Thursday, November 5, 2009

The fall of the Berlin Wall put the "dash" into my American "-" Dream

The fall of the Berlin Wall put the "dash" into my American "-" Dream

For those of you that have experienced the short motivational video clip dash poem movie, you will get this right away.

If you have not yet seen this video, I strongly encourage you to do so.

No, I am not the maker of the video; nor, am I selling the products behind it. But, I fully support the metaphor.

Coming from simple lower middle class roots in Olympia, the capital city of Washington State, USA, I have been fortunate to live what I believe is the American Dream. Freedom to speak, to chose, to do, to travel and to make mistakes and then to pick one's self up and do it again.

But with all the successes, six figure income, million dollar home, two Mercedes cars, a boat and all the toys, an inherited medical condition (sleep apnea) brought me to the edge of death in February 1992.

At that day, I knew something was missing and I was not sure what; but, I had to go find out more.

Yes, I watched the events unfold on November 9, 1989, in Berlin - on TV like many of you did too.

Unbeknownst to me, the fall of the Berlin Wall would trigger a chain of events that would in 1999, change my life forever.

As many of you know, it is traditional that when a person dies, a headstone is placed at the grave with an inscription of their birth date and passing date separated by a simple "-" symbol.

Well, that simple "-" dash symbol is much more important than we might first believe.

It really symbolizes all the things we do in our lives between out birth and our death. Did we live our lives to our fullest and did we achieve what we had dreamed. Did we love and were we loved by others?

That February 1992 day, lying in the hospital Emergency room bed must have triggered my quest to put the "dash -" into my life.

Far away from Cupertino, California, USA, was a single mother of two living in the Capital City of the previously Soviet occupied country of Latvia. Growing up in the Soviet system from humble parents, she too had gone forth, in the not so friendly system, to make her life's dream come true.

The events in Berlin in 1989, caused the Soviet system to crumble and for her homeland Latvia to be freed after 50 difficult years. Out of this, she was able to start her own tourism business in the city of Riga.

Some twist of fate in June 1999, caused our paths to cross and through the marvels of the Internet to become acquainted online. Encouraged by my British friend, I made a visit to Latvia in July 1999, and after a brief return to California USA to pack all my belongings (and one aging Mercedes) I have basically not left Latvia and the "love of my life" since.

Together, we operate the business she founded in 1991, and love each other like we have never loved before! We laugh and fight and "celebrate our differences"!

We are creating the "dash -" in our lives and that of her (our) Latvian grand daughter who now lives surprisingly enough in Berlin, just one block from "Checkpoint" Charlie.

I also need to mention the importance of my son and grand children in the USA. I love them dearly as well and find it difficult to go so long without loving them personally. That part of the "dash -" in my life needs improvement.

The evidence is strong, Germany and especially Berlin is living a dream as well. Americans need to stand aside as the world may soon be able to pass the American Dream by.

What a small world it really is, and the "Fall of the Berlin Wall" has assured that there is REAL meaning in the "dash -" of my life.

Photos listed show my memories of Checkpoint Charlie and the area of East Berlin from my personal visits there.

In Riga Latvia where I now live, there is a piece of the Berlin Wall on display in a city park. The piece of the wall was a gift from the mayor of Berlin to the citizens of Riga some years ago.

I pass the wall often and remember the "dash -" of my life and how the fall of the Berlin Wall has affected me personally.


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