Last week, an old college buddy invited me to participate as a speaker in a career fair at his school in downtown LA. I confessed to Jeff that this has been something of a bucket list item for me: I’ve always wanted to participate, or be asked to participate, in a career day at a school. I’m not sure why. Maybe it makes me feel better about spending so much time and money on my education. Maybe it helps my self-esteem a little bit. Whatever the reason, I obviously said yes.

So I went. I tried to find a balance between: follow your dreams, but don’t be stupid about thinking you’re going to become a millionaire just because you invest tons of money into a degree. If it’s your dream, do it. If you just want to make money, think it through. I’m not sure how much of this made sense to them, or if they even cared, but at least it was good practice for my public speaking skills.
On her way out, one girl dropped a note on the table in front of me. It was folded in that way that you fold all notes that you pass in class in high school. The outside said:
“To: you
From: [her name]”
I liked the “you.”
Then I opened it.
“Hey there well i don’t know your name but it seems like you’re
a good person. My point is if you can help us we’ve been here in CA for 12 or 11 years we are not citizens or nothing. Well to tell you a little background when i was 2 or 3 years old i came here illegally hope you don’t take us back to Mexico. me and my dad and some friends were brought here first then they brought my mom. anyway can you help us fix our papers only me and my parents where born in Mex. My bros and sis were born here….Please help us I don’t want this to affect me when i get to college :) please call. oh i’m a freshman

well i like art. i want to have 2 jobs when i grow up
my dad never finds a job
my mom takes care of my bros
want to know more write back or you can come pull me out of clase! please”
My first reaction was, wow, someone is asking ME for help, and there’s a possibility that I can help them. That’s an amazing feeling.
But then I think more about it, and it makes me a little angry. It sucks that this freshman in high school is already worried about whether she’ll be able to go to college or not, because her parents brought her here illegally when she was a baby. That sucks. That really sucks. And who should have to dream about having two jobs just to have stability?
I read it again later, and then realized she asked me to pull her out of class, and I had to laugh. So typical of being in high school: hey, here’s this super serious issue I have, can I use it to ditch my next class? I’m not saying the only reason she wrote to me was to get out of class, but I think it’s hilarious that she took the opportunity to try to get out of class :)
I haven’t had a chance to call her yet, but I will. I’m thinking if her parents haven’t fixed their situation yet, it’s probably because they can’t. But it’s worth finding out if money is the only thing holding them back or not.
After that, I went to a book club meeting, and then I finally went home. And there I found these:
Along with my second letter of the day. It was a card from Jeff. The front says “incredible.” The inside text says: “to listen deeply, love without limits, and live with intention. you inspire me to be more.” Jeff added:
“I’m so proud of you sweetheart. I am sure all your hard work will pay off. Just keep being you. My caring, focused, over planning beautiful wife. No matter what any one else says, I know you will figure it out.”

I’m not sure what I did to deserve him, but I’m so happy I have him in my life.
Days like that day, and words like those words, help me believe that my semi-unconventional path is a-ok.