Monday, April 1, 2013


“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

This is an Eleanor Roosevelt quotation that touched me very deeply the first time I read it.  In fact, it resonated with me on such a profound level that I asked it to be woven into our wedding ceremony last year.  

I warn you that the following post might strike you as a little bit "New Age."  I don't burn Patchouli incense and I don't wear tye-dye shirts, (anymore at least...), but I have a few thoughts to share today that some of you might find a little...alternative.  

I have come to believe that just as the food we eat everyday becomes our physical composition in life, the dreams we have about what we want to do or experience come to define our minds and hearts in a similar way.  Our dreams are the manifestations of the deepest yearnings of our souls. If we don't allow ourselves to dream, or if we are unable to dream, we are filled with a grey emptiness.

This idea came full circle for me about a week ago when I was offered a job that seemed to have been made for me.  I'm sure if you have been following this blog, you've listened to me agonize about the job search and the difficulty I have had.  I never would have found this job had I not thought very carefully about my dreams. 

There was one cold morning about a month ago when I was walking down our hill to meet Hodge for a coffee in one of our favorite little cafes.  I was feeling down about not having found any work, and I badly needed something to pick me up a little.  I walked steadily down the hill, and a father and daughter slowly approached me walking up the hill on the same side of the road on the sidewalk.  The father seemed angry.  He appeared to be yelling at his 7 or 8 year old daughter, perhaps reprimanding her for something.  I continued walking towards them, expecting to hear Swiss German.  How wrong I was.  The first words I heard out of the father's mouth were the following:

"I DON'T CARE WHO TOLD YOU THAT!!!  Don't let ANYONE tell you that you can't do something!  NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!! Ever.  You can do anything you want, baby!"

It was perfect American English.  I don't know if they were expats or tourists, but it seemed almost as if the universe wanted me to wake up that morning and have these words be the first I heard.  I smiled as I walked past them.  The words stayed with me for days.  

About a week after that, those words still circling around my mind, I found myself looking for jobs one morning and feeling especially depressed.  I had submitted so many applications to positions that held absolutely no meaning for me.  They were all corporate positions that sounded both boring and unfulfilling.  With each job application I felt a part of myself get sadder and sadder.  I felt adrift and lost and as if I would never be able to do work that I loved.  What if I really was unable to find anything in Switzerland?  We would have to leave this land of lakes and cheese and chocolate and good health care.  I couldn't bear it.  And then suddenly, it happened.  I snapped.  And thank God I did. 

I'm convinced that the human psychological "snapping" mechanism can be one of the most corrective and helpful things that we have .  We throw up our hands into the air and say "Fuck it!"  We lose our fear of being silly, or ridiculous, or just plain unrealistic.  And the freedom and honesty that can come from moments like these is profound.

So, there I was.  Snapped.  Fuck it, I thought.  I want to do immigration law.  I suddenly found myself unable to do anything but google search "immigration law Switzerland."  I perused the results for nearly an hour, and I that is how I came upon the Fragomen law firm.  For those of you know don't know, Fragomen is THE top immigration law firm in the US.  They do wonderful work and are very well-respected.  They are so expert in what they do that they often publish guides that are used by the whole immigration law community. 

I discovered that Fragomen had just opened an office in Zurich.  I couldn't find any jobs posted on their website, but I decided to email them all of my documents anyway.  I wrote an impassioned letter about how I adored immigration law and would be thrilled to contribute to the work they do in their new office in any way I could.  I even broke my personal rule about not putting any SHOUTY CAPITALS in a job application and wrote that "working with immigration law issues in a multicultural environment is my PASSION."

After having sent that email, I felt so much better.  I recognized that I had just done something a little bit unconventional, but it was a positive and cathartic experience.  I felt that at least I had been true to myself, if nothing else.  I fully expected to hear nothing back.  How wrong I was.

Before I knew it I had a phone interview.  An hour after the phone interview they asked me to come into Zurich the next day for a 2nd interview.  And four days after that they offered me a position as an Immigration Consultant.  Unbelievable.
The point of this story is that my dreams about what I wanted to do with my career guided me in the right direction.  

Our dreams, our SHOUTY CAPITALS, define us.  I think if we feel compelled to express something that strongly, it can only be a good thing for our lives in the long run.  I suppose I can't really tell people to include SHOUTY CAPITALS in all work-related documents...but isn't always a bad thing.  

Life can shift very quickly.  Even if you don't believe in things like the Universe or God sending you a message, it is reasonable to say that you are noticing certain things for a reason.  What if I hadn't heard that father lecturing his daughter on dreams?  Would I have been sufficiently inspired to finally "snap" and find this wonderful job?

As Hodge and I approach our first anniversary, I feel compelled to gush a little bit, and it is directly linked to this theme of dreams.  I remind myself that he wouldn't be my husband today if we both hadn't believed in our dreams.  For nearly a decade we had wondered about each other from our separate corners of the planet.  In my last semester of law school we started talking more frequently, and we skyped for the first time ever.  I will never, ever, forget what that was like.

We were both in a bit of a rush and didn't have much time for that first Skype session, but we couldn't resist a quick hello.  I had just signed up for a Skype account and I was eager to try it.  The laptop did its magic and suddenly there he was, right in front of me.  I hadn't seen his face up close like that for seven years.  The amount of joy I felt when I saw him that day, well, it is still hard for me to describe.

After that brief conversation, I walked around for the next few days feeling as if I carried a warmth in my heart that nothing could take away.  I dreamed of seeing him again in person, but, as with most dreams that really mean something to us, it seemed utterly unrealistic and crazy.  We lived on separate continents.  We hadn't seen each other for nearly a decade.  I had a job lined up in Denver and he was working as a tour guide all over Europe.  How would any of this actually materialize?  How do you start dating someone who is on the other side of the earth?  You can't just meet somewhere and have a coffee.  You've got to drop the questions, drop the doubts, and be brave enough to just do exactly what your heart tells you, which in our case was planning a 10-day vacation together in Costa Rica.

 So believe in the beauty of your dreams.  You never know what might happen.  

1 comment:

  1. Daisy! Congrats on the job :) I have a friend who works for Fragomen in NY and she absolutely loves it. I'm so happy that you've landed a spot at such a great place!