♦ I get paid to sing. Out loud and in public! I do baby storytime at a children's bookstore. I read board books and sing songs to babies and their parents and caregivers. Each week I decide on a theme and select new and classic board books to share with my audience. I love it when caregivers start reading aloud along with me. It's great for kids to hear their parents' and grandparents' and nannies' voices. They're teaching a love of books and words and music. It's fun to see this happening.
♦ I was a college volleyball player. I even got a sports scholarship! Even though I’m just barely five-feet-four. I played club volleyball in high school, and I was usually the backup setter. But late in my last season, our first-string setter had left the tournament early because she had a high school dance that night (don’t criticize too hard…you remember how important senior year dances were to you!) so I finally got to start. And like so many times to come, I came through in the clutch. I had one of my best games of the year. And lo and behold, that was the game a local community college coach was scouting. She offered me a scholarship to play for her team. So I did!
♦ I lived in Japan for three years. I was an English teacher in two junior high schools in a semi-rural part of Ehime prefecture. I also made occasional visits to local elementary schools and preschools. I did a lot of silly things there and it helped me overcome some of my fear of embarrassment. I dressed up as a spider and ran around my classrooms on Halloween. My costume included newspaper-stuffed black tights. In my third year, I injured my hand and ended up with a scar: two white bumps on my palm. It looked like a snake bite to me. When some students asked me about it, I told them I had gone swimming in a rice paddy and been bitten by a shark! They believed me…for a few seconds.
♦ I can walk backward in four-inch heels. Okay, that’s not such a useful skill, unless you’re dancing tango. I started dancing tango right after college, but then took a break while I lived in Japan, because it was hard to find tango where I lived. I missed it, though, so before I settled back into life in the states, I spent three months dancing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just don’t tell my mom. She still thinks I went there to learn Spanish.
♦ I was a professional dancer in New York City! Okay, not really professional, but we did perform throughout NYC, in Washington, D.C., and even at the Indiana State Fair. The group is called 10Tecomai and they’re still performing throughout the Northeast. They do a style of dance called yosakoi. Yosakoi was first created in Kochi prefecture, and I danced in the Kochi yosakoi festival when I lived in Japan.