As I grow another year old … I look back on my life and realize that I have experienced a lot of happiness, sadness, moments of grandure and moments of poverty.   I have learned lessons and gained advice in places I never thought i would and from people I never thought  would help.   I have learned about myself, my family and my friends.

But I think the most important thing I have learned is to be true and honest to myself.   You never know what life is going to hand you and you never know what challenges you will have to face.   Life is like an adventure movie… however, you can control in which direction it flows by what choices you make.

4 years ago… I made the choice to leave behind my family, my kids and my friends..basically my life… in America to move to China.  I didn’t know what would happen and I didn’t know if I would even last.  But I made the choice to change the direction of my personal adventure.  At times I feel like it was one of the largest mistakes I ever made… those times are when I miss my kids, my family and my dearest closest friends. the times when Chinese culture and American culture clash in my mind.. and the people of the nation rub my nerves raw to the brink of losing my mind. There are times when I cannot stomach one more noodle or one more bowl of rice.  Times when the staring and pointing makes me want to stab someone in the head… and times when the idea of planning and organizing doesn’t exist and all I see is confusion in their almond-shaped eyes.

But then there are times … when I feel that this was the perfect move for me.   There are some times when I feel that China can become my new home if I let it.  There are some times… when people reach out a kind hand to me or give me some kind words and remind me that the world can be a peaceful place.  There are times when people laugh and give me the warmth of acceptance and friendship.  There are times when I realize that I am in a place that few people have seen and the ancient wonders that surround me are vast and awe-inspiring.  There are some times  when I realize I have met people from all over the world and I never would have met if I had stayed in America.

2 years ago… I made the choice to marry my husband.  despite all the naysayers telling me that he wasn’t rich enough, wasn’t old enough and wasn’t tall enough..or even American enough.  despite the negativity about whether our marriage would work or not… I followed my own choice and heart and married Michael.   Although, we have our rough moments and difficult times….(which are mostly influenced by China’s societal group think) … we have overcome a lot of hurdles.   We have proven that … to be a couple and to marry .. you really don’t need so many things… you only need… trust, committment and love.   If you have this you can achieve anything.

So.. as I reach a step closer to the half way point of my life, I want use this birthday wish of health, prosperity, and happiness to everyone that has become a part of my life.  To everyone that as accepted me, as I am; with my choices in life and my freedom of thoughts and my directness of tongue.   I will always be true to myself…. and honest with all those around me.

To the people I love… I will love you forever… and i will always be apart of your life… even after death.

Thank you everyone for the most remember-able birthday gift…. the gift of acceptance.