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Okay, below is the kind of thing I read on my son’s blog periodically as he experiences the cultural exchange in Ecuador. Provided he lives to look back on these kinds of thrilling events he surely will see that he has learned some things along the way. But really, as a parent, I must train myself to look at this through new eyes. He is eighteen and typically he’d be in college by now and I would know nothing of his foolish escapades. Also, it helps that he has conditioned me since he was born to look the other way when he tries to injure/kill himself since so far he has failed to do either despite being quite daring and fearless. So, take note while your kids are little, if they have the “T” factor, I believe it is called, that inspires them to take risks greater than those you and I might take, it might be a good time to wallow in the delight of being able to personally inform them of the danger, unlike when they will be off to college or other such places tasting the world on their own. In other words, it is when they are young and scaring you to death that it is best to teach them how to protect themselves. We steered this son towards daring yet controlled feats like performing live on stage, and sports like pole-vaulting, to help channel his wild energy.

Here’s Andrew’s blog post for yesterday, and really, I woke up today still thinking about it:

A really big sport in Ambato is downhill. Its literally just taking a mountain bike with shocks and riding down the side of a mountain. There are paths but they look like this ——___——- and the bike wheel fits in the ___. So there is no room for the pedals. And it is extremely hard to break because youre riding on very fine dirt. Mateo and David brought me to try it. You have to pay someone with a pick up truck to drive you to the top of the mountain. From there we started the descent. It started off easy, not very steep and only a few random holes in the ground that I had to jump over while speeding down a hill. But the next part was terrible. I fell head over the handlebars 4 times. I almost rode off the side of the mountain. I had to jump off the bike because the breaks werent working. Towards the end, I was riding and passed a cow tied to a tree. I didnt think anything of it because it Ecuador, but I then found myself in danger. A dog, almost definately rabid, jumped out of nowhere and ran at me barking. It got very close but then was pulled back by the rope by which it was tied to another tree. It was freaking out. Then when I tried to run away more dogs, without leashes, came running, barking, at me. I had to bark at them and wave my arms while I walked backwards up the hill. It turns out I had taken a wrong turn into someones farm/hut/land(?). I got to the bottom of the mountain bleeding,
bruised, sore, dirty, and almost rabid.

The good thing about this post for me it that Andrew is still Andrew and clearly is having a good time exploring what it is to be on his own. Thankfully he spent his childhood teaching me what to expect and I am hardened against the horror of this scene. Or maybe it was my own childhood that took away my fears of getting hurt. To read a story from my childhood called, “You Could Get Electrocuted Doing That”, go to “You’ll Get Over It, Jane Ellen”.