I agreed to come to the University and didn’t really think much of it at the time. I suppose that I had an idea that I would attend lunch with a dozen students or so. I had no idea that I would be standing in front of a class of 30 or 40 students telling them my life story. It was a fun surprise, one that I didn’t mind in the least as I have much experience speaking in front of crowds. However, I was really quite flattered at all of the attention that I received after I met class after class of students who seemed very interested not only in my life, but also to learn more about my travels, about America, and especially about Los Angeles. Many of the students wanted to know about “regular life” in America. As most of you, my friends and family, can attest, my life is far from the “regular.” I tried my best to include you and your lives when I gave the class explanations about life in California, Texas, Washington, and how it was to visit New York.
I was not sure how to explain to these University students about my life. Most Americans I meet also think that my lifestyle is unusual in that I seem to go from one vacation to the next, travelling around the world again and again. It seems common to me as I have many friends that travel for months on end around the world. However, it seems to be a small peer group and I have met all of them while on journeys around our world.
Either way, they seemed pleased to have a foreigner as a visitor in their class and I was certainly pleased to get so much attention. Some of my stories, especially the Rene Ross “accident” in the airplane story seemed to be a big hit as it has been with my nieces and nephews. For those of you that have heard it, you know what I’m talking about… I am sure that if I ever write a book, Rene Ross will be one chapter. A question from one student prompted me to remember a story about a French man who I travelled with on a train some years ago. This man, Jean de Pange, who was a Veteran of World War II and a hero to France and against the Nazis, will always stand out in my memories as a unique man who I was fortunate enough to know because of chance and because I took the time to do a good deed for another person. Starting this blog is encouraging me to remember some of these travel stories and to add them to this site. I will resolve to add an “old” or “archive” story for each “new” story that I post. Perhaps in a few years I will be able to recount some of these memorable moments so that Mom can experience them from afar…
I can honestly say, that of all of my memories after visiting 64 countries, surviving a war and learning to fly an airplane, my visit to Yoshkar Ola stands out as a highlight in my life and gave me memories that I will not soon forget.
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