Day 58: Summer

Are you enjoying the Olympics?


I am enjoying catching bits and pieces here and there. My favorite sports to watch are gymnastics and beach volleyball and swimming.

What are your favorite events?

I felt so bad for the Dutch woman who crashed on her bike today and felt so proud of her Dutch colleague who won first place. It must have been bittersweet!  And the poor American woman who was so close to gold and lost in the fina moments. There was the yin and yang between the agony of defeat and the triumph of victory. 

I am amazed by the dedication and determination and focus of the athletes and am enjoying watching them perform, especially the Americans!! Go USA!!!

It’s been another great day to be on Staycation and enjoying the Olympics from my living room.

Life is good.

Free to BE You and Me

 It’s Memorial Day and I am married to a veteran.  We take the time to reflect and remember that our freedom to BE is a gift from those families who chose to sacrifice and give of themselves and we are grateful. 

Today we celebrated with veterans in Santa Clara and smiled at Denny and his wife Marilynne who shared stories with us as we admired their courage and history in serving our country.  I loved this moment and loved their hugs and kisses. There was an instant connection through our gratitude and recognition of their service and I was touched by our spontaneous interaction.  I wanted to hear more of their story. Denny teased me and handed me his biography. He was decorated with several honorable medals, including a Purple Heart and a Navy Cross. He was a true gentleman and I admired his pride and character.

   
     

We are thankful for our veterans and their families, especially PopPop and MamMam, Algin Hughes and Elaine Hughes.

Life is good and we thank you, veterans. xoxo

Red, White, and Blue

I keep getting asked if I am happy to be home, or if I wish I was still living overseas. This is a complicated question and there isn’t an easy answer. Overall, I say yes, I am happy to be home again in the United States, and more especially California, but I miss several aspects of the European, expat lifestyle as well.

I miss the friendships the most and the slower pace of life. I miss our travel around the world, exploring new lands and cultures and living in Holland and exploring and adapting to the local way of life the best I could.

Being away also made me appreciate all that is good in America. Sometimes the media makes it sound like America is broken, but I don’t believe all of it. For some reason, it seems normal to talk about all the negativity and I don’t understand that. I would like to see and share more stories about why America is great and why so many immigrants want to become citizens of this great country and all that it offers.

This morning there was an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that made me appreciate living here and proud to be an American. I am also thankful and proud to have European roots. They are not mutually exclusive. I just think its time to change the conversation and focus on what’s good again in the USA, and celebrate our roots too.

The WSJ article, “Why I Chose the Red, White and Blue,” by Philip Delves Broughton, mentions receiving a certificate of naturalization from President Obama after being sworn in as a citizen. It says, “Since our founding, generations of immigrants have come to this country full of hope for a brighter future, and they have made sacrifices in order to pass that legacy on to their children and grandchildren. This is the price and promise of citizenship. You are now part of this precious history, and you serve as an inspiration to those who will come after you.”

I believe this is a good reminder for all of us living here. We are part of the experience and creating history. We have a duty to one another to continue to do great things and to continue to make our country amazing. That comes from being of service, helping one another and working hard, doing the right thing. It also comes from being able to vote and to have a say in what we believe. There are so many things we do well and enjoy on this great land, like watching football games and bonding with our like minded friends who dress in the same team colors and root for the same team.

These are a few things that create happiness. I am happy to be home (and still miss Holland.)

Life is good.

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September 11th

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A moment of silence.

What 9-11 represents is a huge loss, the birth of fear, and a hole of emptiness. It also represents great sadness and our vulnerability to unexpected happenings that change our lives. And through the devastation, we also experienced grace and love, community and strength, hope and charity. The greatest of these is love.

Peace and light.

Namaste.

Day 203: Global Village

Do you feel like you are part of a village? Do you look after your friends and neighbors and help one another and celebrate each other? I always say the expression, “It takes a village.” And today I felt like I belonged and was thankful for our diverse village.

At our international school, we celebrated Global Village Day. This is a day for celebrating the cultural diversity of our school. There was entertainment, a parade of nations, and “villages” set up by the parents of each community to help the younger children learn about some of the various traditions and foods and activities from each group.

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The United States of America created a large village with multiple booths and was well-received. We had surfing from California, flower lei making from Hawaii, camping in the woods, baseball throwing, football throwing, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, fair- like games, arm tattoos, flag making, butter making, etc.

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Jen and I ran the California Surfing photo booth. We had a lot of fun with the kids, teaching them to hang 10, and to squat down low to catch a wave. They were smiling and laughing and gathering friends to take pics together. The day was a lot of work, but it sure was worth it to see their happy faces.

I took a break to check out the other villages and loved how much fun the adults and kids were having in Africa, Australia, South America, India, Japan, and France to just name a few.

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One group that made me think was the Global Citizens group. What I’ve recently learned is that, some expat children don’t relate to one specific country. Teachers should not ask kids where they are from, because sometimes that can be stressful to them when they are not really from one home town. I can understand that.

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Today I felt like a global citizen. I cheered for Holland and Italy and USA and all the countries with only one or two students representing their home towns. I chatted with the Caucasian mom next to me observing the parade, who cheered for Japan, saying that her baby was born there. She was from Germany and her husband was from France. She speaks German to her baby at home and her husband speaks French, and their friends speak English to the baby, who will be starting school at a local Dutch school in the next couple of years!

I missed home and our own International Night and potluck dinner, celebrating the 26 different languages spoken in our little Silicon Valley school. And I appreciated being where I was, in my new global village with my new friends, while my husband and April and Steve were in Germany for the day exploring Dusseldorf. Life is amazing…. exploring, learning and sharing, playing and laughing in our small world, together!

Namaste.

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