Saturday, July 2, 2016

WE GET SCARS

Dear Spike,

It's too early to know for sure how bad the scar will be, but at least for now it looks like a pirate took a sword to my face.

And I like it. It suits me, I think.

That's not to say I'd keep it if I had the choice. I most certainly wouldn't. But I don't have a choice in the matter. Sometimes in life things happen that we cannot control. Sometimes we get scars.

Two of your mother's three sisters are cancer survivors. So is my father. So am I now, I suppose, although it feels like an exaggeration of magnificent proportions to say so. Basal cell carcinoma is cancer in the way that the eight-inch dwarf lanternshark is, in fact, an actual shark. It qualifies, but only just technically.

Regardless, this much is clear: You likely carry a genetic susceptibility to cancer that's a bit higher than other people. Genes aren't fate, though. Not usually, at least. Susceptibility and inevitability are two different things, and there are endless healthy things we can do to lower our risk.

Sunscreen, for instance. I didn't wear it much as a kid and, rather unwisely, didn't use it nearly as much as I should have as an adult. The result was a carcinoma on my face, and a little surgery on Thursday of this week to have it cut away.

We're pretty good about making sure you're wearing sunscreen, but you're approaching the part of your life where these sorts of things are going to become your on responsibility.

And sunscreen is just the start. The kinds of food you eat. The amount of water you drink. The kinds of work you do. The kinds of activities in which you engage. All of these things can affect the expression of your genes, for better or worse. And yes, there's good evidence that even people with higher susceptibility to diseases like cancer can significantly decrease to chances of getting it by making good choices about their personal health.

I don't want you to obsess. I simply want you to be aware of the things you can do to give yourself the best shot at a healthy life. You know, like wearing sunscreen.

After that, life will do what life does. That's just the way it goes. Sometimes we get scars.

May all your scars suit you.

Love,
dad













Saturday, June 11, 2016

A CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE

Dear Spike:

My heart is unexpectedly heavy for Cleveland tonight.

I'm not quite sure why. I don't recall ever visiting the Metropolis of the Western Reserve. As a matter of fact, I'm not even so sure I've ever been to Ohio at all.

But when I was just a few years older than you, and basking in a period of time in which it seemed Bay Area sports teams were simply destined for championships, I also came upon the realization that not every sports fan has it so easy — and that Cleveland fans, in particular, had been waiting a particularly long time for a championship parade.

I wouldn't have known this at all had it not been for two things.

First, my Babe Ruth Baseball team was called the Indians, and I spent just about every waking moment in my blue and red Chief Wahoo hat. It's actually quite embarrassing to recall, now, because the Cleveland Indians logo is really nothing short of a racial caricature, though at the time, having been told that some small fraction of some small fraction of my bloodline was Potawatomi, I mistakenly thought I was bearing some part of my heritage. Also, our team was quite good.

Second, the movie Major League came out, which was my first introduction to Charlie Sheen and Weslie Snipes (and also to such insults as "f**k wad" and "stick it up your f**king ass" — I'm still not sure why I was allowed to watch that movie.) The plot centered around the woebegone Indians and their villainous owner's attempts to move the city's baseball team to Miami. At the point that movie came out, no Cleveland team had won a championship in a quarter century.

Another quarter century has come and gone since then, and Cleveland's still waiting.

Last year seemed like it might be the year the curse would end. LeBron James, who started his career in Cleveland before taking his talents to Miami (where he won two NBA championships,) was back in the City the Rocks and the Cavs were up against a Golden State Warriors team that just about everyone seemed to think was not as good as its regular season record. With several Cav players injured, though, Cleveland fell in six games to the Warriors.

I'm not sure anyone outside of Cleveland thought the Cavs had a chance this year in what turns out to be a repeat of last year's series against a Warriors team that only got better, setting a regular season record with 73 wins and just nine losses. But hope springs eternal, and after falling hard in the first two games in Oakland, the Cavs dismantled the Dubs in Game 3.

Then tonight's happened. The Warriors dropped 17 three-pointers on the Cavaliers en route a 108-97 victory. And while the series certainly isn't over, no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.

Why am I telling you all of this? I suppose to set expectations.

