My name is kind of the female equivalence of "John Smith." There are A LOT of Sarah Nelsons on planet earth.
In fact, I know there's a least three or four in the Brainerd lakes area.
I got a phone call today, on my work line, from a stranger looking for "Sarah Nelson." She left me a message while I was out of the office and tried to get through a second time when she didn't hear back from me. On the second try, I answered.
It doesn't sound like that big of a deal, and the reality is— I should be relieved. The little blue book that gets me in and out of the country looks more like a home-ec project than proof of my citizenship.
That dumb thing has gotten me detained in my own country, detained in other countries, denied entry visa, removed from various forms of transportation and possibly added to the FBI watch list.
In my previous life, I was a teacher. I taught high school seniors. 18-year-old children who desperately wanted the world to know how grown up they were. It was of course my job to make sure they got to adulthood with at least a grasp on the tools they would need to survive the rest of their lives.
My educational weapon of choice — Government and Economics.
I feel like I might owe some people, maybe a lot of people, an apology.
I have this bad habit of ending phone calls prematurely. I don't know if it's cultural, personal or biological. But, sometimes, when I am hanging up the phone, I can still here the voice on the other line saying, "Okay then, talk to you later, bye now, okay..."
I did not hang up on you. I did not get fed up with talking to you. I do not mind using my daytime mobile minutes to share a conversation with you. I do like you. I just thought we were done talking.
The second those words flashed across the screen Sunday night, I knew people across the world would be reacting. Ten years of searching for this man and suddenly they had him.
It didn't feel real.
Like every other person connected to any form of social media, I immediately checked my Facebook to see what people were saying. That's the beauty of social media— it creates an immediate outlet for people to vent their feelings.
Ten years ago this month I boarded a plane for an island country I knew little about and, frankly, had never really given much thought. I was 18, I didn't give a lot of thought to a lot of things.
A decade later, it's rare that a day goes by that I don't think about my time in Haiti.
When the tiny half-an-island nation was obliterated by the earthquake one year ago today, I found myself glued to my TV. Watching helplessly from the frozen north, I worried for my friends. I was taken back to the winter of 2001 that I spent in Port-Au-Prince.