A year ago, our family was in the midst of a round-the-world adventure that took us to six continents. We experienced wonderful places along the way and, most of all, developed relationships with cherished friends across the globe. Now, we have returned home to the United States, and we are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. As we give thanks this year, we think of the beloved friends we made and the connections we continue to feel to these people and places.
During the past several days, events have occurred in two countries to which we feel especially connected: France and Myanmar.
In France, terrorists attacked people gathered in Paris to enjoy sporting, dining, and cultural events. We felt connected immediately because we remembered walking Parisian streets to our apartment. We thought of the cafe on the corner and the people we saw gathered there sharing coffee, wine, and conversation.
We were in Paris during the Charlie Hebdo shootings, and seeing the recent scenes on television reminded us of the heavy police presence in January. And our thoughts went to our friends in France, Heather and Vic. Although St. Pois, their village in Normandy, is far removed from Paris and St. Denis, we wonder how shaken they are by the attacks and reverberations across the country.
On a brighter note, we have felt intensely connected to Myanmar following the historic elections that saw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy win a sweeping victory. We have thought of our dear friends with whom we have shared laughs and tears. We have thought of hugs and hopes shared in their homes. And we have rejoiced to receive reports from them during the past few days.
A friend from Myanmar shared these words:
Breaking News: “The Winner is…. NLD!!!”
Just now at noon, according to UEC’s announcement of the winning seats in both lower and upper house, NLD has won 348 seats, far more that it needs to form a new government 329. Incredible! Surely, it will be more when the counting is over, hopefully, in a few days’ time. It’s so exciting! Please continue to keep an eye on our country and make sure that you and your respective democratic governments would continue to support us as we have to build Myanmar’s future toward restoration, reconciliation and democracy without any violence. We do hope, pray and work so that genuine peace and justice would prevail, human rights and human dignity would be honored and flourish, prosperity would come to exist and all kinds of fear would disappear when the new and clean government and good governance started to take place.
Travel has connected my family and me to people and places far away from our home. Despite the miles, on this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for deep connections that remain. And although we are apart, somehow we are very much related.
I am thankful, indeed.