The year started with us saying goodbye to our daughter Michelle at O’Hare. She was heading to Milan for a whole semester of studying abroad. Needless to say Joe and I were worried about our little girl’s safety in a foreign country all by herself. But it turned out to be the best four months of Michelle’s life as she made new friends, broadened her cultural experiences by traveling over nine countries and seventeen cities, and learned life lessons of flexibility, simplicity and being street smart. We visited Michelle at the end of May, met with her wonderful host parents, and toured Milan, Venice, Santorini and Athens. It was such a precious and memorable time!

The highlight of the year is Jane and Jim’s engagement. We are thankful that Jim involved us and his family in the whole surprise planning. Minutes after he proposed, we arrived at the scene, the Sample Gate of IU where they met and fell in love. Jim’s mom was thrilled that she finally had a daughter, and we welcomed Jim into our family with open arms. The kids will get married on August 12th 2017! It will be a phenomenal celebration of two families coming together because of the love of our son and daughter.

I celebrated my 50th in July. Never thought I’d get this old, but I’ve never felt better. I worked hard on the three dances at the party, Waltz with Joe, Rumba formation with Joe and our two teachers, and the solo Chinese folk dance. On the day of the birthday celebration, I felt relaxed, at ease with myself and completely content. It was absolutely wonderful to mark this milestone of my life with family and special friends!

At the end of March Joe’s seventy-year-old boss who had been looking for a successor for five years approached him and asked him if he’d be willing to take the leadership role. After some consideration, my husband said yes and was appointed in August. I was passed for a well-deserved promotion early in the year, but got a more desirable one in October. I was recognized for my people skills, active participation in the company diversity networks and an uplifting attitude.

Michelle will graduate next May. She’s got offers from three prominent companies and will arrive at a decision in the very near future. Another child on her way to independence and self-fulfillment, something that makes us parents immensely proud.

Jake is thriving academically and physically. He entered the District 203 PI plus program this year and is doing well. Our little boy has grown so much taller in the last six months, which gives me the motivation to learn how to cook healthy and nutritious dishes for my boys.

What a fun-packed and accomplished 2016! I am thankful for family, good health, new and old friendship, and career advancement. Thank you to all of you who allowed me to be part of your life in big or small ways!

Happy Thanksgiving!