Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Happy Home Coming 2012 -- The Globe is Shrinking

Four years ago today, our little Leyla arrived in Seattle to join her two brothers and complete our family.   Many years prior on this same day, I was born.   These two events are forever linked for me and as the years go by it becomes more apparent how appropriate that is. 
I find the passing of a year a time to reflect back – both on the preceding 365 days as well as on the years lived so far.  Now I also reflect back on the years since a little baby girl born in Ethiopia came home to us.  This year I find myself with two overarching thoughts.  First, for me the world is getting smaller and more interconnected each year.  Second, the need I feel to contribute to equalizing opportunity, especially as it relates to children and Ethiopia, gets bigger and more powerful with time.

This year, we accepted an international assignment and now reside in Luxembourg.  Our volunteer efforts for Ethiopia Reads needed to be adjusted to address this geographic change.  Amazingly, with another leap of faith, we were able to make this possible.  And in doing so gained more Ethiopia Ties and the world shrunk a bit.  My colleagues and friends here across Europe supported our efforts where I had not thought to ask before.  I reached out to an Ethiopian supporter living in Dubai who introduced me to another living in Indonesia, the country where my father was born and spent much of his childhood.   As I exchanged information with her and discussed visiting my dad’s birthplace, distances and differences seemed to fall away.  We titled our event Open Hearts Big Dream Last Year because we believe children's dreams should not depend on where they were born. This year the theme is Open Hearts Around the World because so many amazing people hailing from a diverse set of cultures and countries have been part of making it happen.
This summer, watching the Olympics from Greece, where my husband was born, was a special experience.  My daughter is becoming old enough to enjoy and understand the event.  We were all cheering for the American, Greek, Dutch and now Ethiopian athletes.  Our family cultures are well represented in the games.  Leyla loves to run  and has since she learned to walk.  Now she tells us one day she will be an Ethiopian runner.  We hope she does whatever her little heart desires.  Interestingly, she could likely compete as an Ethiopian, an American or a Greek should that be her path.   I feel the world shrinking  beneath me and inter-connections drawing me closer to those far with their warm and welcoming embrace.

Seeing the dreams of those Olympians realized and watching my amazing daughter grow, feeds my desire to be a part of equalizing opportunities for children in her birth country.  I saw two things recently that made the disparity of opportunity as well as the potential in those youth hit home in a way I could not turn away from easily.  The first was a YouTube video of a fifteen year old girl born in the same town as my daughter.  It was titled “Too Young to Wed.” She spoke wistfully of her hopes to become a doctor, absent-mindedly turning the pages of meticulously taken notes from the years she was able to go to school.  At fifteen, she was a married woman with a child to care for now.  She wed at eleven and those dreams evaporated.  So much in her story hit me. I too had dreamt about becoming a doctor as a girl.  I had my chance although I was not able to achieve it.  My eldest is fifteen and thinking about his future.  I can’t imagine him raising a child instead.  My middle child is eleven and marriage at that age is unthinkable to me. 
Then I saw the article of tablet computers dropped in parts of rural Ethiopia.  Within hours, illiterate children had figured out basic functions and within days were using the computers to teach themselves.  There were no instructors and they had never been exposed to electronics before.  The promise in the power of children’s minds they demonstrated, was compelling.  All they needed was for someone to provide them an opportunity to unlock it.  I see that powerful potential every day in my petite, firecracker of a daughter who excitedly started formal school this year.  She comes home most days and tries to teach me the French she is learning.  She wakes up asking with enthusiastic anticipation, “Do I have school today?”  She has friends from Israel, Denmark, France, India, Japan and many countries and cultures diverse from ours. She, in the opportunities she grabs each day with both hands, is learning the world is a small place and completely interconnected.  She is also beginning to be more aware and curious about our efforts.  And one day, she may fully understand she was a catalyst and inspiration for many efforts and connections that brought opportunities to children on the opposite side of the globe.   Below I share some of the my favorite memories over the last four years.

Arrived in Seattle on my birthday
First days in Ethiopia
My chubby toddler already had a sense of style

Enjoying her first trip back to Ethiopia
Sunset on a Greek Beach

Since it is my birthday, I am going to ask you to indulge me and consider if can help.  Anything makes a difference. 
To give you a sense, $2 equals average pay for 2 days in Ethiopia.   Thank you for considering.  
Happy Birthday to me!  Happy Homecoming to Leyla who every time she calls me "Mama" makes my heart sing with joy!
Celebrating our anniversary in Murano, Italy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What is Success?