You see, I never had to wait long for a local team to hoist a trophy. The year I started paying attention to professional sports, the Oakland A's had the best record in baseball and, although they were upset in the World Series by the dastardly Dodgers, they once against posted the best record in the show and returned to the series the following year. There, they defeated another Bay Area team, the Giants, in a year in which the San Francisco 49ers had the best record in football and destroyed the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

The following year, the 49ers did it again — the fourth of five Super Bowls that team won between 1983 and 1995. God Bless Joe Montana, Steve Young and especially Jerry Rice.

In 1991 the Bay Area got a hockey team. In 1996, we added a soccer team (your grandfather helped start that franchise — and I got to be there for the first game in Major League Soccer history.) It took a while for the Sharks to get good, but the Earthquakes won their first MLS Cup in 2001 and added another in 2003, God bless Landon Donovan.

In 2010, the Giants won the World Series. In 2012, they did it again. In 2014, they did it again. God bless Buster Posey, forever and ever, amen.

Then, last year, Stephen Curry and the Warriors destroyed everything we knew about basketball. And this year they destroyed what they had already destroyed. Meanwhile, the once hapless Sharks are playing for the Stanley Cup.

So then, back to expectations: This sort of stuff can happen in sports cities, but it usually doesn't. Your town usually doesn't go 50-plus years without a championship, and it usually doesn't win ring after ring after blessed ring, never waiting more than a few years from one to the next.

If you latch onto the teams around here, for instance, you'll likely be waiting a long time for a parade. The Utah Jazz have made two appearances in the NBA Finals (both losses, both long before you were born) and haven't gotten close since. Real Salt Lake won its one and only star in 2009 and, much as I'd love to say otherwise, putting a second star to the right is probably a dream worthy of Neverland.

Whatever happens to your teams will happen very much irrespective of anything you do. You can wear the hats and fly the flags and only wear your lucky bra on game days, but ultimately sports fandom is a lot like the rest of life. We don't deserve good teams or bad teams — we just sort of luck into them.

Take it, then, for what it's worth. Fandom is joy and pain, and usually more of the latter than the former. You'll know that going in, of course, but it won't really change anything.

And yet we do it anyway. Because there's always next season. A hope for a winning season. Of a run deep into the playoffs. Of a championship parade.

And hope is a beautiful thing.

Love,
dad

Friday, May 27, 2016

DECIDING FOR YOURSELF

Dear Spike,

Now you are nine.

People always say of children, "they grow up so fast," but I've never felt that way. Sure, I can remember many parts of the day you were born like it was yesterday, but it wasn't yesterday. It was nine amazing years ago and it feels to me like nine years should.

You're growing more independent. Walking by yourself to friends' homes to play. Getting ready on your own for soccer practice. Snowboarding solo on our great big mountain. Taking accountability for starting your own homework. Drawing your own baths. Deciding for yourself when to turn in for the night.

I suppose I should feel like I'm losing you. I don't at all. Much to the contrary — I feel like I'm gaining more of you. Every decision you make on your own is a part of you revealing yourself to the world. In this way, I'm getting to know who you really are.

And I like the person I'm meeting.

You are exceptionally kind. Generous. Polite. Thoughtful of others.

You are smart. Witty. Sarcastic. Funny.

You are athletic. Strong. Sometimes timid. A little bit shy.

You are both adventurous and cautious. You are both silly and serious. You are both easily distracted and very focused. You are both me and your mother.

But you are, more and more every day, you.

And I love you. I couldn't love you more. Not today, at least.

Tomorrow, though, is a different story. Somehow I'll love you even more then.

Happy birthday.

Love,
dad

Saturday, April 16, 2016

BY YOUR LONESOME

Dear Spike:

The timing could not have been more perfect.

On the morning of Jan. 31, you took your first solo snowboard ride. A few hours later, I smashed into an aspen tree, breaking my leg in too many places to count.

My season was over. Yours was not yet halfway through.

There were days, here and there, that you rode with others. The Campos family took you out a few times. My good friend Robert rode with you on another occasion. Your mother, brave woman she is, learned to downhill ski in no small part so that she could ride with you.

But for the most part you were on your own. I'd crutch over with you to the bottom of the lift, give you a hug, and you'd be on your way. Oh, the double takes you got from the lifties when you'd hop onto a chair all by your lonesome.

Of course I wish I had not broken my leg. Of course I wish I'd not had to deal with the pain and the limited mobility. Of course I wish I could have kept riding with you.

