Tonight, I went back to where it all started. I delivered a speech at my sponsor Rotary Club of Caledonia, New York. What is a sponsor club? Well, it is the Rotary Club who agrees to take you under their wing and put their stamp of approval on your application to become a Rotary Exchange student. Way back when, in what now seems like the dark ages, Kari and I began our individual journeys which would bring us together in Liege, Belgium. From there, our paths would cross on a daily basis until a full year later, when we returned to our respective home towns. (never to see eachother again....or so we thought.)
I spoke to these wonderful people about the role that Rotary played in my life and how it provided the most valuable life experience anyone could ever imagine (plug for Rotary Exchange Student Program.) I also told them the details of how we came to the decision to run a full marathon in Paris - something that isn't really easy to tell unless you go way way way back in our lives. They tolerated my stories and even laughed at my jokes. They were very touched by the Rotary banner that I presented to the President from Kari's Italian Rotarians. (I regret that I am fresh out of polo shirts to offer them, because I know they would buy one or two...I hope to get some to them soon.)
They were entertained by the idea of buying and raising a pig for a fundraiser- I daresay we may see an Italian tradition in Caledonia! They all purchased buttons for a nice amount of money, over $200 from button sales. I am excited to add that to the total donation that will be going to the PolioPlus campaign! I was also very touched to be given a card stating that a book will be donated to my highschool library in my name - in the spirit of fostering literacy, a cause that, as a teacher, is also very close to my heart. For that, I am very thankful!! That is a great speaker gift! I am terribly excited to be invited back to finish the story of our journey to Paris that I only began telling them tonight. The conclusion, though I have a rough idea of what it will entail, is yet to be written. I am sure that there will be many great stories to share from our trip to Paris.
I can't wait to go back to these people and say how great it was to cross the finish line. (almost there)