When I was an awkward teenager, I looked at the models in my fashion magazines and the actresses on television and thought that was what success looked like.  I remember having imaginary conversations with characters from my night time soap operas I watched when I babysat. I thought if I were like them, people would respect me and I would have achieved success.

When I struggled in college, I thought I would pursue this dream a bit more.  I did it for many reasons but one of which was I secretly still desired to be “rich and famous” and have people see I made it.  In my mind's eye, I could see my face gracing the cover of magazines and showing the world I was someone.  My first foreshadowing that this view might be off the mark came when I was working at a modeling agency in Michigan.  I was the assistant to the Director as well as one of their models.  A woman, who at the time to me was old, came in.  She was maybe early to mid-forties.  She has a slightly weathered face but was otherwise lovely.  My boss, a retired model herself, told me a bit of her story.  She was one of the top models in the world during her twenties. She had traveled the globe and was featured on the cover of many well known publications.  However, those days were long behind her.  She was now a single mom struggling valiantly to make ends meet for her daughter and herself and was happy to do any kind of work available.  I played with this new data.  This was not at all how I imagined the years after hitting it big looking like.  I wasn’t ready to accept this as reality.  So I tucked the information away in a neat corner of my brain where I could find it later but it wasn’t staring me in the face each day and pursued modeling in Europe

When I was twenty and returning to the US, I knew my chances of hitting the big time were pretty much gone.  I recall going around to some modeling agencies  in Chicago for representation.  At a prominent one I was told, “At twenty, you are really too old to try to break into a new market.”  Old . . .at twenty – it was a sobering splash of cold wet reality.  I signed with a smaller agency and got work here and there.  I remember going to “cattle calls,” as they were referred to, with lots of beautiful girls.  I saw every bit of my imperfections highlighted by the perfection I saw in others.  I also witnessed the ugliness of what people were willing to do to “make it.” I missed using my intellect which had always been a big part of who I am.  So I returned to school, first part time and then full time.  I gave up on “making it as a model” which was not easy.  In the back of my mind, I reserved the chance to do so as an “older model” when I hit my late thirties.

My definition of success then shifted to professional. Unlike my first stint at college, this time I had experienced life on my own and knew I didn’t want to fail again.  I made school my priority.  I wasn’t always a natural at subjects I was not familiar with.  But I realized I could learn to do almost anything well if I focused on it – assuming it did not involve hand eye coordination but that is another post.  And I used that realization to graduate from college with a summa cum laude degree.  When I was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School, I thought I could now call myself some kind of success.  But when I started in the fall, being in the company of so many highly talented people, I again felt I didn’t quite measure up.  I also wasn’t sure, as with the models I couldn’t compete with, I really wanted to.  I had no burning passion to be a lawyer.  I liked reading, writing, solving problems and helping people.  Where did that leave me?
As I progressed from law school to working at a prestigious international law firm to working in-house,  I wanted to be recognized for professional success.  But I also wanted more. I wanted to be a good wife, mother and friend.  I revised my definition of succeeding to include those other relationships and strove to be a whole person with a balanced life.  This was a comfortable definition for a number of years.  I still found myself vacillating between wanting to be a better mother or wife and friend or wanting more professional success.  But generally I could find a tenuous balance that worked for me.

I can’t put my finger on exactly when that was not good enough.  This need for success to mean more probably germinated when I got the “C” diagnosis late one October 5th.  It may have sprouted when six months later I unceremoniously found myself needing to make sense of the phrase “your position has been eliminated.” This need was watered by looking at my husband whose roles allowed him to have a profound influence in his students and players lives.    Finally, it was fueled to blossom by the sunshine of a wide eyed little girl who, born of another mother, grabbed into my chest and held onto my heart. 
I wanted my life to have purpose.  No more did I long for fame and fortune.  I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself.  I knew I had more to give, more I could do.  I still enjoy professional success and want it to continue.  I still think being a mother is the most important role I have and raising my three amazing children is its own calling.  But I also want to give back in measure that I have been blessed.  I want my kids to see me model "paying it forward" and get involved themselves.  I now use my diligently developed professional network to meet like-minded people and to raise awareness and funds for causes dear to me.

