Ti Ti’s Surprising Email
To Her Grandfather

Let me set the stage. Several weeks ago, Ti Ti emailed me about being selected for Gusto University’s robot club. She was excited, especially because she was the first female in the club. I responded like any loving grandfather would, with praise for her success. I also mentioned I was writing a couple of essays about AI and robots, and she could send me some pictures or videos of the club’s projects.

Ti Ti is a part of my Microsoft family plan and has access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. However, Microsoft was limiting her access and asked me to look into it. Then she added cryptically, “Oh! And I have something surprising to tell you. I’ll tell you in the next email because I need to choose the best words for that. 😉”

The problem was resolved, and all was well as I waited impatiently for Ti Ti’s surprising email. A day passed and another and another. Finally, Ti Ti’s email arrived.

Dear Papa Al,

I hope this email finds you in great health and high spirits. I wanted to share some exciting news with you and catch up on everything happening in my life.

First and foremost, I have some thrilling news to share – I have my very first boyfriend! His name is Aung Htin Shar, and he’s an amazing person. I’ve attached some pictures of us together so you can put a face to the name. 😊 We’ve been dating for a little while now, and it’s been such a wonderful experience getting to know him and sharing moments together.

Speaking of new chapters, I’ve been doing well here in Yangon. University life is both challenging and exciting. While I’ve been enjoying my time here, I have to admit that assignments and studies have been quite demanding. However, I remember your words of encouragement about perseverance and hard work, and they continue to inspire me through every hurdle.

I’m learning so much everyday, and the experiences I’m gaining here are invaluable. The cultural diversity, the friendships I’ve made, and the knowledge I’m acquiring make all the hard work worthwhile. Your belief in me has always been a source of motivation, and I strive to make you proud in all that I do.

I hope you’re doing well, Papa Al, and that life is treating you kindly. I can’t wait to hear from you and catch up further. Please let me know how you’re doing and if there’s anything exciting happening on your end.

Sending you lots of love and warm hugs from Yangon,


Ti Ti

I was happy and overjoyed. I opened the attached photos of Aung and Ti Ti.

Ti Ti and her Boyfriend

Ti Ti and her Boyfriend

Ti Ti and her Boyfriend

Ti Ti and her Boyfriend

Ti Ti and her Boyfriend

I replied to Ti Ti and told her I was delighted to hear about her boyfriend. However, I wrote to her that I needed to talk to Aung, preferably at my place in Crown Point. If he responds to a lengthy litany of questions with the correct answers, Ti Ti will be allowed to date my granddaughter if it takes place in the States. I also inquired whether Ti Ti’s parents knew about her dating.

After I attempted to be funny, I told Ti Ti about when we first met a decade ago. Her mother was my tour guide in the area around Inle Lake. We stopped at their home so her mother could pick up my itinerary after leaving Inle Lake. Ti Ti, who was nine, was home on winter break. She greeted me with this statement, “Hi, my name is Ti Ti. Do you want to play some games?” We played Scrabble on their living room floor. That event resulted in my discovering a part of my family. Her parents are my children, and Ti Ti and her younger sisters are my granddaughters. We are family. When Ti Ti is happy and excited, I feel contentment and am filled with sheer joy. I am sure Ti Ti is excited but isn’t as delighted as I am. In my email, I told her to wait until she is a grandmother. At that moment, she will know how I feel.