Sunday, May 12, 2013

"L" is for longitude and latitude; who knows where life will take these kids?

"L" is for latitude and longitude. Years ago, the coordinates of a town in South Africa wouldn't have mattered to me a whole lot. Now, I find myself looking them up.

When he was a sophomore at Iowa State, my son Scott met a girl named Katleho -- "Kat," for short. I noticed he was talking about her a great deal, and although he claimed they were "just friends," I knew it was just a matter of time.

I met her not long after, and I found out a few things -- her parents had passed away.  She was from South Africa but was living in Ames with her aunt and uncle while attending Iowa State. She was planning to major in finance, but also wanted to be a musician.

Life hadn't dealt her a great hand, but she was strong.  And she and my son seemed to be very fond of one another.

Flash-forward a few years. Scott has graduated and is working; Kat will graduate soon. She leaves tomorrow for South Africa, where she'll work for a few months before coming back to start her senior year. And then she'll come back, and then the two of them likely will talk about making their lives together.

Speaking of latitudes and longitudes -- far-away ones -- I'm not sure where they'll choose to make a home. They may settle in the U.S. They may spend some time in South Africa. Or they might compromise and live in the U.K. To them, it really doesn't matter; the world is small enough, via FaceTime and Skype and all the other methods now available, to keep loved ones close.

When it comes to the two of them, I do a lot of sitting back and watching. Their story is already unusual enough; who would have thought these two would find one another?  But the fact that they are so good at meshing their lives and their beliefs and their cultures is a thing to behold.

When I asked Scott just today if the interracial aspect of their relationship ever poses any challenges, he said it does not, nor does he expect it to. Keep in mind we're only decades removed from a time when they could have been thrown in jail because of their association with one another.

As the world truly does become smaller, we'll likely see more and more stories like Scott's and Kat's. It makes me proud indeed that they're helping to make this planet a more color-blind one, one with respect for all beliefs and cultures. It won't happen overnight, but they serve as a reminder that we're on the right track.

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