But what happened happened. And because it did, you got to make the mountain your own this season. And I figure that's a good thing, because we live in a world in which kids — and particularly only children like you, it seems — don't get as many chances to practice being independent as they probably need.

I'll be back next season. We'll ride together again. But I'll also understand when you tell me, now and then, that you'd just like to ride alone.

Sometimes that's the way it's supposed to be.

Love,
dad    

Saturday, February 13, 2016

OVER AND ABOVE


Dear Spike,

I'm not registered with a political party, and while I have the option of voting in the Democratic primary in our home state, I probably won't do so.

I suppose that makes what I am about to share with you a moot opinion, but I'd thought I'd share it with you anyway, because there is an increasingly heated debate going on among our progressive friends that I imagine you might someday want to understand.

At its best, this debate has been quite nuanced and interesting. At its worst it has been sexist and destructive. Either way, it's complicated, but it sort of comes down to this question: Is it wrong to vote for a woman because she is a woman?

You're just eight years old, but you already understand privilege quite well. You understand that our family, largely by virtue of historical factors that are far out of our control, has enjoyed practically unfathomable benefits of wealth, power, safety and stability. As you grow older, some of your friends who are in a similar socio-economic situation — and even some who are better off – might try to convince you that we're not as privileged as we could be or should be. That's unadulterated bologna. Historically speaking, we're practically royalty.
  
I'm a white, middle-class, college-educated man born to parents who taught me the value of hard work, esteemed education, and helped me understand that there is a difference between being entitled and feeling entitled. I've had a few opportunities to see that latter lesson played out in my life as I've occasionally sought to move from one job to another. I'm pretty sure, for instance, that I've lost out on a few opportunities here and there to minority and female candidates, and I'm very much at peace with that. It doesn't wash away my privilege to grant someone else an opportunity when all other things about us are practically equal. (And, of course, they're not equal, for I cannot possibly conceive of how much my own race and gender has contributed to the fortunes I've enjoyed in this world.)  
For all of these reasons, I have no qualms with the idea of Affirmative Action, which at its most basic simply states that when all other things are practically equal, the progressive move is to help the person who comes from a historically less privileged group.

And that brings me to the debate at hand: Should voters consider Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's gender when they decide whether to support her or Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States?

I know that not everybody see things this way, but when I look at Clinton and Sanders, I haven't yet seen one person who is a substantially better choice in every meaningful way to be the chief executive of our nation, the commander in chief of our military, and arguably the most powerful single human being on our planet.

Our country is in dire need of an honest chief executive — advantage, I suppose, to Sanders. Our nation is in dire need of someone with a deep and nuanced understanding of the international challenges we face — advantage, almost certainly in my mind, to Clinton. And yes, I'd like someone who can help reduce the influence of money in our political system. Advantage to Sanders for being a virtuous broker of that goal; advantage to Clinton for being someone who might actually be able to move the needle — since I'm not sure we can expect more, giving the political, legal and constitutional obstacles before us, than needle moving when it comes to this problem.

For me, all of that comes before gender even enters the mix. But I'm not sure it has to be that way.

For all of the good and all of the bad that President Barack Obama has done since his election, I believe the most substantial contribution he will make to our nation, over and above what I would have expected from any other Democratic president (or, quite frankly, from any president of either party) is that he was our nation's first black president. As I have written to you before, there will never be a time in your memory in which a black man had not been the leader of our nation. 

For all of the good and bad she will do while she is mayor of our city, I believe the most substantial contribution Jackie Biskupski will make, over and above the potholes and streetlights she will fix just like any other mayor would, is that she is the first gay mayor of Salt Lake City. You will never live in a world in which it is inconceivable that a lesbian could be the mayor of the capital of the most conservative state in our union.

It is therefore to me not inconceivable in any way that more good could come from having a woman in the Oval Office than bad could come from what she might do once she gets there, over and above what any president — man or woman, black or white, God-fearing or atheist, capitalist or socialist — will do.

Someday, perhaps, there will come a time when the power brokers in our country look less like me and more like you — and when they look less like us and more like the rest of our nation. And perhaps there will also come a time in which someone might distinguish themselves as so capable, so different, so uniquely qualified as to be a clearly better choice than anyone else. I know some people feel that they are seeing this in Sanders. By the same token, some people see this in the demagogue who is currently leading the national polls for the Republican nomination.          

