Exhibit 12–The Start of Una Aventura!

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Packing up for a new aventura!

It has been the strangest months of my life from the past eleven years to have started this school year NOT teaching. To NOT have set up a classroom, gone through the painstaking process of labeling hundreds of items from cubbies, folders, notebooks, multiple name tags, book boxes and hooks is bizarre! To have ended the school year this past summer packing up my classroom of the last seven years is even weirder!  It was very surreal to say the least to leave behind my Silver Lake community (like a second home) full of kids, families, friends that became like family to embark upon this next aventura of life.

Packing up a classroom is like packing up an apartment, there are so many odds and ins that you may or may not be currently using but think you will sometime; so you keep most of it.  😟 A year and a half ago I had already taken a truckload of bins to our storage for things I thought I’d need later on.  When our grand aventura got delayed by another school year, I never even returned to those bins and don’t recall what’s in them exactly.

Yeesh.  Sigh.

So, as the end of the 2017-18 school year came to a close, I nervously, excitedly, sadly and wistfully packed it all up for good this time. I even got rid of 6-8 garbage cart bins of stuff! Whew!

On to the next aventura.

school

Summer flew by in a hurry with teaching summer school,  celebrating our first year wedding anniversary hitting up all the nostalgic spot of “firsts” to properly mark the occasion.  My husband and I dined at Beaujoulais, the fancy first restaurant where we ever had dinner nearly 3 years ago.  We revisited idyllic spots from our honeymoon in the San Francisco Bay.  And I gratefully was able to spend my birthday with my folks in Mendocino and up the California coast before heading home to get away for a bit in summer.

We trekked on working this summer dealing with a wide variety of customers and a cool car auction before the school year started again.  I started the year working with some awesome new colleagues at another school as a substitute teacher.  It was a great gig getting to work with small groups of kids still teaching and leaving plenty of time to ponder the details of our upcoming aventuras.  I missed seeing all my friends back into the groove of another year and often felt like I was playing hooky not returning to my normal routine of work. 😉

But I have to say, everyone needs a break like this every so often to return to yourself.  I have felt a surge of creativity, energy and restoration in the process of shaking up my life for una aventura.  This dream has been brewing in me for years now and it took a long time coming to make the change. In fact, upon reviewing journals of mine from 2014 and before, I had the vision of a trip to Spain and started plotting out the points to get me there.  Including the amazing generosity of my family and sister to move in with her for two years while I could pay off bills in order to go.  Wonderful life happened (as it always does) according to and not according to plan! I met and married my stellar husband for example!  We had a fabulous wedding at Lake Tahoe celebrated with many loved ones and have made a cozy little home while navigating this next aventura.  Ashley_Courtney_selects-8

The creation of una aventura isn’t for the faint of heart.  It takes courage and faith to construct into reality and a determination to keep at the goal.  The actions themselves were quite simple in the doing:

  1. Quit my job.
  2. Buy a plane ticket.
  3. Save some money for the trip.
  4. Pack a suitcase.
  5. Go!

Of course, it IS and IS NEVER that easy.

From my very first date with my husband, I painted a picture of my dream scene in Spain and he caught wind of my enthusiasm.  The dream of going there was never as simple as taking a trip.

It meant so much more to me than that.

It was the next chapter I envisioned for myself as a student in a wonderful women’s program I participated in for nearly two years.* It was a place where I could revive my love of Spanish and take my knowledge of the language to new heights.  It was a totally uncharted territory in my world that I longed to explore.  The aventura symbolized a place in my heart where my soul longed to freely write and create and dream and soar!  It became the setting where I hoped to travel with my partner in life and explore somewhere new together.  To finally get out of my normal reality and work on creating the words in my heart on paper.  The lifetime writing I plan to work on for applications to a Creative Writing MFA program while away.

And also, to prove to myself that dreams (aka aventuras) come true.

That I can do more than I think I can.

That life is beautiful even though it’s messy, hard, ridiculous, laughable, sad, monotonous, fun, changing, short—

and una aventura

AND a miracle.

Pexels.commg class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-581″ src=”https://ashleynormansmith.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/pexels-photo-9581731.jpeg” alt=”gray dream freestanding letters” width=”1880″ height=”1254″ /> Photo by rawpixel.com on [/

The road getting to una aventura is often less than glamorous.  The day to day bumps and bills to pay don’t clamor as anything more than what they are.  There has been a time and a season for everything up to this point.  The arduous journey of working to save, to live life along the way (like paying for a wedding), moving into a new place, adjusting to life as a newly married couple with new families and routines, working longer and for extra time all to keep alive la aventura.  Also working with la aventura with a new life partner require commitment and communication to work with them the best we can.  There is definite sacrifice that comes from both parties in achieving una aventura.  As sometimes the aventura may be more mine, more his or hopefully ours.  It’s all at a cost and sometimes life happens that deter them for a long while or for good. Sometimes aventuras can be wrangled from the clouds and tethered down on earth.  Sometimes they have to float away for no other reason except that life gets too windy and stormy to capture them.

Fo the loving support of my spouse, family and friends in this aventura; I am grateful.*

There always may be a smarter and linear way of achieving them.  By certain standards, this is the best and worst times to reach for them.

But, like all of us, doing the best we can to make them happen with what’s in front of me is the best one can really ask of anyone.

Pexels.commg class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-582″ src=”https://ashleynormansmith.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/spain-flag-flutter-spanish-54097.jpeg?w=1880″ alt=”sky blue windy flag” width=”1880″ height=”1410″ /> Photo by Pixabay on [/

¡Saludos a nuestras aventuras!  Keep dreaming of your next aventura! 

¡Y que sean aventureros!

Our aventura includes traveling around Europe to catch a glimpse of multiple cities in Europe before settling down to teach English for three months part-time in a suburb of Madrid, Spain.  We’ll volunteer to help teach English part time and spend our free time practicing Spanish, getting to know our wonderful host families, travel to new places and I’ll spend my free time writing.   Without the following support of our incredible families, friends and community, we wouldn’t be able to do any of it.

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to all of our friends and family who supported us on Honeyfund to make this dream come true.

https://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/NormanandSmithGetHitched

To CIEE, to help place us to teach abroad for a few months enabling us to see and experience another culture!

www.ciee.org

And to Johnny and Lara’s beautiful program for women to explore themselves more deeply, practice loving oneself and others and to live the life of their dreams.

johhnyandlara.com

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