Two months ago, something incredible happened. It was one of the most inspiring encounters I’ve ever had.
I’m a fan of Antje Babendererde, a German author who mainly writes novels for young adults set in Native American Reservations, ever since I’ve first read a novel of hers eight years ago. This April, I finally got the chance to meet her in person – in Gotha, where she grew up.
Because of some confusion and many fruitless phone calls beforehand (I was told it was a private lecture), I desperately wrote her an email to tell her that I’d be traveling for a couple of hours to see her and would be very happy if she let me in if the library staff caused problems.
I didn’t expect an answer and was hooked when I found her reply shortly afterwards. A good omen.
So I was in the public library at 10am, one hour too early, hoping that I could maybe catch a glimpse of her before the lecture starts since I knew she’d recognize me due to my hair colour. I nervously sat in the café, apparently alone.
I was minutes away from meeting one of my idols in person.
When she arrived shortly after 10.30am, it didn’t take long until she noticed me – well, there weren’t many people in the library and nobody had mint green hair and looked as exhilarated as me. She came over and we had a short conversation. I was thrilled, nervous and happy.
Casually she said she had another appointment that afternoon but that we could eat or drink something together prior to that if I wanted. I couldn’t really believe it and decided I’d wait until after the lecture to see if she was actually serious about it – I thought it was too good to be true!
The lecture started at eleven. The main audience was a class, beside the students were some individuals and me. Ironically I realised the lecture wasn’t private after all (the reason I wrote her and how she knew about me in the first place). Thankfully things turned out the way they did!
I’ll spare you the details of the lecture since what happened afterwards had a much bigger impact on me, because the invitation to lunch was not a joke.
The lunch was awesome! I’d be off to a Native American Reservation this year if I hadn’t already booked my flight to Singapore – something surprising since Singapore is really important to me. Talking to Antje made me realise that I could make one of my long-time dreams reality anytime I want – and thanks to her, I have some connections to facilitate it.
She told me a lot about life of an author with all its ups and downs and about her experiences in the Native American Reservations, giving me interesting background information about her novels, and told me some things of her personal life that made her real, down-to-earth and incredibly admirable.
It’s weird to realise that even your idols are human beings just like you and me.
We talked for two hours and I learned a lot from this experience. It was fantastic. I missed my train home by 30secs and had to wait another hour for the next one but didn’t really care because I was so thrilled.
I’ve rarely met a person who was so open, kind and generous. I was a random anonymous fan and she invited me to have lunch with her minutes after meeting me for the first time. It must have been my incredible charisma, haha.
This encounter inspired me in many ways. It especially encourages me to follow my dreams. Life has so many surprises to offer but nothing for those who sit around and wait.
None of that would have happened if I hadn’t decided to do what it takes to go there to see her. And none of that would have happened if she wasn’t a generous and caring person. I guess positivity is really attracting :)
Have you had any inspirational encounters? I’d love to hear your story!