In the past 8 weeks, I have been on a whirlwind adventure.
I’ve been all over the globe. I was in North Carolina and met people whose families settled there in the 1700’s. I ate incredible foods in Rome (my guide led us to fabulous places where the pasta was made by hand and redefined your understanding of delicious). I rode the #66 bus around Boston and Brookline.
I was in China. North China is much different than southern China. Different foods, different dialects and languages. In the north they eat lots of red meat, in the south more fish and plant based meals. I walked the Great Wall of China and it is truly great. I was in a racing skull in Seattle stuck in a pea soap fog. I stopped in London, Scotland and even had a tour of Vietnam with Dr. Seuss. In India I saw Frogs in the Well, I learned the difference between the year of the Dragon and the year of the Rabbit. I had freshly butchered lamb in Nairobi, I watched how the Chinese government plans not only families but childbirth. I was in New Orleans right after Katrina and saw a profound level of lawlessness and hopelessness.
Along the way I learned the proper etiquette and technique to bow in Japan. I have an even greater appreciation for the value of cats and dogs and mentors in our lives. I’ve seen life and death and illness and was not spared any of it.
And, I met people who have strong convictions. People who want to change the world and make it better. They convinced me to eat less meat, taught me about mindful eating, mindful reading and how to be more mindful of our planet and its oceans and environment. I saw the devastating effect poverty has on generations of Americans and how it effects their learning, their health, and their emotional state.
I celebrated April Fool’s Day all around the world. I’ve celebrated with a bunch of Scots their first Thanksgiving in the US and watched as they tried to make a turkey and then carve it. For dessert I learned how to make an apple pie. It was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
I experienced all of these things and much more teaching a presentation training class for 12 Harvard School of Public Health students. Many of these students were quite accomplished with MDs and PhDs, and all of them want to improve health care to make the world better. They came together in this class from all around the world and they brought with them to the podium their family history, cultures, customs and intelligence. Regardless of the subject, they spoke with great passion creating vivid scenes for all of us to be a part of.
It was one of the most rewarding adventures I have ever been on.