Serendipitous Moments in My Life
And They Are Haunting Me

Anyone that has read even a couple of my essays knows that I am haunted about things. However, this essay isn’t about being haunted by ghouls or goblins on Halloween. I am rather haunted by things about which I can’t explain. These hauntings are personal events. I mentioned, in the previous article, about Ginger turning two this week.

Irish Setters require a great deal of exercise per day. Ginger and I circumnavigate the lake that we live on, which takes an hour first thing in the morning. At noon and before dinnertime, we play Chuckit or soccer for about a half hour each time. If I had another hour or two, Ginger would want to just go out and run. I can handle two hours per day of exercise, and my cardiologist is pleased with my exercise regimen. Nevertheless, what are the chances of me, a decade from now, rolling out of bed saying, “Ginger, do you want to go around the lake?”

Now, I have written about meeting Ti Ti many times, and each time I write about it, I am haunted. Her mother, Moh Moh, was a tour guide of mine when I was visiting Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma). Moh Moh was apologetic about having to pick up some papers about where I was going after leaving Inle Lake. She said that she had to stop for ten minutes at her home to get my itinerary. Interestingly, in the same sentence, she said that I could meet Ti Ti, her 9-year old daughter.

Ti Ti was home due to winter break from school. I left their home after playing Scrabble for about an hour knowing that she was my granddaughter. While at Inle Lake, I met Ko Ko, her father and her two younger sisters.

Four years later, I returned to Myanmar and spent time with my family. However, during my hiatuses, Ti Ti and I wrote about all sorts of things like writing poetry, being a magician, her studies, and what she wanted to do professionally when she grows up.

During my winter break last December, I returned to see my family. It was the best time of my life. However, I needed to go back to the States and resume teaching. In the past year since being with Ti Ti and her family, we write to each other about all sorts of issues. She is working on my photos that I recently took in Myanmar. She will be studying web design as she assists me with my website.

Since returning home, Ti Ti and I write each other about what is happening in our lives. This is a reply to one of Ti Ti’s emails.

Ti Ti,

I took Ginger for a walk around the lake, cleaned up the house, and sat down to teach my online classes.  However, before I did, I opened my emails.  You can’t imagine how excited I was to see your email. 

You are a very special young lady.  Your mother sent a handful of photos of you working on my photos.  You are beautiful, caring, intelligent, and sweet.  Interestingly, I had a Rod Stewart song playing in the background.  It was the one on his link on my website: 

Do you realize that song is about you, Snow, and Fatty?  However, it all started with you nearly five years ago in the living room of your old home.  It is interesting to me, at my age, how critical our relationship is.  I love my children and grandchildren here in the States, but you are different and unique.  

Years from now when you think of PaPa Al, remember how much joy you gave me.  I know that you will be successful in anything that you attempt.  Why?  Because you are driven, motivated, and determined.  I love you, your sisters, and your parents.  We are family.   And it all started while playing Scrabble. 


PaPa Al

I read that email after cutting and pasting it to this essay, and just sat there crying due to missing Ti Ti and her family. However, I am a very lucky person to have met my family in a very serendipitous moment.

This next part of my essay deals with Rod Stewart. I have written about one of my all-time favorite songs by him, Forever Young. I wanted to write about thinking about my failed relationships while listening to that song. His words described how I felt about my failed attempts. In that essay, I recounted accompanying him as we sang while I was driving. When I got home, I googled “Rod Stewart Forever Young” and watched the official video. I was surprised; it wasn’t about two lovers breaking up and going in separate directions. It was about a guy and a young child. Thus, it was another serendipitous moment. Stewart was singing about my relationship with my children and my grandchildren all of whom live in the States. Obviously, I love them, but the song really resonated with me due to my relationship initially with Ti Ti and then her two younger sisters along with their parents.

As I sat and watched the video of Forever Young again and again, I was haunted again. Why was I so emotionally tied to my three granddaughters and parents in Myanmar? It didn’t take long to realize that my children have been around for decades. One of my grandchildren is in her 20s and the other two have been around for nearly a decade. My American family has been around for much longer in my life than my family in Myanmar. I have a long history of shared times with each of them. I’ve only been present with my Myanmar family for a matter of a couple of weeks. And besides, they live a half a world away from me. It takes nearly 24 hours to fly from the States to some Asian airport and then onto Myanmar. Nonetheless, they are family.

Interestingly, another serendipitous moment occurred when I gave my laptop to Ti Ti before I returned to my home last year. I need a much larger screen than a laptop. In fact, I have two monitors for my desktop computer and want even another screen. My only need for a laptop was as a storage device for my photos and videos. Therefore, Ti Ti could use it for her studies.

However, it wasn’t long before I realized that most of the students, with whom she attends school, don’t have laptops. Her classmates are also my extended family. That serendipitous moment was the genesis of We Are Family in Myanmar. So, giving Ti Ti a laptop morphed into giving the two schools that my granddaughter attend laptops for 1250 students. I am haunted by serendipitous moments in my life. Additionally, I am reminded that it is in giving that we get.