It was a wonderful feeling of pure gratitude.
Today, my wife, son, and I had the opportunity to join my students on a one-day trip to Malaysia.
Everything about the day was perfect – the weather, the people, the bus, the lines at immigration, the places we visited, the meals we ate.
Late in the day, as we wandered around Firefly Valley Leisure Park in Kota Tinggi, I just stopped for a moment to take it all in, the temple, the river, the animals, and the views.
I felt blessed to be standing there, 9,000 miles from home experiencing a completely different culture, surrounded by people I love and care about.
And I felt a need to give thanks.
So a big thank you to Villanova University for this opportunity to teach abroad. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being able to do something like this when I started 34 years ago.
And a big thanks to the people at the Academic Internship Council in Singapore who are Villanova’s partner in this study abroad program and who have been responsible for planning wonderful experiences for the students, such as today’s visit to Malaysia.
And thank you to the bus company and the local tour guide we had who provided wonderful insights into the people, the culture, the history, and the food of the area.
And last but not least, thank you to my wife, my son, and my students for being such wonderful traveling companions and making the experience the best it could be.
The day ended with a chance to launch a flaming lantern into the sky, much like the Lantern Festival in Thailand (and from the Disney movie, Tangled), but on a much smaller scale. Prior to launching the lanterns, we wrote our wishes for the year on the lantern. It was a chance once again to express my gratitude and to wish that the following year is filled with more of the same, for myself and others.
*image from Klook.com