|CrystalblueoceanSailing and Diving Around the World|
sailing and diving around the world
I was sitting at my usual table, at The Pirate's Nest, here in Caracas Bay, Curacao, laptop plugged in, and this lady walked by. I know all of the people that work here now, but I hadn't seen her before. I could immediately see that she was a different kind of person. There was a 'purpose' behind everything she did.
Eventually, while she was checking with all of the customers, to see if they had everything they needed, she made her way over to my table. She had a steady, confident gaze, and a matter-of-fact way of speaking. She called me 'sir,' as she inquired if all was well, so I introduced myself as plain old Jason, and she told me her name is Noellie. That's one of the things you need to prepare yourself for, especially if you're one of the many that forget peoples' names, because it seems that everyone in Curacao has a unique, not-so-common name. For example, just here, at The Pirate's Nest, there is Noellie (pronounced noeelee), Naomi, Verusca, Merusca, Brendon, Inika (eeneekah, the manager), Erwin (ehrrween), Maria, Tirzah (teerzah), and Shary (shahree). Steven, the General Manager's name, also happens to be my uncle's name, so it wasn't so hard to remember his name. Steven, by the way, knows a heck of a lot about music, and, thanks to him, my music library is a lot richer. Here's a very cool song for you, a song Steven told me about- Wild Goose Chase, by Steel Impulse.
So, back to this remarkable young woman.... After she told me her name, I repeated it, and got it right, the first time. But, by the time our short conversation was over, I had forgotten how to say her name, so, naturally, when I tried to say it I fumbled the ball. She kindly repeated it for me, and playfully said, "get it right!" I liked her instantly. She'll be 18 soon, but she is one of the most focused focused people I've ever met, of any age. She moves and speaks with confidence, and projects a polite, sincere demeanor. Her high level of intelligence was obvious.
I happened to be doing some research on the internet, and I asked her a computer-related question, and she asked me to email her the info so she could take a look at it later. We chatted for a bit and she asked me a few questions about where we have been, on the sailboat, and to which country were we planning on going to next. She seems interested in every subject, a girl after my own heart. Heck, when she asked me if I was from the French or English side of Canada, that alone impressed me.
As we chatted, I found out that she flies planes! She's been learning on a Cessna, Skyhawk, and she's about 5 hours away from her license. She went on to tell me that she is going to join the Air Force. I was delighted to be talking to such a driven, young person, so I asked her if I could write an article about her, as inspiration to others, especially, hopefully, to any other young people who might be following my blog. It's very rare, I know, but this woman seems to have no mental or emotional handicaps.
Noellie knew she wanted to be a pilot from the time she was 5 years old. Truly amazing. Amazing in the sense that she is actually following through. I don't think I was able to form a coherent thought when I was 5 years old. Noellie's parents, not surprisingly, had a profound influence on the development of her character, especially her mother. Her mother is also a very strong, determined woman, and Noellie cleary respects both of her parents. Noellie has one younger sister, and I'm sure the younger sister is lucky to have such an exceptional role model.
To make a long, and very interesting story, short, Noellie is very connected to family, and she believes in traditional family values. While growing up, she didn't watch much of the 'brain-freezing' fodder that the television has to offer. Instead, she watched a lot of 'Discovery Channel' documentaries, and loved to watch brain-twisters like CSI, and NSCIS, a show about military investigations. As far as reading material goes, besides the immense pile of school books that always beckoned, she pretty much stuck to Carrie Slee, a Dutch writer that writes true-to-life stories. Interesting. Although I was never as focused as Noellie, I also loved to read those kinds of stories, especially the true-to-life stories that 'Readers Digest' printed in each edition. Reading stories about the obstacles that other people overcome, I think, builds character in young people, by illustrating how strong the human will is, and how far people can push themselves to accomplish any given goal. Students, here in Curacao, so it seems, are kept pretty busy with lots of homework. It wasn't rare for Noellie to be doing 2 or 3 hours of studies at home, after a full day at school, each night. For me, it would be especially tough to do that, living on an island, that has white sand beaches in every direction.
Young people need examples to follow. They have many role models today, bombarding them with different 'brands of influence.' Some of them are real people, but lots of them are fictional characters. Just how wholesome some of these 'role models' are is up for debate, I suppose. However, Noellie's role models were real, accomplished people of action, all with a positive message. What intrigues me most, about people like Noellie, are the influences that made them the way they are, and one of the common denominators seems to be that their parents treated them with respect, and that, in turn, teaches the young person to respect themselves.
I asked Noellie what she would say to other young people, as advice regarding the setting and accomplishing of goals. She was brief in her answer, and it was uncomplicated. "Follow up on the things that interest you and, no matter what happens, just keep going. Find out what you can realistically do, and afford, and see it through to the end, once you've committed. One of the many pitfalls today, is that there are so many tempting choices. Keep the list of goals small, and realistic. Just do it."
Compliments to Noellie :)