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(L.) It was a joy of swimming with Hudson and Sloane, making my spirits soar. (R.) Blake’s graduating middle school gave me reason to celebrate during the pandemic.

Going through my family’s old photo albums has brought so many memories out of hiding — some good, some sad, but isn’t that what life is! 

I’m getting ready to move and I never realized the pain it would cause me. The realtor went through my house, which is filled with a lifetime of collections, and said, “You have to make this house look like vanilla to make a prospective buyer see themselves living here, not you!” The thought of that rocked my being. 

I took for granted the photographs, the items purchased from my travels around the world and the art collected through my years of living. It’s almost like a museum of my life and now I’m being told it must go or be hidden from sight! Somehow, it hit me hard last week! 

I had invited my stepdaughter to visit and see what she might like to have for herself or her boys, nieces or siblings. I had moved into the home her mom and dad originally created. When her mom died, Stu and I married and made the decision to stay in his home since he found moving abominable. I added my touches to the house to make it “ours.” 

It was that way until his death a few years ago and now I feel it is time to move on to a condo rather than caring for a big house. 

A house is like a bottomless pit each day, not knowing what will need repairs! Right now, it’s the air conditioning, tomorrow the septic tank, then lawn — you get the idea. 

Although I’d made a big move when my son Josh graduated from high school, selling my home in Melville and moving to the Bay Club in Bayside, somehow I had forgotten how painful it was. 

When Mimi came, I was happy to have her take whatever she wanted, but it was still hard to see the things go. Then a consignment business woman came the next day and identified what she felt she could sell in her store. I started to feel like my life was being peeled away from me and it wasn’t a good feeling. I just hadn’t anticipated the emotional attachment I had to so many of the “things” in my house.

It took a few days to get my balance back. I was watching a Netflix show called “The Politician” and I heard one of the characters say she was selling off her clothes and jewelry and that “these are just things that I’ve had for a while, and now it’s time that they pass to someone else.” That really resonated with me. My hope is that what gave me pleasure will now give others the good feeling I felt by having them in my life. 

Ironically, the apartment I’m moving to is a fully furnished model. It’s like a beautiful hotel room with everything there for me, but I still need to put “me” into it, to make it my own. 

At first, I was so disheartened by giving up so much of my past. But now that I’ve had the chance to think about everything and truly feel the emotions of the life I’ve lived, I feel I am prepared to move on. 

From the sadness came joy by seeing my grandchildren and knowing that they are my legacy — not the “stuff” in my house!

The story of a dragon fruit

It seems like yesterday when I went to Beijing with Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the America-China Chamber of Commerce.

I was invited to join the delegation by Thomas Chen, the CEO of Crystal Windows, who created an enormously successful window company that he began in his garage and turned into an international success story.

A group of about 20 people, many from the New York region, were there to talk to potential investors from China to convince them to invest in their American businesses. The U.S. government’s EB-5 visa program offers a green card to Chinese nationals who invest at least $500,000 in an American business. I had been invited to be part of the group to advise the business people about how to best work with the community when they arrived in New York.

One morning at a bountiful buffet breakfast in Beijing, I was sitting with the leader of the delegation, Dragon Deng. I asked him where he was from and he told me Long Island, so I asked him what town. He said Roslyn Harbor, and I said I live there, too. It turns out he lived around the corner from me! How extraordinary that we had to come halfway ‘round the world to meet each other.

When we got back to New York, he introduced me to his wife Lily, who I have come to love.

Lucky for me, she had invited me to her home recently for a delectable seven course Chinese meal. So, I invited her to my backyard for a steak and potatoes dinner. She delighted me with a gift of dragon fruit, which was as delicious as it is a work of art made by God.

Here’s to friendships and the roller coaster ride called life.

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