Friday, October 10, 2014

Parallel lives...

I had never really heard of the expression "parallel lives" until the winter of 1998, when I was looking for a job.  I applied for one via Hotline, a newsletter I got from the Peace Corps.  Employers would advertise for jobs specifically for former Peace Corps Volunteers.  I found one that was promising at Sound to Sea, a very cool environmental program for kids in Salter Path, North Carolina.  Having loved my time working at a church camp in Virginia, it seemed like a great opportunity for me.  I applied and was called for an interview.

The program director was a woman who had been a Peace Corps Volunteer at around the same time I was.  The director of the Sound to Sea program was about my age, give or take a year-- at that time, mid 20s.  When we talked on the phone and compared notes, she said we were living "parallel lives".   It turned out we had a lot in common.

The Sound to Sea job interview was for about a week.  I stayed at this place between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bogue Sound for five days.  I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.  They didn't hire me, though.  I was disappointed, because it seemed like a good fit, even though I wasn't wanting to be a teacher and wasn't necessarily the best with kids.  But I got to wear waders and watch a trout eat a cockroach, which was oddly satisfying.  And I got to catch a scallop, too.  And I saw a raccoon and learned what a raptor is.

Well today, for the first time in a very long time, I thought of that program again.  I looked up the woman who interviewed me, who no longer works at Sound to Sea.  And she freakin' lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is just about 25 miles from where I grew up.  She is not from Virginia, as I am.  But I do remember that when we were talking that first time, she said her brother lives in Carrboro, North Carolina... and my sister lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The two communities are side by side. Yup, parallel lives.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not a bad thing that I didn't get hired for that job.  I did enjoy the interview process and I think I would have learned a lot and enjoyed the job.  I also think I would have done a good job.  However, the path I ended up taking put me where I am today.  And I am in a good place.  Living in Germany for the second time doesn't suck.  I'd rather be here than Williamsburg, even though I grew up near Williamsburg and it's certainly not a bad place, either.

I had to go where I've been to be where I am.  And I don't think a sojourn at Sound to Sea would have put me here, given the time frame of what ultimately happened.  You see, after my failed interview with Sound to Sea, I took a job at a restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I was there for about 18 months before I went to graduate school.  Had I worked at Sound to Sea, I don't know if I would have ended up in grad school...  but that's where I met Bill.  And I love being Bill's wife.  Yes, it would be nice if I could be using the education I got in grad school... but I don't know if that would have improved my life.  I like where I am.

I think they didn't hire me for a number of reasons.  I was pretty mixed up at the time and was dealing with depression.  It probably came through.  And I'm guessing they thought I wouldn't fit in.  I'm grateful they interviewed me, though.  It was probably the most fun I've ever fun at a job interview.  So... Maggie Berry (who now has a married name that I won't reveal here), thanks for the interview, even though you didn't hire me.  And yes, in some ways, we are still living parallel lives.  I hope you are enjoying Williamsburg... a town I know like the back of my hand.


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