At 3 or 4, I ran a race in my town and thought I "won" because when I crossed the finish line, no one else was anywhere near as a racer and lots of people were cheering for me. Turns out, I was the last person to finish the race. They put my picture in the paper and years later, my brother had this image printed onto T-Shirts for a 30 Mile Train Run I ran to support a non-profit.
The summer before 4th grade, my parents moved our family from Oklahoma to Texas. Of course, I thought it was going to ruin my life! In the end, though I didn't love life in my new home, I survived, made some good friends (kept my first friend from OK, whom I began playing with before I was even 2) and had some fabulous teachers.
I began mowing lawns when I was 10 years-old to earn money. My older brother did it, so I figured why couldn't I? I earned money this way until I graduated high school, but also supplemented my savings for college in the most glorious way -- as a waitress on the patio of a not-very-good Mexican restaurant (now owned by a Mexican). The restaurants signature item was its appetizer called "White Wings," which consisted of a cube of jack cheese and jalapeno stuffed inside a chicken ball that was wrapped in bacon and cooked on a hot pan. This was served with tortillas and sour cream. I never tried it as I was a vegetarian from age 11-21.
I stopped being a vegetarian while living in Cairo. I was there to spend a semester abroad at the American University in Cairo. When a quite poor family invited me over to dinner and served me lamb stew, I realized I had to eat every bite. Even if my very basic Arabic and their non-existent English had not been a communication barrier, I still would have even the soup rather than explain that I did not eat meat.
Okay, I digressed. While in Texas, I had the amazing honor of studying piano with Ann Chamlee, an experience that changed my life. She nurtured my love for music and was a big part of the reason that I received a partial music scholarship and went to school intent on studying piano and being a piano teacher myself at a college, just like her.
While there -- life happened! Four hours of practicing piano a day took its toll. I had major wrist problems and came home one Christmas and realized how unhappy I was (for many reasons). I decided not to continue my study at that college and ended up moving BACK TO TEXAS (which I had planned NOT to do when I decided to go to school out of state).
Once again, I found myself waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant -- in the "big city" this time, at least. I also had the pleasure of being a Nanny to the most adorable toddler and preschooler you could ever meet (well, except for my kids, which, of course, did not exist at the time!)
My 60-80 hour "glamorous" work week proved to be major motivation for going back to school, and I was ecstatic to get into Sarah Lawrence College just outside of NYC, which was about as different from my previous college experience as I could get. I went from a small school in the Midwest dominated by Greek life (sororities and fraternities) to a much smaller school in New York that was predominately female, had no majors and no tests, but emphasized student-led research projects. I loved it (though I'm not loving the student loan debt).
At Sarah Lawrence, my interest in U.S. History and Foreign Policy flourished (an interest that began with an awesome High School History teacher back in TX), and my desire to learn about the Middle East began, which lead me to a semester abroad in Cairo (aforementioned).
Cairo set in motion something that would truly change my life forever. I met Ramon Hamilton, a boy from Boston who happened to also be studying at AUC that semester. One look, and I knew I was in trouble. A few months later, on a trip to Alexander, we admitted that we had feelings for each other -- and the rest is history, basically. It's been 14+ years and we know share a business (and life passion) together with our production company Think Ten Media Group, and we have two kids. which leads me here...
...To The Good Long Road where I share about the ways we're Growing, Learning and Reading along the way and how we focus on Generosity and Gratitude, Love, Responsibility and Respect.
To sum it up, I'm the mom of two boys: Wild Thing (4) and Caterpillar (2.5) who began blogging when my brother set this up for me as I prepared for a 30 mile trail run to raise money for charity for my 30th birthday.
Essentially, I love to create: indie films w/Think Ten Media Group, creative learning opportunities with Wild Thing and Caterpillar, a better world through community building, compassion and service projects.
You can learn more about my films at thinktenmediagroup.com and our latest film at www.getsmuggled.com. We also teach filmmaking to others, and I'm very proud of our Spotlight on Hope Film Camp -- a program focused on free film camps for pediatric cancer patients.
You can also contact me directly by emailing jennifer at thinktenmediagroup dot com or via FB/TheGoodLongRoad.