For my part, I have never been and do not expect to ever be satisfied with a president, or with any politician for that matter. It greatly troubles me that we are so quick to elevate people — who are supposed to be putting themselves forward as potential public servants — as heroes and saviors. I don't see Clinton or Sanders as anything more than flawed human beings who each have potential to help and to harm the progress our nation is making, and whose future failures and successes cannot possibly be known, since the challenges they would face as president cannot possible be known.

And so, as to this debate, I suppose my answer is this: I would not see a vote for a woman because she is a woman as a vote against liberalism, progressivism or virtuous citizenship, let alone feminism. I would conclude it was righteous, reasonable and rational. I would conclude it was an affirmative action on behalf of a nation founded on the principle "that all men are created equal," and which still has a long way to go before realizing that all women are, too.

Love,
dad

Friday, February 5, 2016

A WORTHWHILE EXERCISE

Dear Spike:

It's 2:42 in the morning, and I'm up to my blood-shot eyeballs in papers from my students.

The next few weeks will be like this. Then a few things will happen. First, some of these students will drop out of my class. Next, those who remain will slowly start to improve. That will make things easier, but not easy. Teaching is never easy. Not good teaching, at least.

I don't have to work this way. It seems clear to me that there are plenty of teachers out there who have figured out how to do just enough to get by. I suppose they must get more sleep than I do, but I don't really understand what else they get out of that arrangement. Why teach if you're not going to teach?

You can do whatever you want in life, kid, but since both of your parents are teachers (and your grandmother, too) I suppose there's a decent chance that you might decide to try your hand at this teaching thing, too.

If you do, you'll almost certainly be expected to adopt a teaching philosophy. You will be tempted to brush over this. Please don't do that. Take it seriously.

I won't bore you with my whole treatise on teaching, but I'll share with you a few parts that are important to me.

• In all things, I set high standards in deference to my belief that we value most that which we have worked hardest to achieve.

• There is no perfect approach to teaching... our diverse and dynamic culture demands that even the most excellent educators must shift their thinking and approaches from time to time, and even from student to student.

• I believe in the power of education. 

• I am very fortunate to have been given the honor of helping my students become better thinkers, communicators, citizens and storytellers.

Over the years, I coupled my teaching philosophy with my creed — a simple statement of personal beliefs that help guide my actions from day to day, and which I began developing as a sophomore in high school and which I'm still working on today.

I doubt anyone will ever ask you to develop a creed, but it's a worthwhile exercise. 

Here's mine: I will work harder today than I did yesterday; I will care more today than I did yesterday; I will be more passionate today than I was yesterday.

I don't know if these are the best rules to teach by and live by, but they work for me. Whether you teach or not, I hope you'll recognize the beauty and benefit of having some personal rules that guide your journey in life and which you reflect upon from time to time.

Love,
dad

Sunday, January 31, 2016

YOU FLEW AWAY

Dear Spike:

It’s 3,182 feet from base to summit on Apex Express, but you might as well have been on your way to Planet Nine.

We’ve been getting ready for this day for quite some time. For nearly six years, really — that’s how long it’s been since you first stepped onto a snowboard. I remember that day as if it was this morning — it was not my finest hour — but I could not have imagined then the mixture of pride and anguish I would feel today when you slid onto a chairlift all by yourself for the very first time.

But it was time. We are exceptionally fortunate to have a home that is about 75 meters away from the nearest lift. From where I sit right now, in fact, sipping hot chocolate next to a fire in our living room, I can watch lift chair after lift chair, filled with skiers and boarders, ascending Apex. This ski resort is, quite literally, right in your backyard, and it is right for you to be able to explore your backyard. You are eight years old, after all, and that is what eight year olds do.

We’ve shredded this run together 100 times, maybe more. You’re a black diamond boarder and this is a blue square run at best. You are more comfortable and confident on a snowboard than most adults are on their own two feet. This is part of who you are.

And you were ready. We took a run together this morning and then I asked: “Want to do it by yourself?” You didn’t hesitate. You were moving toward the lift before you’d even finished saying “yes.”

Then you were on your way. You popped onto a chair, all by your lonesome, and didn’t look back at me even once.

I watched you as you flew away, remembering with certain horror all of the things I meant to tell you before you did this all by yourself, remembering with great remorse that I had forgotten to give you a mobile phone, remembering all the times that you’ve taken a tumble, been knocked head over heels by heedless boarders and skiers two times and three times and four times your size.

