As I sit here at the end of this day that is set to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. I find myself wondering what he would say to all of us if he were alive today. I think he would be disgusted. I think he would find the continuous spending of money that we don't have to be irresponsible. I think he would point out that bailing out companies and banks only teaches children that they can spend what they don't have.
So many of his speeches mentioned the future. Here we are in that future and while we have made many improvements, we have lost a lot. America has lost its pride. I don't mean the pride of being an American. That is living strong. I mean basic pride in your work. Wanting to do a good job, just for the sake of doing a good job.
Mr. President, Senators and Representatives,
Please think about the people as you sit and pass laws. Think about our infrastructure. Think about what you are eating for lunch or dinner and who is paying for it. Think about the number of people who don't have food. How many years have you gone without a raise or without work? How do you get to work and who pays for it? Are you spending OUR money wisely? Have you overspent on things that just don't matter? When you create a congressional committee to investigate something, do you think about the cost? Do any of you live under the constraint of a budget? Think about the fact that you have a job.
Please consider the PEOPLE as you sit in your offices. Your party doesn't matter. What is good for all of the people isn't about party - it's about being an American. Have some pride in your work. Don't assume that you are doing a good job - DO a good job. Stop spending money we don't have. Think about the fact that you have jobs and benefits and many of your constituents don't.
Vote on what is right - not what is popular or what your party wants. Think about the PEOPLE - all of them. Think about what our forefathers would say if you were serving with them.
America needs to band together. We have lost sight of our common goals and we all seem to think we are right and everyone else is wrong. Remember that this great country was built upon differences in addition to the agreements. That compromise is always an option and sometimes - it's better than either of the original options.
I challenge you to remember that you are an American. You were voted into office and many of you have been in office for so long that you don't remember what it's like to find a job. Be the best you can be and live up to one man's dream for the future.
We the People are watching. Help us become ONE nation again. Help us tread into the future with hope rather than fear. Stop blaming each other and start working together. Only then will we live up to the great men and women who have served and continue to serve our country.
I am in Shanghai to provide training for my new team. It's been a great trip so far. Lots of interesting things to see and experience. The flight to Beijing was long ~12 hours and then another flight to Shanghai that was ~2 hours. The LAST thing I wanted to do was get on another plane.
I can now cross off one thing I have always wanted to experience: Arriving at an airport and having someone waiting with your name on a sign. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was so tired. It was really cool to walk down the hallway and hear Chinese all around and look up to see my name and a smiling face waiting for me.
We jumped in the car and drove about an hour to my hotel. This was a life-altering experience. Traffic lights and lanes in China or at least in Shanghai are OPTIONAL or maybe they are just guidelines. I can't tell you the number of times we were almost taken out by another vehicle. Sometimes the other vehicle was someone on a scooter. A SCOOTER!!! They just go right into traffic. My usual reaction to this is to suck all of the oxygen out of the car, but since I don't know the people I am riding with, I quietly ducked and tried to make no sound. The pedestrians are almost as bad - they just go and you better not get in their way. The hotel was called Motel 186 and appeared nice. We went in and my local contact conversed with the desk clerk and got me all checked in. We went upstairs and opened the door to a decent sized room with a queen size bed. I thanked my contact for picking me up and I went to bed.
When I laid on the bed it was a bit uncomfortable, but I figured my body and mind were so screwed up with the time change that it was just discomfort that would go away with a good night's sleep. The next morning I got up and went to breakfast. It's funny how we Americans always assume that breakfast will be eggs, bacon, hash browns. This wasn't the case - it was fried rice (the only thing I recognized) and a bunch of other tasty dishes. I gave my ticket to the attendant and began to fill a plate. I tried the majority of items - except those that seemed scary. For those of you that don't know me- scary means lots of vegetables or spices. The last item was a watery substance that looked like it had rice in it. All of the items were very good and at 10am my local contact arrived in a cab to take me to work.
The cab had a plastic barricade just around the driver. As we drove to the office, they had an animated conversation in Chinese and occasionally the driver would start laughing at someone that just cut him off. We arrived at the office and I got set up in a conference room and was getting settled when a group of people walked in. There were 7 total, my local contact and the 6 people I will be training for the next two weeks. I was slightly overwhelmed but they all sat down and we began chatting about what they had already learned. For the next several hours, I worked on items and explained what I was doing while I did it. About 11:45 we decided it was lunch time and trundled over to a large building that holds a cafeteria that serves all of the buildings in the area. There were tons of people.
The cafeteria has a long line of food you can grab like any cafeteria, but in this case it's all Chinese food. I grabbed several items and we all went to sit down and eat. For the second time in a day I had rice. I don't think I have ever had rice twice in one day. There were several other dishes that varied in spice and color. Most were good - one lit my head on fire and all around me laughed.
That evening several of my team took me to a Chinese restaurant (not sure of the name in English) where we had several dishes that were very good, but nothing like what we have in the States. Finally I hit my hotel and went to bed. When I went to lay down all I could think was how hard the bed was. I lifted the sheet and realized why, it was only a box spring. There was no mattress or cushion. I was able to fall asleep, but found it fitful.
The next morning I stepped out into the hall to find workmen hammering holes in the walls of the rooms down the hall. There was a fine dust everywhere. I made my way to the front desk where I tried to explain my problem with the bed. No one on duty spoke English so they ended up calling my local contact. Somehow in the conversation it was determined the the older man working the front desk would go up to the room with me and investigate. We walked up the stairs to find the layer of dust a lot thicker and piles of plaster on the floor. When we got to the room the man walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower and motioned for me to feel the water. I shook my head and motioned for him to come to the bed. He understood but then in sweeping hand movements made it clear that they didn't have anything to fit the bed in that room.
One of my favorite places turned 55 today. Here are some of my memories from there.
This was taken earlier this year when I went on vacation by myself. I had a great time.
Don, Katharine and Gammy near Main Street.
Katharine and Gammy on the People Mover.
Don, Katharine and Jerry on the Matterhorn.
Some of my best memories are at Disneyland. We used to go every couple of years when we would visit my grandmother in Arcadia. We would plan our days and have such fun. I can't imagine my life without my family and Disneyland.