The best reason for taking off your shoes.

I travel often, and some days, I’m really not in the mood. I wish I was. Every single event I’ve done so far has been worth my while, so why do I dread getting out of bed on the morning of some trips? Well, for one, I have a very comfortable bed. And also, I hate airports. Hate them. The smell of food and people, the stop and go, going through security in my socks… they are strange, awful places.

But sometimes, something wonderful happens to remind me just how lucky I am to live this crazy travelin’ lifestyle. This weekend was one of those times.

I spent this weekend Binghamton, New York. Gmail tells me it took 60 emails to work it out, but that meant the details were perfect. Sure, I left Philadelphia nearly 6 hours later than I thought I would (oh, airports!), but when I got there, I had the most genuine welcome a person can get: a bag full of snacks. And they were gluten free!

As I dug past the pretzels and cookies that, through some culinary miracle, wouldn’t make me sick, I found the true treasure of the bag. There, printed boldly in red and white, was a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “I promise.” And on the back of the shirt, a truncated version of The Reading Promise from the back of my book. Wow. Wow. You can’t imagine the feeling I had the next day when I signed those t-shirts. It was absolutely surreal. My presentation and  signing went very well, but meeting the 140+ people who came to see me was even better. I asked them to each tell me an interesting fact about themselves, and I learned all sorts of cool things: and found a pen pal in a little girl who plays the xylophone and likes to draw pictures of people who are asleep!

And the teacher who brought me in, Carrie Vesci, was really the icing on the cake (though her class guinea pig, Mr. Twinkles, was not far off):

She got the whole school involved with every step of my trip, forming a “Promise Committee” and adding “Streak”ing to the curriculum. When I arrived, it was like I was joining old friends. Some of that may come from the fact that they’d already read my entire life-story up to age 22 (it does have a way of converting strangers into at least acquaintances, of course) but I think it has more to do with Mrs. Vesci’s former-cheerleader personality. She bubbled over with enthusiasm for my book, her students, and me. Her students couldn’t help but catch it, and the community was soon to follow.  I came late to the party- but it was in part my party, so they let it slide.

This is by no means the exception- every event I do has me beaming for the next few days. That’s why I’m lucky to be in this profession… the speaking, writing, reading, educating, guinea pig feeding profession. Absolutely, there are the weeks – like last week, as you could see from my blog – when I get tired and need a break. I’m a busy girl! But I’m busy doing things that make me happy.

That’s worth taking off my shoes.

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Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Alice, this was a great post. I so enjoyed hearing about the details of your fabulous weekend: an enthusiastic teacher, a T-shirt with the promise you created on the back of it, and special attention given to your necessary gluten-free diet. I’m just another cheerleader in the sidelines, cheering both you and your remarkable book onward. Best wishes!

  2. excellent post! Glad there were t-shirts and excitement waiting for you.

    Personally, I LOVE airports. I love flying. I’ve only flown a handful of times in my life, but there’s something very wonderful (to me) about airports and flying. i went to pick someone up at the philly airport recently and the people-watching was fantastic. i wanted to buy a ticket to go somewhere just so I could look out the window.

  3. That was a great post! It takes a lot of work and time to do those things but obviously, the benefits are life affirming and isn’t that great? Personally, I love airports and watching people arrive and depart. I make up stories about where they are going, who they are waiting for and where they have been. Since I saw the movie Love, Actually I have looked at them from a totally different perspective. I like the wave of love I feel watching people meet each other. As for the flying, well not so much…especially the waiting, the cramped quarters and the teeny tiny bathrooms. But, my trips are always taking me to someone special and that makes the travel worth it. Thanks for the post and the chance to think about it.

  4. awesome post.


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