Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.

So many things in my life turned out better than I had hoped. One can have hope that something will turn out his or her way, but sometimes, God or Fate or whatever intervenes and you get some better than you had planned. Some examples:

I wasn’t sure at 28 that I wanted children — I didn’t know much about them, and wasn’t particularly motherly-feeling. I had a great job — did I want to exchange that for children? After two miscarriages, a good doctor, and 9 months of waiting, I delivered my first child at age 30 and fell in love. My maternal side came out in full force. I had three more by the time I turned 36 and wouldn’t trade this life for any other.

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Once upon a time we planned a trip to France. We booked a cottage through an ad in the Financial Times (nice reputable paper), and I was filled with anticipation. My husband’s parents joined us in Bordeaux and we drove in two cars to St. Privat de Pres about 200 miles southeast. (The French are daring drivers but by the grace of God we arrived at our destination.) The cottage (a row house on the town square) was dreadful! It was practically as medieval as the town! We decided to make the best of it and my mother-in-law and I cleaned, made it as pleasant as possible, and we began our vacation. We didn’t know it, but we had arrived just days before a town celebration and Sol et Lumiere for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. The square was filled with tables, food and wine flowed, and the play (though in French) was delightful, enacted in front of the 14th century church that dominated the village.

The fields around the town were filled with sunflowers — like sunshine laying on the rolling landscape. Daily we sent the two older girls to get milk and bread from the farmer’s shop. We visited towns and villages nearby, walked, bicycled, swam, and had a memorable time, much better than we had initially anticipated! We made a day trip to Lordes — a unique and awe-inspiring experience. We ended our trip where we began, in Bordeaux, but spent a day at the beach — the best one I’ve ever been to, even if some of the waves were downright scary.

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As I rode the train from Southampton to St. Andrews, my anxiety began to grow. I’d just spent 6 days on a ship crossing the Atlantic and was beginning to think this junior year abroad in Scotland was a crazy idea. When I finally reached my residence, Hamilton Hall, the Grand Hotel two decades before, I was cold and scared. I was early, so I had a chance to meet students gradually as they arrived over the next few days. My roommate turned out to be a proper English rose, and a bit unsure about what to make of an American roommate — we were after all, rebels. But after warming up physically and socially, I soon fit in enjoying lectures, tutorials, the different approach to education, new friends, and the beautiful town of St. Andrews. I liked it so much I completed my degree there in — what else — medieval history.

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It’s become apparent to me that some of the things I have feared the most have turned out very well indeed. Some of the events I thought would be wonderful were a bust! Basically, life is life — you have to make the best and most of situations as they arise, and be flexible enough to rethink possibilities.

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