Unless you are a close friend or family member, few know that during my senior year of high school I was an exchange student in Denmark. It's not a secret and it's not because I'm not proud of my experience, but people rarely learn of my foreign adventure anymore because I lead a pretty quiet life now. Plus, it was exactly ten years ago that I lived half way around the world, so one would hope that I have moved on by now and my four-year-old has guaranteed that.
Although, every once in awhile I get lonesome for the place that was once my temporary home. I miss the culture and big-city life, but mostly I just miss the people. The year I lived in Denmark, I was seventeen/eighteen and that is a very pivotal time period for most teenagers. While I was away, just having to learn to cope in a foreign culture and a new language helped shape the person that I am today. Granted, I was going to be who I am no matter what, but that year was a part of my process of how I turned out. In twelve short months I grew up a lot.
With that understanding, most of that year overseas is now just a memory. I rarely think about it much anymore, but every once in awhile something will creep up on me like just the other night in a dream. As pure happenstance, I met some of my old danish classmates in a reunion fashion by pure coincidence. It was very joyous and we spent most of my dream catching up on how our lives had been going for the past ten years. My classmates were happy to see me and I them. Keep in mind that because they were my danish classmates, we were speaking in their fluent tongue, danish. I rarely ever dream in danish anymore. It is rare enough that when I woke up I remembered the entire dream sequence and the warm fuzzies that it brought me. I reminisced for a little while and went on with my day not thinking too much else of it.
Fast forward to 2:00 in the afternoon, me plugging away at a client's ad design. Into the art department walks in one of our senior account executives with one of his best clients from many states away. This is his client's first visit to our office and it is well known that he originally hails from Denmark. I was dumbstruck because I had no idea that he was coming to visit and when we had a chance to meet, I got to speak with him in his own language. It was very surreal as I haven't spoke a lick of conversational danish in years (barring dreams of course).
I took this as a sign. So many times in the past I have felt compelled to track down my old classmates that went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed in a land of total strangers, and thank them. After my dream, I thought perhaps now was the time to act on it. And then when a Dane walked straight into my cubicle the very same day, I was convinced.
I'm no psychic, but I do know when the universe is trying to tell me something. Later that night I googled all of my classmate's names and was elated to find that most of them were leading happy and successful lives. Perhaps this year when I place my Christmas card order, I will order just a few more.