The mid-autumn festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar. It celebrates the harvest and is an occasion for family gatherings and reunions. This year the festival falls on Sunday September 27, 2015.
After our family visit in Penang, Malaysia, we again transited through Changi Airport (the World’s best airport) for a few hours during the daytime on our way home. Now, the fun part really began. I love airports! I enjoy window shopping and browsing the duty free duty shops.
The last time we returned to Penang, Malaysia, we had a short transit in Hong Kong and then flew into Changi Airport—the World’s Best Airport 2014–in Singapore just after midnight. We had an early morning connecting flight to Penang, Malaysia. We were looking at a long 8-hour layover, which is not long enough to be worthwhile to book a hotel away from the airport.
Last year I traveled to India with my 7-month-old daughter to attend my brother’s wedding. I was excited, but at the same time worried about traveling with an infant. As a new mom, I needed to make sure that I had everything planned and ready for the trip, so that my little one could experience her first flight as comfortably as possible. I talked to my friends who had also traveled with infants and made notes. I made a list of all the things required for the trip. I bought some items and borrowed the rest from my friends.
When family visits from halfway around the world, they stay for as long as possible—sometimes for months. Staying for a longer time might be because they can’t afford to travel back and forth, or because they want to help out with a new baby or other major life change, or they simply miss you and want to spend as much time as they can with you.
After catching up with relatives from out of the country, however, most people eventually run out of vacation time and have to return to work before their guests return home. Isolation by staying at home alone is not healthy even for older adults. What can your long-term guests do while you are at work and the kids are at school?
If this is your first trip by airplane, you might be wondering what airplane sounds are normal, and why does everyone act like these strange sounds are OK. Well, even though most people act nonplussed about flying, some people become anxious about the unfamiliar sounds that they hear and worry that they might not be normal. Some people worry about their flight so much that they cannot enjoy themselves, or they end up bargaining with God. For someone who flies a lot, fretting the entire flight about some sounds is not a good coping mechanism. Don’t waste your mental energy. Learn how to deal with the thumps and bumps of air travel.
I have always been fascinated by miniatures. When I was seven, my parents gave me a dollhouse that they built from a kit. In high school, my parents helped me start to remodel that house, which now sits near me as I write this article. San Jose, California, has an annual dollhouse show. At the show last year I was introduced to the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and the Guild School held every year in Castine, Maine. I always wondered how I could learn to finish my house and its furnishing, so I selected some classes (“Dogrose Courtship” designed and taught by Beth Freeman-Kane and a slipper chair design class taught by Annelle Furguson) and went.
You notice that the person that you are helping on a long-haul flight is suddenly chatty, jumpy, or unusually quiet before boarding. As the plane revs its engines and begins to taxi, your travel buddy begins digging their nails into the armrest and looking around suspiciously or praying. If this is that person’s first air travel experience, they might be experiencing some anxiety, and you as a travel companion can help make their first trip abroad a pleasant one.
Many people travel all over the world to visit family and for business. How about sandwiching business and family visits with a short class or private lessons on a topic that interests you? Music lessons anyone?
I love music, but I had never seriously started learning to play an instrument until this year. My instrument of choice is the shamisen, a three-stringed Japanese banjo of sorts. Shamisen teachers are a sort of rare breed, so I turned to the local Japanese-American community in San Jose’s Japantown and the Internet to connect with an online community called Bachido. At Bachido I can purchase streaming video courses, arrange Skype lessons with a teacher based somewhere far from me, find others locally to play with, and once a year attend a week-long camp that is held in Japan or the USA.
If your parents are visiting the USA—especially the Bay Area—from India, they can tap into the rich cultural resources that the Bay Area has to offer. The Bay Area is lucky to have communities of people from most parts of the world, and it is not difficult to find products, food, entertainment, and religious services. The first step is to get connected!