14 year old...I gave up that dream long ago, because I thought it was more schooling than I could do.

But my outlook on a lot of things has changed in the last year or so, thanks to the amazing friends that I've mentioned time and again in this blog. It took almost 25 years, but I finally know that I can do anything I want to do. And I want to go to college and study Psychology.