I am beginning to understand this process was part of a natural evolution in my life. In my teens and twenties, I was trying to figure out who I was and success was anchored in that search. In my late twenties and thirties, I was building my family and my career; my view of success embraced those areas of focus. My forties freed me to hold on to family and career but open my arms and heart a little wider to also embrace parts of the world further away. My definition of family and career now include those who I don’t know and pursuits I am not paid for. These children in my daughter’s birth town enjoying a library that exists because of efforts of our friends and family brings joyful, grateful tears to my eyes.

Success for me is no longer a destination but more a lifelong pursuit of the well lived life.  It is reaching the end of my years with minimal regrets and a world that I can say is a little better place because of my efforts and those I may inspire and the achievements of my awe-inspiring children.  Wishing you all much success in your journeys!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Trip to Ethiopia: Lessons in Perspective, Beauty and Gratitute

While we were in Ethiopia last summer, I was struck by a common sight as we drove through rural areas.  Children as young as 3 and 4 years old were tending to livestock on a hillside, were cooking around a fire, or were washing and hanging out clothes.  Most of these kids were alone or in the company of other children.  They moved resolutely and focused on their tasks.  They had more the air of adult responsibility than the carefree attitude I have come to associate with childhood.

In Leyla’s home town of Bahir Dar, we took an eventful ride across Lake Tana  and saw orphan children being cared for by the monks and the village.  We got a gut wrenching sense of what life is like for those without a family.  Both of these sets of children are “fortunate” within the context of where they live.  They have adults who care for them and a community structure although from our view their path offers much less than what we would want for our children.

That evening, we returned to our hotel exhausted by both the activities and emotions of the day.  Being in my daughter’s hometown and processing so much beauty beside so much deprivation made my head spin and my heart vacillate between soaring and sinking. 

The hotel was not what we hoped for but there was little we could do to change it.  So we made due with two small non adjoining rooms.  Michael stayed in one with our two sons and I stayed in the other with Leyla.  I gratefully lay down on the bed and was insistently asleep.  

I was abruptly awoken from my deep slumber in the pitch black of night.  I could feel hands shaking my shoulders.  Michael's voice had the edge of panic to it, “It’s Dimitri.  He’s sick.  . . really sick.”  I instantly sat up although cobwebs still clung to my brain.  I followed Michael whose stricken look cut me to the core. When we entered the room he shared with the boys, the stench was overpowering.  My dear first son was in the shower shaking violently. 

Dimitri was uncontrollably sick in a way I had never seen.  He looked so frightened and vulnerable, nothing like the confident, funny teen of the daylight hours.  I very badly wanted to scoop him up like I did when he was a baby and find a way to make it all better. I swallowed the bitter bile of helplessness that threatened and focused on what we needed to do - get him ready to go immediately to a local hospital.  I stayed behind with Damian and Leyla. 

Michael went downstairs and one of the hotel staff got them a cab.  When he returned, he outlined what had happened at the hospital.  Dimitri was examined, tested for malaria, given an antibiotic shot and some medicine to take with him.  The total bill for the cabs, emergency room, doctor’s exam, shot and medicine was less than $38 --another reminder of how far we were from our normal.

Michael brought Dimitri back to my room since the other room was uninhabitable.  The three kids and I piled into the small 2 beds to see if we could get some rest.  The next morning we were going to visit Leyla’s orphanage so it was a big day.  Dimitri kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”  My heart went out to him.  As I stroked his sweaty forehead, I told him to focus on getting better. 

We had no space in our small room for Michael’s 6’2” frame.  He went downstairs to look for a place to lie down.  He told me in the morning the hotel staff found blankets for him and allowed him to have the biggest couch in the lobby.  They apparently regularly slept there.  We were touched by how wonderful everyone was at the hotel and at the hospital.  They went above and beyond to help.  For us, they represented Ethiopia.  And Ethiopia treated our family as their own: making our emergency their emergency and caring for our child as theirs. 

