Most of my life has been spent outside of China, which makes explaining where I’m from a bit of a tricky question. Sometimes I explain that I’m from Chicago, which surprises colleagues because the division I’m working for now doesn’t have an Illinoisan presence; other times I say from Charleston, which doesn’t appease because “b-but you don’t look like a Charlestonian,” and other times I say from China, which is typically met with bewilderment because my English is unaccented. But of all the places I’ve lived for any longer time (i.e. excluding Seattle), it’s Chicago that still feels most comforting when I return. I was there for a high school reunion about two years ago, but a few weeks ago, in visiting a friend for a wedding in Wisconsin, I got to take a look around my old stomping grounds one more time. But first, the wedding, which took place in a quiet town about a half hour west of Milwaukee.
My vacation timing has been curious this year. I have averaged visiting Seattle once a year for the past five years, but with multiple projects consuming all my holiday weekends, I didn’t manage to head back to my favorite mountain this year. Instead, two weddings were timed miraculously to piggyback to two business trips I’ve had. The last wedding was in Singapore; this one was in Chicago.
The wedding was awesome. The last wedding of a university classmate I had attended was already a couple of years ago, so seeing so many friends back in one place was really special; it was a great time catching up with friends whom I hadn’t seen in years. Odd reality, working: it’s so easy to make friends in college. Once out, both keeping in touch with distant friends and finding the right situations to make new ones comes at a price.
After my extremely brief stay in Chicago I continued on to Germany, where I spent the next seven days working at my lead plant in the Allgäu. Like the last time I was there, I had incredible weather. I experienced the same this time: abundant sunshine, balmy temperatures (highs in the low 70s), and color sunrises every morning.
The difference was that this time, even before I left for Europe I knew I wanted to fly back.
Though lusting over leaving (LOL), I had no idea 2013 would be a travel year for me. Maybe it was because 2012 was so domestic; maybe it’s that I’ve finally realized that I need to go adventure rather than sit idly.
The main purpose of the trip I mentioned previously was business, but to it I coupled some vacation time. Ultimately, the package deal lasted three weeks and found me adjusting to two time zones, visiting three countries, flying with four airlines, and spending five days at an Indian wedding. Congratulations above all to Mark and Sharon and much appreciation for having the honor of being invited to such an awesome wedding!
The organizer in me had a chronology of photos and background text in mind, but somehow I deviated from the plan: I started with the wedding instead of finishing with it. Perhaps it’s because of all the things I saw, experienced, tasted, smelled, or did on this trip, this wedding was the most beautiful. I have never brought a camera to a wedding with the intent of capturing the sentiments there so I can only hope that these four pictures can come close to expressing the tremendous amount of joy and hospitality during those five days in Singapore.