There are the roller coasters we choose to ride because they are there and then there are the ones we get on out of necessity.  Michael jumped out of planes, marched, ran and ran his body rugged for many years in the army.  That kind of chose him.  Sometimes there are rides you choose because there is no other choice.  In 2010, I choose to spend a year teaching in the Middle East.  At one point, my ride was comprised of a packed group of Arabic speakers as we travelled to the school site 40 minutes away.  It was convenient and practical to ride with them.  However this was also during the beginning of the Arab Spring.  So each morning, the group would begin discussing the events of the uprising in Arabic and then one or two would should angrily shout “American.”  I was the only American in the car.   I started to get somewhat nervous and when the car stopped, I would jump out and walk with head held high to my classroom.  In an act of desperation, I send out an email to every member of the school community searching for an alternative ride.  I didn’t mean to send a blanket email but it went out and in all fairness although I appreciated the ride, I also paid for it by giving gas money and small gifts to some of the other teachers.

Well, that is what I mean by choosing our rides carefully and only if we are able to do so.  Sometimes it is better to ride in a car where they know where they are going because they know the area as there were no street signs but you have to think about some other things.  And if the people are not willing to discuss in English what is going on that means that everyone is not at the same table and if you are the odd person out, that can be scary.  This past week, another store owner chided me for not letting her know the situation.  Her reasoning was there have been some recent robberies on Busch Boulevard less than 1 block away.  It was very reassuring to know that several of the other store owners told my husband they are looking out for us.If I had been thinking clearly, I would have realized that I could have used the Bull Runner transportation to visit Michael.  A round trip taxi ride was $20 but the bull run would have let me out across the street from the hospital.

Sometime the roller coaster we are riding on chooses us.  Michael’s stay in the hospital has little to do with diet and more with more with body parts wearing down.    And sometimes the people we want to have the conversations with will not come to the table with us.

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