I found myself thinking back again to those kids in the countryside.  What if they had gotten ill as Dimitri had?  Would they have had access to hospital care and antibiotics?  I don’t know but it seems highly unlikely.  It was a heart breaking realization.  Parenting is challenging under the best of circumstances.  It is hard to imagine what it is like where the basics I take for granted are not available.

Dimitri's sickness could have been fatal without appropriate attention.  As it was, he lost over 10 pounds in 3 days.  He looked skeletal (since he was normally quite slim) and was extremely weak for quite some time.  Leyla constantly wanted to take care of him.
This trip gave me a perspective on a lot of things including how much we take for granted.  I also gained a new appreciate for the challenges Leyla’s first mom, and many moms in Ethiopia, face.   I don’t  know how to make sense of the injustice in the disparity.  (And although guilt is a wasteful emotion, I find it's undertow traps me and pulls me down at unexpected moments.) 

All I know is that I can do my part to right the injustice by giving back. I can make sure I appreciate what I have and appreciate the beauty in humanity including those wonderful souls who eased our fears and helped us care for our son that scary night.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Fourth Birthday to My Amazing Daughter Who Gave Me A Gift I Can’t Explain . .

I came across our acceptance letter for our referral from three years back. Leyla is now four years old and a world away from the infant in the picture which was our first introduction to our daughter. We could never anticipate how much she would change the course of our lives just by joining our family.

One thing I never unexpected was how she would impact me in a profound and personal way. In the fall of 2004, I was stunned to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer at 37 years of age. Once I pulled myself out of the vortex of “worst case,” I went to my comfort zone and immediately moved into action. I managed my care like I would a big project. I got a second opinion since this was a rare diagnosis for a woman of my age and health. I then sought out the best surgeon and took the most aggressive approach available. I determinedly focused on healing and moving forward as quickly as possible. I asked Michael to do what I now realize was the impossible.  I asked him to treat me as if everything was the same as before that October day. (To his credit, I know he really tried although I could always see the terror in his brown eyes.) Cancer was not going to define me or change my life.

Approximately six months later, I was called into my boss’s office and told my position was being "eliminated" as part of a merger. I felt immensely betrayed because those who made the decision knew first-hand what I was going through. And I had serious doubts about my ability to manage what lay ahead. I felt like an empty shell of my former self both physically and emotionally. I pushed those self defeating thoughts aside and threw myself into finding a new role. Action again provided me as a way to move beyond this latest devastating development. I was offered a new job close to home but it did not have the same long term potential as the one I lost. So I turned it down (with full support of my terrific husband) and extended my search nationally. I found a great new position in Seattle and moved with my two young sons while my husband remained behind.

While I had been very open about my diagnosis in Chicago, I no longer wanted to share it much after getting to our new home. I was trying hard not to dwell on what might have been. (I still tear up if I let myself think about or discuss it). Things looked optimistic. And with regular monitoring, I hoped to keep it that way. But I felt a pressing need to keep a frenetic pace. I pushed myself hard at the new job to make a valuable contribution in a demanding environment and at home to be a great mom to my two boys who missed their dad when he wasn’t with us (as did I). At one point, I got pneumonia but I soldiered on coming to work only two weeks later. People remarked I did not look well, but I preferred forward momentum to convalescing at home. Predictably, I got pneumonia again and added a little strep throat for good measure.

We decided after my husband joined us in the Emerald City to pursue our long standing desire to add our third child to our family through adoption. Again a sense of urgency pushed me. I wanted to complete the process is as fast as we could. I was anxious to meet our daughter waiting out there for us. When our adoption agency experienced an issue with our paperwork, I talked Michael into a family road trip to Yakima to deliver it personally and avoid a 6 week delay. When our referral finally came in, I counted down each day until we could fly to Ethiopia.

Then we flew half away around the world and brought our beautiful new little daughter back to the Pacific Northwest. After she joined us, something changed inside me. Finally, I was able exhale and I didn’t even realize I had been holding my breath. I could stop running from something and just be. The realization hit me one day while driving. I felt an unfamiliar calm and inner peace and reflected about how that came to be. This fierce little baby girl from East Africa with the piercing black eyes healed me in a way doctors could not. She completed our family, and in doing so, somehow gave me back something taken from me with the diagnosis and unexpected job loss. I have no explanation. I can hardly type as the tears fill my eyes and stream down my cheeks. Even after three years, I am touched to the core with the miraculous gift my amazing daughter gave me by just being her wonderfully unique and complex self. She loves pressing her cheek to mine, wrapping her arm around my neck and snuggling up with me -- and she has the most amazingly, tinkling, irresistable full belly laugh.  Some of my favorite shots from this year are below.

