Sunday, September 28, 2008

Letters to the Mad Hatter

The good thing about meeting interesting people is that, more often than not, they have interesting stories to tell. With a good portion of my friends living abroad in a remake of the California Gold Rush, we have moved our three dimensional relationship into an interactive pen pal system that translates into viewing each other’s photos, having the basic “que mas?” conversation through Messenger as well as the random 2 a.m. phone call because somebody is peeing in a toilet “marca Toto” and remembered me (thanks…). However, the best part for me, are the random e-mails that I occasionally get from them, telling me about their lives. Morning coffees get much better while reading about their trips abroad, their marital life, studies, jobs as well as their doubts and misgivings about where this country is going or about Lindsay Lohan’s bisexuality (go figure). I reply with the accounts of life inside the fort, my own misgivings and the occasional salacious gossip which is always welcome in alien lands.

Surprisingly, the writing of this blog has helped bring my “brain drain” friends closer and write me more often, with their own disorientations, exhilarations, cluelessness or triumphs. Short e-mails, long letters or stories that serve not only as a personal account of their lives, but also as an inspiration of success. The following is a letter I received this morning. It is the materialization of a random idea that emerged in a lunch conversation decades ago, that inspired someone to go out, buy a ticket and live his dream. This is the story he wants to share.-

Letter to the Mad Hatter:
"I must say it was a very good day on Thursday. One of those days that basically tells you that life is worth the hassle. About 10 months ago Toto and I sat down at Panini in Los Palos Grandes to discuss my future. I had just left my cushy corporate job, hating myself for having taken it in the first place and with no clue as to what I should do next. Toto sat there and patiently listened to my shtick about being fed up with not doing what I wanted to do with my life, but also having no clue as to how to figure it out.

When I was 21 years old, I did something that changed my life forever and that something I did, I share not only with Toto, but also with hundreds of others. I bought an application form for HNMUN. The particularities of that experience have been described by the Mad Hatter himself in detail before ( so I won’t go into it. Suffice it to say that the whole thing set me on a path from which I can probably never be saved. It planted a seed and let it grow, a seed of political and personal growth for which I will forever be grateful.

In any case, the journey brought me here, to Jerusalem. Israel. Today I work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Who would have thought it possible? I certainly didn’t. But it happened. In any case, it was a very good day on Thursday. One that I will remember for a long time if not forever and which I wanted to share with you. I started out by going to work and writing speeches that would be read at the United Nations General Assembly. The Real One! The real SpecPol Committee. It was weird that all of the forms and uses and all of the training and studying seemed to converge on a single piece of paper (or rather word processing software, but that’s just a technicality).

We thought we were playing games at the time. Today I realize, not so much! I thought I was having an out of body experience. I wasn’t! I was really sitting there, at a foreign office writing words reflecting a country’s foreign policy and which would become part of the 62nd session’s record. Mid day came and we were summoned to a meeting at the auditorium. Who was there? None other than Tzipora - Tzipi- Livni, a woman who had run Israel’s foreign policy for the last two years and, as of last week, was chosen by President Shimon Peres to form a Coalition for the Israeli Government. I was truly in shock. Really thought I was watching a movie depicting someone else’s life.

That same night I traveled to Tel-Aviv to cap off the day by attending a concert by Sir Paul McCartney, a living legend whom I have admired since my sister played that first record for me when I was about 8 or 10. Needless to say, the concert was amazing and a testament to McCartney’s greatness. He opened with Hello, Hello. A song that my friends in Israel have dubbed “Shalom, Shalom!” (I don’t know why you say Shalom, I say Shalom) and closed with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band! The rest of the repertoire included: Band on the Run, Jet, Something, Live and Let Die, Back in the USSR and over 30 songs in total! During the concert a friend of mine made me look back at the day I had just lived. He said “Isn’t it great, you’ve just had an extraordinary day, you’re living your life”. The comment opened my eyes! It impressed upon me the greatness of choice and life. The fact that you can think yourself down and out, to suddenly be picked right back up and running faster and better than before. To experience incredible things and to regenerate hope and idealism where you once thought that only cynicism could live.

As I read the words I’ve just written, I think of the pessimism that often surrounds us. How we let ourselves be sucked up by despair and hopelessness, when all we need is an extraordinary event to pick us up. Something to inject hope back into our lives, something to wake us up and take the blindfold off. If Toto and my friend Ido hadn’t pointed to that, I would probably not be here and would probably not realize how fortunate I’ve been to live the things that I have lived and to have walked the path I have walked, even if at times it may seem that there was no way out, that I was trapped in a monotonous whirlwind, its days like Thursday that give me hope. That’s why I invite you all to pay attention to that little voice inside of you, and also to the outsider who may, by saying a few simple words, point you back in the right direction. The direction of a good day."


Carlos said...

Que arrecho el trabajo de este pana.

Philyra said...

Good post.

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