Friday, June 22, 2012

"Flying High": The Roarin' Twenties Begins! (Blogfest + Giveaway)

#DailyWings: “Treat singlehood and your twenties as the time when you get to fall in love with yourself. If you look with loving eyes, you will find that your most loyal companion lies within you.” -TSM

When I stepped onto the airplane for my flight to Ohio yesterday, I thought this was going to be an uneventful quickie. I've been traveling for years, ever since I was a little girl, and the longest on-air trip (including a connecting flight) I have ever been on lasted for nearly 18 hours. I love it. I love flying. When I'm in the air, it feels like time has stopped and there's nothing but me in the clouds. It feels like a dream. Yesterday, I found yet another reason to love airplane flights, but it was nothing I could have expected or prepared myself for.

On most flights, I take a window seat or aisle seat and bury myself in a good book or my journal. I'll enjoy my plastic cup of cranapple juice and bag of salted peanuts, then perhaps take a few pictures of the clouds. This time on the connecting flight (to Atlanta first), I sat in the middle. Before I could whip out Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a middle-aged man wearing a dark-blue suit and carrying a business knapsack approached the seat to my left. Five minutes later, a short woman with curly brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses claimed the seat to my right.

I soon came to discover that the woman was going back home after a business meeting, and the man was a surgeon who was on a way to one. The woman told me she was eager to get home to her three beloved dogs and two cats, and I nodded knowingly. My friend is taking care of my turtles, I told her. Somehow we started talking about our love for animals, and the woman mentioned she had had to give up her own turtles a few years ago while undergoing chemotherapy.

Our conversation turned, and it occured to me how much this woman had been through. Yet, here she was as alive and energetic as ever, living her life with as much love and fervor as anybody. The surgeon, in turn, told me how he had come to develop a passion for medicine and healthcare. I listened, fascinated, to these two strangers who had become my friends in a matter of two hours. By the end of the flight, I hadn't even unzipped my backpack for Zen. I bid my newfound airplane buddies farewell, and the woman even patted me on the shoulder.

On the final plane to Ohio, I got the aisle seat on the Exit row. Finally - some peace and quiet! Not that I hadn't enjoyed my conversations with fellow surgeon and cat lady, but the night would be a busy one for me and I needed some rest.

But even as I sat down, I couldn't help but notice my left-side neighbor. An older man well into his 60s sat, tapping one giant sneaker against the rugged floor, with his head resting on one hand. I greeted him with a "Hi, how are you," and he shook his head.

"Not good," the man said. "Been up since 1 o'clock this morning."

"Oh no," I said. "Why were you up so late?"

The man told me his brother was in the hospital. He'd had a stroke. My neighbor had gotten the news while on vacation with his wife and grandkids.

"Oh no." I felt stupid for saying the same thing, but I was taken aback. Out of all the things I could have expected, this was last on the list. "Is he okay?"

The man shook his head.

I didn't know what to say. 'Sorry' seemed infinitesimally too small of a word, and a hug would be inappropriate in this situation. We sat together in what seemed like an uncomfortable silence for half an hour, and I debated whether to say anything else at all. Maybe I should just mind my own business, like usual. But the man just looked so sad.

He was the one to speak first.

"You from Ohio?"

"No, I'm visiting family for my birthday," I said. "How about you?"

"Yeah. You ever been to Rock and Roll House of Fame?" he asked.

The question surprised me. I said no I hadn't, but it was on my to-do list. The man said the term rock and roll had originated from Ohio from the very beginning. Alan Freed was the man who did it, he told me with a grin.

This seemed to take his mind off of current troubles, so I decided to keep on with the conversation.

"What's the best concert you've ever been to?" I asked, hoping that wasn't too random or weird.

"Oh, Elton John and Billy Joel's tour, hands down," he said. He began to list all the concerts he had ever been to and the biggest stars of the '60s - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Elvis Presley. When he talked about music and 'the old days,' his eyes seemed to light up as if he were back in the Blossom Music Center. We chatted about famous landmarks in Ohio, rock and roll, and The Osbournes for the remaining of the flight. Twenty minutes turned into a couple of hours, and suddenly I was waving goodbye again at yet another new friend. I wished him and his family good luck, and told him I hoped his brother was all right.

As I walked into the Ohio airport, I spotted a female soldier clad in her camouflage military uniform. She crossed the hallway and approached a very old man--must have been in his nineties--with thinned blonde-white hair and large ear lobes. The soldier hugged the old man and whispered in his ear, thank you for your service. She squeezed his hand, and was gone.

I left the airport smiling.


Turning 20 has gotten me thinking deeply about what I want this upcoming decade to be about. Even though we are thrown unexpected surprises and crazy events every single day such that we feel powerless over our own lives, I think in the end we have a lot more control over our fate than we realize.

If there is anything that I learned from my day "in the air" (a day in the air out of many), it's that there is opportunity. Everywhere. The chance to make anything happen is right there in front of us, and it's our job to make sure we don't miss out. I think that's what I want my Roarin' Twenties to be about: taking chances and noticing opportunities. Being aware of my surroundings and the people around me. I never know who I will end up meeting on a chance encounter. Maybe next time I'm on an airplane, it'll be a cute guy with an Italian accent or something. Who knows? All I know is, never again will I bury myself in a book without first greeting my neighbor on an airplane flight.

