He had come to the US in 1975 from Vietnam at the age of 9. His family was fleeing the country and they ended up in Fresno of all places. His father was a business man and his mother was a school teacher and yet in 1975 the assumption was that they were uneducated refugees. His father became a janitor and his mother worked at a factory in assembly. And their hard work made it possible for their children to go to college and have a good life in the US.
I am a believer that life is constantly giving me gifts. Even when I least expect it “poof” there they are. My favorite gifts are meeting new people that reach my heart and make my life better by just existing. I want to share some of those gifts that I recently received.
I had cellulitis in my leg for over 2 weeks in early October. It was truly one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life. And yet, I got gifts.
One gift was that I got closer to an old friend who kindly became my chauffeur for most of my doctor visits. I could not have gotten through all of this without her. And she was only one of many friends who stepped up to help.
Another gift was I got to meet a man who changed the lives of many. My Infectious Disease Doctor turned out to be the doctor who took care of the first HIV patient in Seattle in the early 80’s. He and his cohorts were responsible for making sure that all patients were cared for and none were turned away (which sadly was the norm during the early days of HIV). I was honored to meet him and to actually have a conversation with him about his incredible journey.
This past weekend I was a presenter in Victoria BC at a kinky conference. I always get gifts at conferences. Meeting new people, exploring new places and having conversations that change lives. I want to make a difference in this world and one of the gifts I got this past weekend was watching the faces of attendees to my workshops really get what I was talking about when it came to polyamory and jealousy. Twice I had people tear up and tell me later that what I said changed their lives. That is why I teach. I also connected with an amazing couple who I hope to deepen the connection even more.
However, the biggest gift was on the ride home on the Clipper ferry. I sat at table with 5 other people. Three of them were a family from California. In the almost three hour trip we talked about a lot of things. When we got to politics was when the conversation got deep. We talked about our fears of a Trump presidency and what it could mean to us. That was when they shared their stories of how they came to America.
The wife came to the US from Vietnam at 17 in the early 80’s She was one of the boat people. Her family put her on a boat filled with other refugees and she sailed away, not knowing if she’d ever see any of them again. Many of the boat people never reached US soil. Many of the women were kidnapped and raped and killed by Thai pirates and others. She was a lucky one.
This couple and their daughter were so full of life and love and happiness. It was amazing and I was privileged to be able to spend time talking to them.
They touched my heart and made a difference by just being who they were.
I love the gifts that come out of nowhere.