July 21, 2015- How Did This Happen?
I have never been to Arkansas, but that is where I found myself this weekend. I have only 21 days in the US (my first visit back in a year and a half), but off I went to Northwest Arkansas for 4 days ( I learned that it takes nearly a day to get there from Boston- on the way there I transferred in NY, on the way back in Texas). I went to Arkansas because my favorite younger son has just moved there. His path there has been noteworthy. Two summers ago he stayed at my sister’s Cape house for the summer and looked for a summer job. All that he could find was a job at Dunkin Donuts, os that is where he worked. He had to ride a bike to get there (nearly 5 miles each way) and had to be there at 4:30 AM, which meant EARLY morning alarms (hard for a college students for sure). During the summer a friend of my sister’s visited and was impressed with my son’s work ethic as he observed C’s routine. It turns out that this friend is a top executive at Walmart. He encouraged my son to apply for an internship the following summer. After a long application process and several interviews C. landed an internship last summer. The pay was great, housing and some food was provided, and the experience was great. At the end of the summer, he had the offer to apply and interview for a job after graduation, which he did. He was offered a job in the department he had worked in all summer and returned to university for his senior year knowing that he had a job after graduation.
Fast forward 9 months… He graduated, visited his dad in Germany for a week, had just over a week vacation back in the Boston area and then he was off to Arkansas. This boy is a planner. He looked for apartments online and signed a lease before graduation. Once there he bought a used car, bought a minimum of furniture, and a week later started his first career. The program is great. All of the new people in his program had a week of training together, then they have 7 weeks working at a store (with Fridays being seminar days). The store experience is good, as they see many aspects of the company firsthand before they begin their desk jobs (he will be a planning analyst).
I have an East coast snobbery about anywhere in the US that is not between New England and DC, so I did not really know what to expect in this part of the world. What I found impressed me. He lives in a beautiful apartment surrounded by farms. He has access to delicious restaurants featuring different cuisines, some great art, recreational facilities, and more. We visited Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas and enjoyed the vibe of the college town. He was a charming host- planning trips he knew I would enjoy (yay for bookstores, a Little Free Library and more), shopped for foods he knows I like, and cooked a delicious dinner.
I was so thankful to have this time with him in his new home, but when I stopped to reflect I was flabbergasted. How could my younger son be an adult!?! I remember that people always talked about their children’s growing up years as flying by, but wow! C. has had an amazing childhood- living in Hong Kong, the US, Poland, Germany, and India. During university he did not really have an interest in studying overseas, as he had already done that for most of his life. So for now, he is settled in “middle America” and beginning his career and I can not be more proud of the young man he has become. But, wow- how did this happen that I have two adult sons!?