Widening Horizons

First Draft Sneak Peek No. 4

Something had shifted in my life. Taking care of my parents had awoken a need for responsibility. I became active in a local bird watchers club. When I was fifteen I founded the youth section of the club and we became part of a nationwide German environmentalist group. I spent my free time organizing weekend events. We did cleanups in our local forests, guarded falcons nests during the nights to deter poachers from stealing the young birds and selling them to Arab sheiks. We built fences along highways to help frogs cross the streets safely during their migration. We watched and identified animals and helped people convert their gardens into natural habitats. My group wasn’t big but we were a dedicated little gang. During school vacations I went camping throughout Germany. It felt good to belong. Within this group of environmentalist nerds who dedicated their free time trying to make a small difference I did not seem quite so odd.

During this time I came in contact with other cultures for the first time. One year the environmentalist society organized a summer camp between youth activists from Germany and Malta. I was enchanted by the intense two-week experience. My heart opened and I knew I needed to make the whole world my playground. Germany alone was far too small to be satisfying. I sensed beauty, and magic. Thankfully, after all that had happened, I was still curious about the world and keen to socialize with people.

My strange childhood with its constant uprooting and emergencies had molded me into an individual with advanced social skills. I cared deeply, approaching others with non-threatening compassion. I instinctively knew how to fit in, sensing how to make people feel comfortable, make them laugh and feel safe.

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