|Jeff and Ken (Did I win this game?)|
I am so looking forward to this visit though - it will bring me lots of laughs and give time to rejuvenate even further....recovering from burnout seems to be a much longer process than I thought, but maybe it is because I am doing something that does require energy from me, (that is, leaping into the unknown). This may be easy for those who find traveling solo easy. For now, I focus on arriving at Jeff's house who shares his life with his partner, Ken. Both are always so welcoming and they make it so easy to be in their home. I was so touched when Jeff informed me what Ken had said when Jeff checked in with him about my visit, "Mi casa es su casa.". I knew then that I always had a place to go despite being 'homeless'. I have such gratitude for their friendship.
Jeff and I met many years ago at Northeastern University, both having a goal to become fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and to become an interpreter.
I, however, didn't continue down that direction very far. I ended up transferring to BU (Boston University) for Deaf Education instead. This was a much better match for me than being an interpreter. As an interpreter, you are placed in situations that are constantly different (which is not easy for me) and require you to not have a voice. You, as the interpreter, transfer information, that's all. This can be a challenge and frustrating especially during times when miscommunication is happening between the two parties, which often happens since there is a cultural aspect that hearing people don't often realize - there is a Deaf culture, which is different than the hearing culture. As well, since one of my life lessons deals with feeling as though I am not being heard, this probably wasn't a good option for me - placing myself in a situation where I didn't have a voice. I love kids, and working with Deaf children became a passion for me as I continued through the 2 year-long Masters program at Northeastern University in Boston.
Jeff and I spent many years in Boston, as mutually supportive friends and playmates. He was the one I called when I spontaneously wanted to go to the beach, or go sliding during a snow storm, or spend a day playing at a water park, or hang out at Walden Pond for the day, and to share a bottle of champagne, just because, and for no other reason...or while watching a sunset. He was also the one whom I called when I needed a friend, and who always made time for me when I needed to talk, vent, and, he listened...and still does.
After many years of being in Boston, Jeff decided to transition from Boston. He took the leap - purged his things, packed up his baggage and left, Hawai'i being his destination. It was an incredibly grievous time for me when he left and I grieved having him near me for a long time. Yet, I was simultaneously thrilled for him - he was on his way to living differently. There was nothing that I wanted more for him, that he find happiness, so I supported him in any way that I could.
A few years later, I found myself doing the same thing...following in his footsteps. As you may know, I headed to Hawai'i first too. His ability to make the change was an inspiration and gave me the willingness to let go of all that I knew, knowing it was okay to leave the safety of my comfort zone. My spiritual mentor, Jeannie, often reminded me as we discussed my plans to change my life, that if I could change my perspective and see it as 'expanding my comfort zone', not leaving it, which then could trigger some underlying issue and prevent me from proceeding. This was beneficial for me and I use it each time I am transitioning to a new location, when that fear begins to creep in.
I am reminisce about all that Jeff and I have been through over the years as I drive. My trip from SC to Decatur, GA is uneventful. I drive through beautiful country-side, see lots of churches, and wonder if there is really a need for so many when it is such a rural area. I see some odd things like a gas station named, "El Cheapo", which just looks out of place in this part of the country. When I arrive, I receive a warm welcome, hugs, and we begin to catch up. We chat for hours and during my stay we savor long meals together at home and at restaurants. We go to Starbucks and enjoy downtown Decatur. He is the kind of friend who you don't necessarily have to do anything special with to make it a special time. Playmates who are soul mates are so valuable! Mahalo to Jeff and Ken, and to their dog Blue who is my walking mate. Hey guys...have you taken Blue out for a walk recently?
Check out books by Jeff: In the Nick of Time and The Time of His Life: http://jleegraham.blogspot.com/
Jeff is also an astrologer. Visit his website at
Visit Ken (Hornbeck) who is an actor, trainer, and facilitator: www.ageless-sexuality.com