With the end of summer approaching and school in the near horizon, the season of traveling is coming to a close. Travel is a passion of mine, whether it was traveling to see family across the country, or traveling to Washington D.C. to learn more about servant leadership like several Kansas FFA members experienced at Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) this past June and July.
But being the slight hoarder I am, wherever I go, I have to pick up a souvenir. It’s sometimes an item, or even a photograph. I also keep souvenirs that my friends and family bring home too, like a box of mints from Disneyland or a boot keychain from Guatemala. These small tokens remind me of great times and make me feel like I went on other individuals trips as well. So when my grandma announced that she was traveling to Germany for two weeks, you can imagine my envy; but I knew that with the generosity of my grandma, came gifts upon her return.
Just as I returned home from State Conference for Chapter Leaders (SCCL) Grandma arrived home and came bearing souvenirs. The grandkids assembled at her house and waited for her to say the words, “and I brought something just for you!”. When the gifts were finally unveiled, I was a little confused. I was expecting some traditional German lederhosen or maybe a cuckoo clock, but instead, she handed me a bag of Haribo gummy bears and an Adidas shirt; two items that I could walk into most American stores and buy. As my grandma started to tell stories of castles in the mountainside, I continued to look at the items. “What was so special about junk food and a shirt?”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn’t matter where the items had come from, it was who the items had come from. I was too busy thinking about the cultural meaning behind the gift to realize that my grandma had taken time out of her own vacation to think about me and what I would possibly want. Heck, she even asked if the shirt fit correctly, and if it didn’t, she would try to get it returned (to an Adidas store in Herzogenaurach, Germany)! It’s easy to look at a relationship and over-analyze the situation. But instead of thinking too far ahead, let’s go back to the basics and remember the reason they are in our lives in the first place; not because of what items they give, but what lessons and memories are interchanged.
Before I end my first blog post, here are some quick tidbits about me!
- My family consists of my two parents, my older brother and younger sister! Here we are with my grandparents.
- I love to sing, write, play sports and have a great time with friends!
- Other than food, I am always the first to try new things, like zip lining.
- People call me the tech guy, but I really just turn electronics on and off and they somehow magically work again.