There are moments when I know that I am living a charmed life. Some are simple - shared laughter, holding the hand of someone I love, comfortable silence - but others are difficult to explain. I come from a family of hardworking people. Few have gone to college. Few have travelled across an ocean. I've done both. On the train from Rome to Naples, I watched as the Italian countryside flew by and I couldn't help but consider the path that led me to that particular moment in time.
I could dismiss it as luck but I know better. My parents worked hard, pushed me, wanted more for me than they dared want for themselves. I suppose I worked hard in my own way, though my way ended up being so different than theirs. I've had the support of family and friends along the way and I'm thankful for it even though that support didn't always take the forms I wanted.
Sometimes, I tell people that I am but a simple girl from Kansas. It can serve as a joke...an excuse...a call for lower expectations. The truth is, however, that I am that simple girl and I marvel at the privilege that I have and all that I have seen. I grew up in the plains of Kansas but have seen Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii. Though I can't connect all the points that led me here, I am filled with gratitude.