Monday, April 28, 2014

Coming Home to America

WELLINGTON — For the past two days, my little girl and I have been on a steady diet of Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Roy Orbison. Driving along in the wet and wind in Wellington, we crank up the volume (at her insistence); she claps her hands and dances in her car seat, and I gulp down a lump in my throat.

Found on the back of a checkbook?!
It's been nearly a year since the three of us left New York to move to New Zealand to follow my husband's dream to return to his home. In that time, I've discovered that hot cross buns really do exist; I'd always thought they were just part of a nursery rhyme.  I've become accustomed to drinking some of the world's best coffee (see CNN's report on Wellington's world-class coffee culture). And I drive through the green splendor of a national park every time I venture into town. This is some of the stuff we came here for: the green, the proximity to adventure, the little surprises of things like hot cross buns.

And yet, as summer approaches in America, I find myself growing more and more wistful for my home, for summer as I know it. Those muggy nights. Catching fireflies at dusk (or, as we called them in Cincinnati, "lightning bugs"). Eating cherry-flavored popsicles. Knowing each and every day that it'll be hot, real hot. Looking forward to the 4th of July, that holiday when you put to bed your uncertainty about the direction of the country, and raise a glass of cold beer in one hand and a grilled hot dog in the other, and toast the nature of pursuit and determination that isn't endemic to America, but is nonetheless deeply personal to most everyone who has known America as home.

Hot cross buns really do exist!
Just as all this nostalgia reached a fever pitch, a funny thing happened. I got word from Beaufort Books, my New York publisher that something really good was about to happen with the book. And when something good happens with your book, you can justify a trip home. In fact, you can even think about a road trip. With a two-year-old. And Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Roy Orbison.

So, American Summer, I'm coming home to see you. I'm coming home to eat my dad's burned hamburgers, and my mom's Cool Whip strawberry shortcake. I'm coming for "lightning bugs," for that summery damp smell of air-conditioning, and for days so hot that nights stay that way. And, of course, I'm coming home with my book, to talk about what can happen when you follow a dream. And perhaps this time I'll talk about what it's like to follow someone else's dream, too.

Amazon has chosen "LIVE from Mongolia" as part of its Big Deal. For the next two weeks, the book costs $2. LIVE from Mongolia is one woman's true story of what happened when she quit her Wall Street job to pursue her dream into the news anchor chair in Mongolia. It's available on Amazon Kindle, in hardcopy, on Barnes and Noble, and in bookstores. It's currently #1 in the category of Mongolia, #3 in Journalism & Nonfiction, and #3 in Specialty Travel. Enjoy! And write me if you too have pursued your wildest dream; I'd love to hear from you! 

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