a unique perspective on this crazy world

Once upon a time that phrase was used by a teacher in conjunction with me.  It surprised me at the time.  I just assumed everyone wanted to know everything 🙂  One of the reasons Sarah and I became friends was because she was one of the first people I met who had felt really sad when she first realized she would never be able to read all the books in the library.

But you have to move past life’s disappointments 🙂  And nowadays there is google and Wikipedia and learning new stuff is a lot faster!  This week I learned about military mail 🙂  My new friend Björn has been temporarily deployed to Afghanistan and he hinted that a package would be more exciting than email.  And that he liked cookies with chocolate chips…

Which definitely increased his chances of getting a package 😉 Those who know me well will know I am kind of famous for baking chocolate chip cookies.  They aren’t very German though so not sure where he encountered them.  When I lived in Germany I had my mom send me chocolate chips for my birthday so that I could make cookies to remind me of home.

He told me the address was valid but it looked a bit strange so I went on-line to make sure it seemed right before heading off to the post office.  That’s when I learned about the Feldpost and Darmstadt.  Feldpost dates back to the eighteenth century, Prussia and the Seven Year’s War.  The coding can disguise the location to which the package is being sent – and military personnel get breaks on the price of postage.  Each country has its own military mail service.

Writing the address brought back memories of Frank.  Given that Frank tried to drown me early in our relationship, it was surprising that we became such great friends.  He didn’t mean to drown me 🙂  I met him on the UN Pilgrammage for Youth sponsored by the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs back when I was just barely 17.  He was from San Diego.  He didn’t realize there were people who didn’t know how to swim so he threw me in the deep end of the pool without any evil intentions.  Luckily I had managed to teach myself how to dog paddle on my yearly visit to the lake and got out of the pool without serious injury.  I think he was more freaked out than I was.

And almost dying does increase your bond with others… He ended up falling for another girl on the trip but I have always been better at being a friend than being a girlfriend so we ended up writing for quite a long time after the trip and he ended up in the army.  His life story was never quite clear and he was the first person I met who seemed like someone from a novel – mysterious, with secrets and a history – very different than the naïve little prairie girl I was back then.

But that trip also brought me to New York City for the first time.  To the “Mean Streets”, going broke, hookers in Times Square New York of the ‘70s.  It was the “real world”.  And I was in it.  There was so much to learn.  To see.  To experience.  My thirst for knowledge grew even greater.  It was actually a reference letter for that trip that inspired the words.

Thanks to the wonders of google and Wikipedia I see the program is still going strong, having started in 1949 as a celebration of the concept of the United Nations.  It was one of the first experiences that profoundly changed my life, far beyond just the thirst for knowledge.

UN Pilgrammage for Youth

This unique Educational Program was established by The Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1949 when the United Nations was just a four year old “toddler.” Annually the UN Pilgrimage brings together high school students from around the world to study and learn about the United Nations. For young adults interested in world affairs, international relations, economics and/or political sciences this is an opportunity of a life­time to observe the United Nations in person while exchanging views on education, politics and religion. Students tour the United Nations building and listen to behind-the-scenes briefings conducted by specialized United Nations agencies and departments including Ambassadors, Minister Counselors and Country Representatives. Each student (delegate) will participate in in-depth discussions with other young people from around the world as well as make new and lifelong friends. In addition, students experience one of the greatest cities in the world: New York. Attending a Broadway play; St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and much more.


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