Last month I wrote about how we can get stuck in life with the same ol’ routines. The same foods, the same drive to work, the same debate with a spouse, the same TV shows, the same thought patterns. To boost us out of a rut, I introduced you to Wendy, the seventeen-year-old student from Vietnam who works on the weekends with her aunt in a local nail salon.

This past weekend, my neighbor, Edie, and I returned to the salon for a freshening of our tootsies. This time I called ahead and asked specifically for Wendy to give me one of her relax ‘n chat pedicures. Our time together did not disappoint! I so wish you could meet Wendy in person and learn from her youthful wisdom. 

What Will Your Summer Hold?

With her junior year wrapped up this week, Wendy is looking forward to flying back to Vietnam for two months to be with her family. In late July,  Wendy’s younger sister will be returning with Wendy and their mom so the girls can both attend the local Colorado Springs school together. The girls’ parents also received visas to fly back and forth this coming year and attend Wendy’s high school graduation next May. Yay!

Besides drinking plenty of boba tea this summer back home, Wendy will be finishing her summer reading for her literature class this fall. Her choices? Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, and Treasure Island. I shared a brief synopsis of all three literary classics, but hey, this girl is smart enough to make her own decisions on what American books interest her. Frankly, she says she’d rather be reading psychology books.

“Why psychology, Wendy?” I curiously asked. “You’re going to be a business major. Are you thinking of a minor in psychology?”

Wendy looked up quickly from adding a soft violet polish to my feet. “Well, I just want to understand people better,” she shared. “I want to have a better connection with others. I want to have good habits in communicating.”

Wendy’s Solutions Just for You

Ding, ding, ding, ding. Wendy, you just solved how to get out of a rut AND play nice with others AND turn our confused, angry, and hurting world around. We could all use a dose of understanding and connecting better with others. Forget Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura, Wendy H gets relationship dynamics at the core: Seek to put yourself in the other people’s shoes. Learn to listen more and judge less. Apologize when you are wrong. Humbly serve others, and like Wendy, even be willing to joyfully scrub, snip, and polish their toenails.

You in a rut? No worries. I know a teenager born 8,000 miles away who will lift you out of the pit, the monotony, the going-nowhere pattern. Maybe you can read Lord of the Flies together or a psychology book, but even better, just ask Wendy a question or two about her life and her aspirations and sit back and enjoy the ride. There’s no rut deep enough to hold this teen or you down. Wendy is spunky. Determined. Brave. And a student of others.

So say so long to your ruts and join me in a couple of months when Wendy returns to the States has even more invaluable life lessons to share. What time should I make our pedicure appointment?