It started with a one hour flight to Shanghai to stay with my good friend and former EnglishFirst Wenzhou teacher Matt for one night before leaving my Asian home of ten months for good. We celebrated my new book and his new job and talked late that night to catch up on everything. No surprise that we started again the next morning where we had left off. Matt and I need to get together more often to keep up to date.
The never-stopping workday
The next day, Tuesday, I flew from Shanghai to Los Angeles—an eleven and a half hour flight—on China Eastern Airlines. Nice, roomy seats that allow for stretching the legs. Imagine! I slept most of the way and woke only to eat in order to minimize my jet lag. Because I crossed the International Date Line I also arrived on the Tuesday, meaning I had two Tuesdays that week and felt pretty tired despite all my sleeping.
My first four days in L.A. were spent sleeping, resting, shopping and catching up with my cat’s human wife (don’t ask), Melanie, who once again graciously opened up her home to me. As the first official employee of our new company, Baby Boomers Traveling, she had the honor of attending the first employee meeting on the work she will be undertaking for us in the New Year.
Saturday was presentation day to about 75 high school kids who are part of the Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), a program of the University of Southern California that assists scholars make it to college. I showed them slides from Jacob and I’s world travels and talked about how important it is to have a dream, goals and options to succeed in life. That was followed by lunch with Kim, the program director, so that we could catch up after a five-year absence. NAI is the first philanthropic project to be adopted by Baby Boomers Traveling and will be supported through the donation of a percentage of our profits as well as the dissemination of information to potential volunteers and donors.
It’s not all about work
Finally, time to relax on Saturday night with cousins Audrey and Rich and get all the family gossip news. I was a happy guinea pig for Audrey’s wonderful brisket and we celebrated Chanukah—my first in many years—by lighting the menorah. The next day we joined in an annual tradition for them at a friend’s home where a latke (potato pancake)-making feast was held. Rich, a retired professional photographer, also took a series of portrait shots for me to use in my marketing materials. What do you think of his work?
Monday and Tuesday I was back to taking care of business dealing with paying health insurance, renewing our AARP membership, buying winter clothes for the east coast, packing my bags, yadda yadda yadda. Tuesday evening, thank goodness, another break—this time with friend Joan—where the talk never stopped and the catching up felt great.
Wednesday was another travel day: this time to Philadelphia. The evening began with a wonderful reunion with my sweetheart who had flown in from Wenzhou, China (with a cold) to join me at the author’s marketing conference. We also met up with many of my new author friends from the first of the three Quantum Leap conferences held in June and it felt like we’d known each other for much longer as we have so much in common.
The conference lasts for two days and we’ll then have the weekend together to explore Philly along with Cathie from Vancouver, B.C. and Claudia from Boise, Idaho. Jacob will return to Asia after the weekend to complete his contract while I return to my second adopted home of Guanajuato, Mexico for two months.
Whew! I’m tiring myself out all over again just telling you about all of this.
Look forÂ The Boomers’ Guide to Going Abroad toÂ Travel *Â Live *Â Give *Â Learn on sale here in hard copy and in electronic format in the New Year.
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