I’ve been thinking about serendipity quite often lately. I’ve seen quite a bit of it over the last several months.
It all started in the middle of the fall semester at Texas State University. I’d been having some trouble getting one of the classes I needed – Media Practicum. In common terms, an internship. The easiest way for me to get that was to apply to work at the campus paper, but I was having a difficult time getting the faculty member in charge to respond to my emails and voice-mails. I asked my Editing for Clear Communication instructor for some help getting it set up.
Her response, “Why don’t you come intern for me?”
Shortly before that conversation, I’d accepted and begun working at a new job. I work full time for a government agency now. One of the employees on my team is from Venezuela. Her brother moved to the United States a few years ago as a refugee from their home country. He’d signed a petition to get a politician impeached. Afterwards, his business and family were harassed. (More on that in an upcoming story…)
You may have noticed that Voicebox Media’s recent project is Children on the Edge, which explores refugee issues, especially those impacting children. My coworker’s brother has children that were impacted by the situation he was in.
Another of my new coworkers was a television reporter in Kansas City for several years. At a training one day, we began talking shop about journalism and the age of the internet. We discussed her move to Texas after she decided to leave the station and how she missed working in media. I talked about the internship I was looking forward to starting this spring. I mentioned the Children on the Edge project and she became really excited.
My coworker’s cousin is a minister that volunteers at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Texas, helping Latin American women and their children deal with the trauma their respective situations have inflicted upon them.
I soon had her cousin’s contact information, and that led to my first story with VoiceBox Media. I’m rather proud of the piece.
Shortly before I had spoken with my professor about an internship, I’d registered for my other classes. I’m a History minor, and haven’t had much opportunity to take history classes because of my full time job, so I decided to concentrate on those classes in the spring. One of the classes I’d registered for, The History of Underdeveloped Latin American Countries. – Try saying that five times, fast.
The course explores America’s involvement in Latin America. Our role in deposing the president of Guatemala, or in setting Panama up as an independent country to press our interests in the development of the Panama Canal are major topics in the course. In other words, the course is about how America’s actions from the late 1800s to today have set that region of the world up in such a way that the people living there would want to leave for their own safety, and come to the United States.
Perfect background for our Children on the Edge series.
The professor has even agreed to talk to me about current affairs that are impacting the flow of asylum seekers from Latin America to the U.S.
Then, there’s the pièce de résistance.
I’m getting married.
Brandee and I met a little over two years ago now. She struck me as one of the most intelligent and kind individuals I’ve ever met. Her educational pedigree is astounding. Her degrees are from Muskingum and Purdue and she’s a hair’s breadth away from having a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Her bachelor’s degree is a double major in English and Spanish. Her master’s is in Spanish.
Her support this semester is the only way I’ve been able to even attempt to keep up with the workload. When I needed help transcribing an interview, she sat down and did it. When I need bits and pieces translated from Spanish to English, she’s there to make sure I’m not just giving it my best guess with an online translator. When I get home at 11:00 at night, exhausted from a long day of work and class, she’s got dinner ready, the pets taken care of and the apartment in order.
In short, I have the support I need to make it through the semester.
It’s kind of a wonderful thing that allows all the right elements to fall together.
Here’s hoping it finds you.