Shanghai: Waving goodbye

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Growing up we had a ritual that as we were leaving one another, we would wave until the other person was out of sight.  It was a significant part of my childhood.  I remember standing on the stairs of the walkway leading up to my dorm as I entered my freshman year of college and waving until my parents had driven away.  Waving until my arms tired and watching my Mother’s wave from outside the passenger seat of their car.

And then turning away to face my new life.  Even now each time we visit my parents, as we drive away, we wave until the car has turned around the bend and we are out of sight.

As I was boarding the plane to return home, I explained this to my dear friend Steve.  He in turn shared that he was familiar with the tradition.  It is, as he explained, very Japanese and a part of their culture.  For many years now, Steve has been a cultural touchstone helping me to better understand his part of the world.

And so I began waving.  I waved through boarding, down the escalator, up to the jetway to where the airline checked my ticket for the final time.  And as I entered the jetway,  I stopped and stepped back to see him standing at the corner of the boarding area still waving to me.

As I waved back, and as a tear filled my eye, I thought to myself, how very fortunate I am to have people in my life, like Steve. And then I turned to make my way back home.

Photo courtesy of Guardian, UK

PS – SW, I wish I had taken a photo …..

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