My last day of work was Friday, June 20th. There were no goodbyes or well-wishes. No cake. That’s alright. I don’t mind. When it comes to leaving Leech Lake Gaming I would have much rather gone in a whisper. Gossiping maraud they are. Stories get turned from the simplest, most innocent thing to so-and-so is cheating on so-and-so’s brother and cousin, pregnant with the neighbor’s baby, on meth, and stole a mustang.
So it’s okay to be done with there. And I haven’t missed it since.
That weekend I moved the last of my things to my parent’s lake home and said my goodbyes to those I held most dear in Bemidji. I find I miss my friends.
In the week to follow I attended my eleven year high school reunion in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Brief highlights include:
I was fortunate and grateful to stay with my best of friends, Cathy (we have the same first AND middle name!), whom I hadn’t seen in several years. Being able to enjoy her company once again gave me great strength for leaving home behind. I won’t lie when I say I had been staying awake at night feeling scared, alone, and unsure of my future plans. Is this the right move? What if I fail? What if Izzy and I don’t make it? What if Izzy gets hurt? Cathy always has a way with making me strong again. She knows the right words. I wish I possessed that gift. The best part of seeing her? After we spent time with her mother and father and were making plans to meet up with her sister, when I said it was alright if we weren’t able to (see her sister), she said, “You spent a great number of years being a part of this family, of course we need to try and get Andrea to come and see you.” She stopped me dead in my tracks. It was just a quick comment, but they are the kindest words ever spoken to me. Cathy, my other sister. I miss her every day.
I spent a week and a half at my parent’s house. I didn’t want to stay that long but I was having a hard time leaving. I was to head South to be with my second oldest sister and youngest brother in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – my home as a young child, before I met school. This time it was to leave for good. Goodbye to Minnesota. How could I ever abandon such a marvelous state?
I’ve hungered for adventure too long. I was now past the point of no return and having to force myself to continue on with this trip. Not let fear stop me from seeing something unfamiliar and possibly wondrous. My nights have now been spent second guessing myself. Seeking the answer to my question. Did I make a mistake? Nearly a decade working on the reservation it’s the longest job I’ve ever had. I spent my twenties there. Before that it was nothing but peddily jobs to make a buck to spend for the weekend. Who could I possibly be now? So much experience I have yes, accounting, training, hospitality, entertainment, law enforcement, emergency medical services, tutoring, administration, minority leadership, tradition, culture, Ojibwe, Sioux, Malaysian, Hmong, German, Chinese, Caucasian, all that I have taught, trained, tutored, guided, built up, who could I possibly be now? What connections do I still have?
I left Minnesota July 3rd…