Last weekend we visited Andrea's alma-mater for our annual "Eating Disorder Awareness" training with ResLife Student Leaders at the Claremont Colleges. As usual, it was an amazing, emotional time. For a number of reasons It felt even more intense than usual. Part of that came from the request to have us do two trainings in one day (which is tiring) and partly because on top of our usual visit to Andrea's Memorial Garden, we crammed in a visit to a restaurant where Andrea worked during her last semester in college.
During the semester before Andrea's death, she had taken on a second job to bring in a bit more spending money (I am guessing now that it was to support her bulimic binges but at the time that possibility did not occur to me). She'd told us about the restaurant and how kind the owners had been allowing her to work around her other obligations and how much she enjoyed being able to use her Spanish with other employees as it was a Mexican Restaurant.
I had completely forgotten about this little side job of Andrea's until the "sorting" project that took place in her room a few months ago. It was then that I'd run across her old pay receipts which contained the restaurant's name and address. I tucked this information into the Claremont Colleges file, knowing that when we returned for our talks in the summer we would visit the place our daughter had worked. The restaurant still exists, but has a new name and new owners (as of 10 years ago). Although a bit emotional for me it was still sweet to visit (and dine) at a place where Andrea had spent time, especially to visualize her in that environment.
We made these two visits between our talks...soooo not a good idea. By the time we got to our second speaking engagement we both felt drained. I wasn't even sure I could muster the strength to speak. Three schools had gathered in the large auditorium so we pulled ourselves to the stage and went "on with the show."
And what a bizarre, unique "show" it was. About a third of the way into our talk the ceiling mounted LCD projector suddenly turned itself off and returned to its little box. We spent about 10-15 minutes troubleshooting to no avail and so continued sans visuals. This was fine, but there were three more brief video clips I really wanted the students to see. I sent up a little prayer and then moved on.
Right before the next video, the projector turned back on (technicians had been working on it the whole time). It worked for a while and then died once more. This time, we just kept going, allowing the techs to do their thing while we talked. Amazingly, just prior to each of the remaining two brief clips the LCD began working, only to stop as soon as the videos ended. In our years of doing this work, this was one of the strangest presentation experiences we've had to date. As exhausted as I'd felt at the beginning of this talk, by its end I felt strangely energized...odd experiences must have that effect on me :)
Sending blessings until next time,