And then, remembering what it felt like to watch you take your first steps, releasing you from my arms into the great big world. It was five feet from me to your mother on that day in the carpeted hallway of our home, but you might as well have been on your way to Pluto.

I waited. And waited. And as I waited I thought of all the other times I’ve let you go, in literal and figurative ways, and all the times that are on their way, just beyond the bend.

And then, over the bend, on the top of Main Street, you appeared, unmistakable in your trademark purple jacket and pink pants. You typically stop and take a short break there, but you did not rest. You flew over the precipice, cutting perfect S-turns down the middle of the mountain before tucking in and locking down on a perfect vector, gaining speed the way you always do when you’re on your way home.

I readied myself to receive you. To have you slide right into my arms. To lift you up and hug you and tell you how proud I am of you. But you flew past me with a perfect little salute.

You might as well have been on your way to a planet we have yet to discover, in some far flung reach of our galaxy where no one’s ever been before or ever even thought to look.

And that is fine. I lifted my goggles and wiped a tear from my eye and I knew. That is how it’s supposed to be.

Love,

dad

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IN OUR CITY

Dear Spike:

Today will come and go for you like any other.

The sun has not imploded. Gravity has not been upended. The sky is still the sky and the land is still the land and the sea is still the sea.

Today is just another day for you. And, in the very grand scheme of things, for all of us.

I wrote these same words to you seven years ago when a black man was elected as our president. On that day I was not celebrating President Obama's election so much as the fact that you would never know a world in which a black man could not be our president.

Today, I write these words to you on a day in which an openly gay woman has been elected mayor. And again today I am not celebrating the election of Mayor Biskupski so much as the fact that you will never know a world in which a gay person can not be the mayor.

The mayor of Salt Lake City.

The remarkable thing about this is how unremarkable it feels. Your mother and I had heard many things about this city when we first came here. We heard many silly things and some scary things. None of it was true.

But people all around the world still think these things about this city. And so today, if it is nothing else, is a day in which we got to tell the world one more time that we are not what so many people think of us.

We almost didn't have this opportunity. It was a close election. Hard fought. The candidates bickered over parking meters and bike lanes and management styles and personnel decisions. In other words, they fought over the things mayoral candidates should fight over.

Someday you will come to know that there was a time, not so very long ago in our city's history, in which this simply could not have been. You will come to know that there was a time in which this city's residents would not have permitted a woman who happens to be attracted to other women to teach our children or manage our libraries, let alone run our city.

At some point, though, the vast majority of us grew out of that sort of hate. We realized it was really quite ridiculous. We recognized that you really don't have to look a certain way or act a certain way or love a certain way in order to worry about things like parking meters and bike lanes. We realized that public service isn't rocket science and, even if it was, you really don't have to look a certain way or act a certain way or love a certain way to do rocket science, either.

But I told you seven years ago, as I will tell you now, that there is still so much work to be done.

There are many places in our world where what happened today in Salt Lake City still could not happen. There is still so much hate. There is still so much 
ridiculousness.  

Do not be dismayed, for the world can change.

Yes, even in Salt Lake City. 

Love,
dad

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

HALF A BRAIN

Dear Spike:

I don't usually think much about the lyrics in the songs we listen to on the radio. I don't usually have to.

We generally tune in to pretty tame stuff. 1960s and 70s rock. Elton John and Neil Diamond. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. The Beatles, Beach Boys and Monkees.

I know that doesn't say much for our musical sophistication, but that's perhaps a discussion for another day. The point I mean to make today is we don't usually have to worry too much about explaining to you lyrics with adult words or subjects.

Then, today, The Piña Colada Song came on. Technically, I suppose, it's called "Escape," but the lyric that everyone remembers is "if you like piña coladas..."

That, of course, is followed by, "... and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga. If you have half a brain.
If you like making love at midnight..."

"Eeeeeewwwwww!" you shrieked. "Daddy! Did you hear what he said?"

So many things went through my mind in that moment.

How did you know what making love was? Who told you? What did they tell you? How much of what they told you was correct? What was the context for this discussion? Was it a kid who told you or an adult? If it was a kid was I going to have to have a conversation with his or her parents? If it was an adult... what the hell?