Without further ado, here are my poems for the Roarin' Twenties Poetry Blogfest! Check out the rules here. The blogfest lasts until Sunday, so you can still sign up below!


A Set of Roarin' Limericks

Try #1:
There once was a girl named Wendy Lu,
Her popular nickname was Cindy Who.
Everyone thought she was thirteen, 
Which called for a post-teen scream,
All she wanted was some ice cream.

Ick......that was terrible! Let me try again.

Try #2:
There once was a girl named Wendy Lu,
Everyone called her Cindy Who.
Her friends said she looked young,
But really she was just full of fun,
Like them, she just turned twenty too!

Okay...that's better. One more try?

Try #3:
There once was a girl named Wendy Lu,
who ate her cake with a spoon.
She hung out at the speakeasy,
Even though alcohol made her queasy,
Never mind! This whole poem is full of poo!

Ack! I give up!


This blogfest is dedicated to all those writers who say they aren't 'good' at writing poetry. My 'literary forte' is with prose, but hey - ultimately there's a poet in all of us! I'm proof of that! :P

Thank you to all of the participants who signed up to celebrate my birthday with me! Much love to you all. Don't forget to check out the other entries!


The winner of the Chapter Critique Giveaway will be announced tomorrow after the blogfest and after I have entered everyone's points into the random generator! As they say in the movies, STAY TUNED.


Wendy Lu


P.S. I went from 184 followers to 194 followers in eight days! Y'all ROCK! Thank you so much!





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12 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Wendy, Happy Birthday. Great limericks.

Btw, I mentioned about your blogfest in my post today.

Deana said...

I wish I could write poetry so well:)

I am one of those people who buries there head in a book on a flight also. I think it was really wonderful of you to talk to all those people. We really can miss out on so much when we don't look up:)

The Golden Eagle said...

Happy Birthday! :)

Fun limericks. And I admire you for talking to so many people on your trip--I would have been too shy, retreated into my own bubble, and tried to ignore everything except my book.

M Pax said...

Your poetry beats mine, hands down.

I loved reading the stories of the people you met on your flights. They were lovely to read and poignant. I hope you have a great celebration.

MJ said...

Happy born day Wendy, I hope you had a great day! I had a busy day today so I will try to think up a poem this weekend!

Christa Desir said...

Wow, this is lovely and amazing. I too am usually wanting peace and quiet on a plane, but you're right, you can make serious connections by just talking to people, observing, listening. Nice to meet you, Wendy.

Kenon said...

Gahhh I am so so sorry Wendy and everyone for missing the blog fest! I will still send you a poem though.

Wendy Lu said...

Thanks so much, y'all, for the comments! I've been out of town this weekend for my birthday so I apologize for the late replies and visits to your blogs (and the delayed announcement of the giveaway winner).

Rachna - I saw your post! Thanks so much for the shout-out; it meant a lot to me. I'll come visit again ASAP :)

Deana - It was really neat getting to know the fellow passengers. I want to work on being more outgoing...you never know whom you might meet!

TGE - Thank you! All of those encounters were sort of by chance, but I feel lucky I got to have such chatty people for airplane neighbors! Definitely made the flights a lot more interesting.

M Pax - Haha I did the best I could ;) Thanks so much for reading... I actually wrote it in the middle of the night in Ohio. It's crazy how much you can get done when the rest of the town is supposed to be asleep!

MJ - No worries! I am about to visit the blogs on the last day of the blogfest, anyway. Thanks for participating!

Christa - Thank you for stopping by! I'm off to China in a couple days, which will give me several more opportunities to get to know people from all of the world - if only for a few hours. Can't wait!

Kenon - Aw, don't worry! I got your tweet...the whole blogfest lasted for two days so you're still on time. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Life as a blood courier takes me away from my friends for far too long. I believe you are right: we can choose to make the most of whatever situation life has planted us in.

You are only 5 followers away from your goal. Good for you. You have a writer's eye and a champion's heart. May only happy surprises be in store for you, Roland

Shah Wharton said...

Hi Wendy - You stopped by my blog to see my entry for this but somehow got a more recent post instead of the one I linked on your linky? I've just checked to see if I entered the correct linky and I did so not sure how that happened. Anyway, the entry is here: http://shahwharton.com/2011/03/orange-sonnetan-uplifting-poem-for.html - I do hope you'll let me know what you think of it. :)

Travel safely and have fun X

Wendy Lu said...

Roland - Thank you so much for your kind words. I think we get so wrapped up in life itself that we forget sometimes. It's nice to have this kind of pleasant reminder every once in a while. :) And I'm so excited to be reaching 200 followers...I appreciate every one of them!

Shah - Ahh I'm glad you told me! I will go to your URL right now. Can't wait to read your poem! :D

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Sorry I missed your birthday sweetie. You are a gem. Wonderful plane adventures. You are on your way. I am so glad to have met you on the web. I can't wait to say, "I knew her when."

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