For those who want to tell me you are lucky, I want them all to know I am the lucky one. You made me more whole and made me want to be a better person. I can’t wait to see what you  accomplish as you grow into your huge potential and personality. Happy Fourth Birthday my darling, beloved Leyla!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ethiopian Ties Continue to Ripple Between Seattle and Ethiopia.

As I am reviewing the results of last year’s event, I am left wondering how did it all come together so beautifully. I just sent out the thank you cards to many supporters letting them know they had done the unimaginable – raised almost double what we thought was an audacious goal for a first time event. (I found everything takes longer when the entire organization is supported by volunteers if you are wondering why "thank yous" for a December gala are going out in April.)

For me, the picture of two of my children captured our objectives perfectly. They are sitting at the bottom of the podium where a live auction is proceeding around them supporting literacy half a world away. The power of a book has drawn them in. The little hand of the Ethiopian/American girl clutches tightly her Dutch/Greek/American big brother’s neck as he gives voice to the words she cannot yet read. Both of them are completely transported outside of that room and into the story. The event was about reading, dreaming, providing opportunity, coming together, and celebrating .. . I felt all in the air that night.

The seed was planted when I first met Yadesa Boija, an Ethiopian artist. I asked him for a letter and something to bring to the Bahir Dar library (our first Ethiopia Reads effort) in Leyla’s birth town. He suggested a African Union flag which bore his winning design and his signature. I asked him to also include some inspiring words from someone who had walked their path in a letter to be read to the children. He said as we were parting, “You should do something in Seattle. If you do, I will help you.” For some reason, this idea, which I had not considered before, seemed like something I was supposed to do.

As we planned late last fall (this year I am starting much earlier!), pictures arrived from the the Mercado School and Bahir Dar library. The flag is seen hanging proudly in front in Mercado with the children’s excitement radiating outward. In Bahir Dar, a teacher is reading Yadesa’s letter to a class of children with his flag suspended between two more in the background. They are amazing images for me -- magical even.

I was happy to share these touching images. Yadesa had not gotten to visit the library as my family had in the summer and seen the joy and hope it brought to that community. His response was immediate and enthusiastic – “You made my day!” Yadesa is a shining example of how to make a difference in whatever unique way best suits you – encouraging and inspiring, providing a bit of yourself through your talents, or collaborating.

These children were evidence of ripples caused by taking a step forward in faith – first from Ethiopia - Yadesa and Leyla’s birthplace -- to Seattle where both families live now. Then the ripple reversed and headed back to Ethiopia through Yadesa’s words and art to the neighborhood of his childhood and to the first "Leyla’s Library" in her hometown (funded by our friends and family). These children and their teachers returned ripple back to us in Seattle through the wonder of photography and the internet. With the literacy program funded through this event and continued support of Ethiopia Reads, we look forward enabling those ripples to ebb and flow between Seattle and Ethiopia -- gaining momentum and energizing more and bigger dreams with each return.

Another strong believer in the ripple effect, Jane Kurtz, one of the founders and a tireless volunteer for Ethiopia Reads, relayed a story Yadesa shared about his early years growing up in Mercado (which means market). He accompanied an older brother to check out books at a library. When he asked to do the same, he was told could not because he was too young. He then sat in front of the building and said he was going to stay there until they let him check out a book. Finally, they relented after seeing this young boy was as good as his word.

Through Yadesa's sharing - whether his history, his paintings, or his words -- he gives life to ideas about the power of education, collaboration, art and reading to open hearts and facilitate big dreams.

He, along with many others, are helping us and Ethiopia Reads give more boys and girls the opportunity to do the same. As the logo designed by Yadesa so beautifully illustrates – open books + open hearts = big dreams.

I recently saw a great quote I thought summed up how we (which included volunteers, supporters and attendees) pulled off an amazingly successful first event:

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail."

--Charles F. Kettering, American inventor.