OK, I thought, this is not the worst thing in the world. We were going to have to have this conversation anyway. She's eight years old now. That's plenty old enough to have the good old birds and bees talk. Except there's no way we're actually going to talk about birds and bees. We're just going to get her mom in here and sort of lay down the facts of life. Nothing to it. Just play it cool. Ease into it...

"Oh yeah," I said cooly. "That's kind of a naughty thing to sing a song about, huh?"

As soon as I said "naughty" I regretted my words.

You stupid jerk, I told myself. You don't want her first conversation with you about sex to start with the idea that it's something naughty! You're going to have to walk that back. Explain to her that you misspoke. Tell her that no, in fact, making love is not a naughty thing. It's not something for children, of course, but that doesn't make it naughty. Yeah. That'll work. But wait... maybe she didn't notice. No, of course she noticed. If she's astute enough to hear that lyric then she certainly understands that you just said it was naughty. OK, maybe just wait a moment and see how she responds...    

"I know!" you said. "Making out at midnight! That's so gross!"

And this ends the story of the first conversation we ever had about sex, but didn't.

Love,
dad

Friday, July 10, 2015

A BIG ADVENTURE

Dear Spike:

We've been back on our home continent for several days now, and back in our own home for two, but we're all still having trouble adjusting to our home time zone.

Such is life for global travelers, and you are most certainly a global traveler.

We started our adventure in Salt Lake City back in mid-June. We flew to San Francisco, then South Korea. Originally we'd planned an afternoon layover there — just enough time to get into Inchon for a bite to eat — but the airline had other plans for us. We had just enough time to get through security and onto our next flight. That was unfortunate — I would have loved to introduce you to South Korea and help you add a stamp to your passport. Still, there's time. If you'd like to go there someday, you can.

We were in Beijing a few hours later. The rain had beaten us to the capital and left behind a beautiful blue sky. You probably don't realize what a rare treat that was. Trust me: It was.

The next morning we were on a flight to Nanning. From there it was a five-hour drive to our final destination: a small village in a tiny valley flanked on either side by pyramid-shaped mountains, greener than I could possibly describe. The village, called Bapan, has come to be known in China as The Longevity Village.

By the end of this summer, I'll have finished co-writing a book on this remarkable place, which has one of the largest populations of centenarians anywhere in the world. That's what brought me there, but not what brought you and your mother there.

You were simply there to have an adventure.

And you did.

Hiking over a rickety foot bridge. Swimming in the waters of a perfect mountain spring. Touring the countryside in the back of a motocab. Wandering among the stalactites and stalagmites of the endless local limestone caves.

Eating wonderful food. Meeting amazing people.

You made friends with some local children. They taught you a new song. You taught them to play hopscotch.

You went on morning hikes with your mother and worked your charm on the local villagers.

Your Mandarin wasn't perfect, and you were much more timid about bringing it out than you were when we last visited China, four years ago. Still you hailed our cabs and ordered our food and bought our tickets and bargained with shopkeepers. You done good, kid, and we'll keep working to get you more comfortable with this very challenging language.

To what end? Maybe none at all, quite frankly. Mastery of a second or third language used to really mean something. Today we are perhaps a few years, if that, from portable and affordable simultaneous translating technology. Still, there is glory in learning anything and beauty in learning a language, in particular. And, as your mother notes so often, "more languages means more friends."

We're lucky to have the means to offer you experiences like this. We're lucky, too, to have such a great traveling companion. At times you were exhausted. At times you were uncomfortable. At times you were scared. At times you missed our home. At times you looked down upon a plate of food set before you and wondered what it was.

Not once did you complain. Not once did you whine. Not once did you refuse to eat something. Not once did you ask for something else. Not once did you argue. Not once did you make me wonder whether it was a good idea to bring an eight-year-old girl along on such a big adventure. Of course it was a good idea.

You did wander off at one point. You were with some other children and couldn't find us to ask whether you could follow them where they were going, so you simply decided to go. You were spoken to sternly. You cried and apologized profusely. You didn't try to deflect blame. You accepted responsibility. That was absolutely the worst of it. In all other times, in all other situations, in all other ways you were an absolute joy to travel with.

All of which tells me that we'll quite likely get do this again.

Maybe back in China. Maybe Ethiopia. Maybe Ecuador. Maybe Cambodia. Or heck, maybe we'll finally get out of the airport in South Korea.

Where will we go next? Who can say? Such is life for global travelers.

And you are most certainly a global traveler.
   
Love,
dad