I am sitting here reflecting on how environment affects a person.
In a way, kinda reminds me of that TV show, years ago, "This is your life". Kinda neat to go back and look around where ya been, now and then.
I was born in Denver, CO and spent my teen years in Thornton, CO.
Life was pretty idyllic in those days; but I couldn't wait to get out of school, and away from home.
I really thought school was a waste of time, and I felt like a square peg in a round hole. A lot of the stuff in the classes made no sense to me, and frustrated me.
After graduating from high school, I joined the Marine Corps, and was on an airplane to San Diego, CA.
After basic training, I was allowed to have regular liberty, and began exploring the territory.
Down at the marina, in Oceanside, I could go and get a dynamite order of fish n chips. Sprinkle on some malt vinegar, and you got a cool meal. Add a beer or two, and a professional football game, and I could spend a few hours.
That time frame being the 60s, and pay being quite low, I couldn't afford a car or motorcycle, so, I traveled around on the bus system.
Yeah, I took the bus and left the driving to that smiling cat on TV; as Ray Stevens would say.
Being dependent on the bus, meant spending a lot of time in bus stations and on bus trips. This was where I began my life long learning of Spanish.
In high school, I hated reading, I guess mostly because any reading done required a book report, and I hated outlining and writing book reports.
But hours spent on buses and in stations leaves lotsa room for boredom...so, I started working crossword puzzles and reading.
When I was out from under the stress of having to report on what I had read, I found out I could enjoy a book or two.
Years later, I was to spend a year in Japan. I was able to spend a portion of that time with a Japanese local girlfriend. She introduced me to many traditions and foods. I now loved to eat rice, and fish, and had even eaten octopus for the first time and liked it. mmmmmmmm oye shee! This became the start of my learning to speak Japanese. Beautiful language...
While stationed on an aircraft carrier, I was able to spend some time in the Philippines, and learned to love lumpia and pancet.
With a week spent in Perth, Australia, learned about Vegemite and the tradition of drinking iced coffee and hot tea. Directly opposite of my preference.
I eventually spent a couple of years on the Gulf Coast in southern Mississippi, and quickly learned to love gumbo, red beans n rice, fried catfish, fried okra and mississippi mud. Oh what a time!
During this time, I had the privilege of being a part of a Barbershop chorus. We had the privilege of singing at the World's Fair in New Orleans.
Where I learned about "white coffee". If you are in New Orleans and order coffee, and the person asks you if you want white or black, my opinion is you better orde white; that chicory is some strong stuff.
As time rolled on, I was stationed in Hawaii, and learned to eat raw fish, poi, and lotsa other foods, prolly only found there. broke da mout... Here, learned a little "pidgin" English.
Upon retiring from my military career, I was able to spend about a year in Quito, Ecuador. Opportunity to add to my knowledge of Spanish. I might say, that sometimes when I want to think in Japanese, I come up with Spanish and vice versa. Makes for some interesting conversations with myself.
Back again to riding the bus everywhere I went, and enjoying local customs.
I soon came to enjoy a daily almuerzo. Not to mention an occasional papas fritas. It was here, I was introduced to potato soup with a quarter of an avocado in it. mmmmmm mighty good!
Overall, my life has been good. I have had the privilege of enjoying the best of many cultures. I don't mean in the sense of sitting and dining with kings and queens, but the people I did dine with were pretty special people.
That's about all I'm gonna say about that, just reminiscing...