I wrote this post last week in Lima, Peru.
His name was Didier. He spoke a little English and I spoke a little Spanish. We met briefly at EARTH university in Costa Rica where I was working as a banana worker. He asked what I was doing in Costa Rica and I told him about my Where Am I Eating project, including my upcoming trip to Colombia to research coffee.
“My family lives in Nariño a region famous for coffee.” He said.
We talked for 15 minutes, maybe.
Two months later I was strolling down the streets of his hometown, El Tablon de Gomez, beside his father Ladardo and his two sisters. I ate one of their guinea pigs. I spent three days with his family. They introduced me to coffee farmers many of whom sold/had sold the labors of their work to Starbucks.
Fifteen minutes, that’s it.
I’m in Peru. How, I have no idea?
Sure, I know that I was invited by Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, but it’s not like I’m getting requests to speak in South American on a regular basis. I have a book in the world and a blog too. Sometimes each of them finds interesting characters all over the world who drop me a note. But a speaking request in South America? I was puzzled.
I just accepted it.
In 2009 I spoke to a room full of students at WTAMU. I was invited by a fabulous professor named Melody Loya. She was super nice. We grabbed some lunch. She showed me the campus. She used WEARING in her class and we kept in touch. I think my visit ended with a hug.
Two years later WTAMU selected my book as their freshmen common reader. Instead of speaking to a room full of students, I talked to a stadium full of students most of whom had read my book. Amy Andersen and Kendra Campbell helped me put my regalia on… in the men’s bathroom. When we walked out we were cracking up. The year before Elie Wiesel was their common reader/convocation speaker. They didn’t’ accompany him to the bathroom.
Afterwards, I drank wine with James Hallmark, a Dean at the university.
We exchanged travel stories.
“Kelsey, I hear I got you a gig in Peru.” James and Amy via Facebook both took credit for recommending me to a former colleague who teaches at Loyola now.
That’s how the university flew me to Peru to speak with their students with a two week layover in Colombia to stay with Didier’s family. That’s right I got my plane ticket paid for, and then some. Traveling the world and writing books doesn’t pay loads so you have to get creative.
Make Random Happen
Life seems so random. The more people you talk and laugh with and simply enjoy the ride alongside the more random life becomes.
Talk to people. Enjoy each other. Learn from each other. Make random happen.
Right now as I look our from my hotel room at the city of Lima, I’m thankful for the randomness of my life. More than that I’m thankful for Didier, his dad Ladardo, their family in El Tablon de Gomez, and for Amy and James.
I’m also thankful for Bobby and Katie of Fair Trade USA who I spent an amazing three days with visiting the Ahuacan people in northern Colombia. The randomness continues….