We are taking that approach again this year . .stay tuned.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Unsung Heroes – The Teenagers You Don’t Hear Enough About!

I know they are everywhere. I just don’t always see them.

Our fundraising auction dinner is over. It is hard to describe, “How was it?” I tried to wrap up my thoughts in a neat package any number of times. But I can’t seem to catch it all into something I can share easily. For me, it was a blur of activities, instructions, planning and worrying – in the middle of my ordinary life with three busy kids and two challenging careers. I had one clear thought at one a.m. in the morning walking to my car that day when most everything else was a haze. I knew heroes, often hidden in the shadows, made our event the huge success it was. I would like to recognize them here. I will start with my husband Michael's Kentwood High School National Honor Society students.

About twenty volunteered to help. Some of them are pictured above proudly wearing their "Open Hearts" t-shirts. I remember the first one arrived hours before the event started. I mistook him for a member of the museum staff because he came dressed in a suit. Soon a number more joined him. Only one student, of Ethiopian origin, had a more personal reason for his participation. All spent over ten hours nonstop doing the thankless jobs required to pull off a dinner charity auction. Little did I appreciate before this marathon day what is truly required.

We began in the early morning packing up the auction items that covered our first floor and transported them to the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. We rented tables and dishes to save money over using a caterer. They had been delivered but volunteers needed to unpack and bring them out from a back room. Others then set them up. We had a silent auction of 100+ items. Volunteers scurried as the minutes ticked closer to when the first guest arrived to get all displayed to maximum effect on long tables lining the museum halls. Round tables in the main room were transformed into an inviting dining experience, and the desserts lined up into a tempting array, to turn sweet-tooths into dollars for literacy. Then followed the constant drip drip of urgent tasks after the guests began appearing -- water glasses to be filled, wine bottles opened, snacks put out, misplaced items located, questions answered. . . and on and on. . .

Two of the students provided a bit of drama as the program began. When a guest requested water for tea, two young men ran to the kitchen and located the water pot still unfortunately filled with cold water. They hurriedly brought it from the kitchen to the beverage station and plugged it in, apologizing to the guests for the oversight. Suddenly, the power for the PA and music was lost. Turns out the fuse was not set up to take the surge of energy required to make a large amount of frigid water hot. But it was only a momentarily diversion. And I assured the two everything was fine when I saw their crest fallen faces.

Throughout the evening, if you were paying attention, you could see these students moving quickly from one set of tasks to the next. They laughed and smiled with each other as they toiled. They raised issues they did not know how to handle but otherwise soldiered on. The camaraderie was palpable in the kitchen area where they congregated to grab a snack or drink whenever the activity died down a bit. At the end of a long evening, the guests were checking out and getting ready to drive home with their treasures. But these students were beginning the next set of duties. They cleared the tables of dishes and glass wear used by the 170+ guests, scraped leftover food into huge garbage bins, gathered the rented items and put them back into the storage room where they had found them, broke down the myriad of boxes that just hours before housed the silent auction selection and made numerous trips to the malodorous dumpster behind the museum.

I asked myself -- Why? What was in it for them?

Unlike our guests, it wasn’t to enjoy a wonderfully, prepared Ethiopian meal. They ate subway sandwiches in the kitchen standing up. It wasn’t the program. They were busy closing down the silent auction areas and staging the items for checkout and delivery to the winners when the artist, dancers, poet and writer provided their poignant connections to Ethiopia. It wasn’t the excitement of participating in or watching the live auction. They were delivering desserts, filling up water glasses and dropping off items to the winners while the auctioneer was plying his craft. These teenagers gave up a Saturday night to do the behind the scenes drudgery of helping a cause that most had no connection to – happily, willingly and with no tangible reward.

So why then? I honestly don’t completely know.

I think the fact my husband sets an example by giving up much of his personal time to help them is a big part of it. I also know these kids are high achievers who have experienced what it takes to succeed and aren't afraid of hard work. But I am not convinced these represent the complete explanation. I believe what they exhibited was their character and their heart. I do know for certain that without them the event could not have happened.

They were an unexpected source of inspiration for me – during a night with much to be inspired about already. These teenagers and their counterparts around the globe are our future. And if this evening provided a glimpse into what lies ahead, I see much reason to hope.