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International Adventures

I've lived in lots of different places over the years, from Paris, France to Jalapa, Mexico. I've taught ESL to students from all over the world, including from five continents and probably over 100 countries. I like talking to foreigners, and I like being a foreigner. Of course it's better if you can speak the language, even if done so with a really strong American accent. In French and Spanish, native speakers know I'm American as soon as I open my mouth.

I met one of my potential students in world-famous Berkeley, in 1996. Marisa, who is a friend and student of mine from Chile, invited over Wendy, who is from China. They came to see Rain Man in my humble Berkeley apartment, since this was a film for which I had already written and given them an ESL movie guide.

Wendy liked the movie, and I think she liked me. But two days later I went to Ecuador and Costa Rica for a month. However, a couple of days after I got back, I asked her out. Two months after we went out, she moved in. Two months after she moved in, we officially got married in the backseat of a 1997 Chevy Corsica, on the Las Vegas strip. The picture below captures us in all of our nuptial glory...

This was taken at the drive up window of the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas,
on January 29, 1997. At the time, Wendy's English was still in development,
but I'm pretty sure she understood what she was doing.

While getting hitched in the back seat of a Chevy Corsica on the Las Vegas strip is a lot of fun, it's a tad less traditional than Wendy's Chinese father probably would have preferred. So in the summer of 1998, Wendy and I went to China to visit her parents in Hong Kong. We also dropped in on her 50,000 aunts, uncles and cousins. And while we were there, we had a semi-traditional wedding banquet. This usually consists of endless amounts of food, playing mahjong, and taking pictures with all the relatives. Here is a photo showing how charming we looked in all of our Hong Kongese ceremonial innocence...

August 8th, 1998: Wendy and me looking coy and dapper for the banquet.

After Hong Kong, we traveled throughout Eastern China, including Guanzhou, where Wendy grew up, as well as Shanghai and Beijing. The trip was great, with tons of wonderful food and friendly people. However, the Chinese languages are phonetically merciless. And just for the record, Shanghai in August is the hottest, most disgustingly humid place on Earth. I would suggest you go in February.

If you'd like to read a truly romantic tale about Wendy's parents, click here.