Pi Wen grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I grew up in the Midwest with Appalachian and Southern roots.More divergent origins are hard to imagine.
By now we've traveled to Malaysia three times together--first for our wedding banquet in November 2010, for Chinese New Year in 2012, and just this year while Pi Wen was on spring break from teaching. Two of these trips have included excursions to Singapore, where Pi Wen attended college and worked for a few years before moving to the United States.
The next trip to Malaysia will likely be next summer, and I am hoping we make it to the less-traveled eastern provinces of Sabah and Sarawak.
We've also been to Phoenix, Arizona several times, as this is where Mom, Bob and Jeremy are. The first time was in August 2010, the week before my new job began at Samuel Merritt and a few weeks before we were engaged. In 2011 we went for Christmas/New Year, last year for Thanksgiving. Just as with Malaysia, this is an annual trip.
Less common: trips to central Ohio, where I grew up. Many members of my extended family are still there, but most of the immediate family has decamped for Phoenix. My Dad is still in Ohio, and so far I've achieved my intention to see him every year. In 2010 I went home, in 2011 he came to California for our wedding, last summer Pi Wen and I were back in Ohio again. Not only did we see Dad, we went to Athens--home of Ohio University, where Pi Wen earned her doctorate in psychology.
All of this is a way of filling out the back story, honoring where we've come from on the way to becoming who we are. One of the many attractive aspects of Pi Wen's story was that we'd traveled similar paths--childhood and studies in Ohio; college and work in Chicagoland; and the eventual move to and settling down in the Bay Area.
So far we've yet to travel to Chicago together, but that will change this weekend. I can't wait for the three day weekend in Evanston, home of my alma mater Northwestern University and where Pi Wen used to live. We'll use Evanston as a home base and make frequent forays into Chicago.
Then, the icing on the cake will be 5 days in Nashville. Along with her husband John my aunt Linda, whom I lived and worked with during the summer of 1996, will be our hosts. We made countless trips to cental Tennessee when I was a kid, to see numerous family members. Now it's a much more infrequent occurrence, making the journey even more sweet. It's one more part of connecting the dots.