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Nose Under the Community Tent

By Paul Losch

About this blog: I was a "corporate brat" growing up and lived in different parts of the country, ending in Houston, Texas for high school. After attending college at UC Davis, and getting an MBA at Harvard, I embarked on a marketing career, mai...  (More)

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Children Away From Home

Uploaded: Sep 12, 2013
My 23yo daughter just shipped off for a year in China.

She's been there before, actually several times, speaks fluent Mandarin, and it is terrific that she has chosen to go there to teach English for a year. Her older brother spent a year in South Korea doing the same.

They both attended college away from this part of the world.

From a mindset standpoint, I as a parent have not viewed differently Spokane, Washington, Middlebury Vermont, Pusan, South Korea, or various Chinese cities where my now adult children have spent their time. None is easy to get to from here, some effort required. (I actually had an experience traveling from here to Dallas, Texas that took longer than a flight I took to Shanghai!)

That is what intrigues me. My kids come and go around the world, and it is not a big deal. While I have traveled both for business and pleasure in my lifetime, it was for many in my cohort a big deal.

Not so, as I perceive it, in our kids' generation.

And the level of effort to visit my kids when they are some place else in the world is not all that different from visiting at their colleges here in the States, in locations that required at a minimum one flight change, and typically a long drive as well upon landing.

All for the better. I just wish we did not have to take off shoes to satisfy TSA at the airport.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by blase , a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Not sure what you're trying to get at.
The Kids around here fly several times a year to various parts of the world and at the drop of a hat. They fly from the time they were born and carry several passports.
The kids around here grow up with it and just expect it. All their friends do it. Spoiled to the point that it becomes an issue when they can't get a seat in the pointy end of the aircraft.
Good? Bad? At least not normal.

Posted by Perez , a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I'm not sure what the point of this blog ever is. This isn't De Kalb Illinois, it's Silicon Valley and they sings of this person are not interesting or well written. Usually I skim it and wonder whether this person is related to the owner or something. Only nepotism could make sense of this choice.

Posted by Brit, a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Growing up in UK, with my parents I travelled to most of western Europe before leaving school and have done plenty of travelling since. My kids do the same. Most Europeans do the same. At last it seems Americans are catching up with the rest of the world rather than doing whistle stop 10 countries in 14 days retirement trips.

Posted by musical, a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Congratulations! These are the kids every PAUSD parent dreams of.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

My daughter was an exchange student in China in 8th grade. It was an eye opening experience.

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of ,
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I wish every child had an opportunity like this. But in their teens, not their twenties.

It will teach them two things:

1) How lucky they are to have the wealth and opportunity that exists in America.

2) How shallow, artificial and worthless 21st century American culture is.

Posted by Mein Son, a resident of ,
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

My son was an exchange student and lived in Germany his senior year of high school. It was a shock for him to see that Germany, Austria, and Switzerland had a higher standard of living than Americans do. he said that Palo Alto seemed dirty and unimpressive by comparison.

He has never been able to see the US, especially California, in a positive light since. He wishes do obtain dual citizenship and live permanently in Germany. I say go for it!

Posted by Ducati hutch, a resident of ,
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm

You son obviously was only in a certain portion of the above countries. But anyway, why bother with dual citizenship if the US is so terrible. He should renounce his citizenship here, and get EU citizenship.
You could move over there with him-- you would probably get better treatment for ankylosing spondolytisBack and not have to worry about Asian neighbors that are not buddy buddy with you.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

In the spirit of being helpful, there are plenty of programs for high school age students who want to spend time elsewhere in the world.

The student should have the interest and desire, I am of the opinion that it is not the sort of thing that should be imposed by the parents.

My daughter, a Paly grad, spent 2 summers in China during her high school summer months. Of her volition.

The programs she attended were intended and largely had college and graduate school students participating. This can be difficult for someone who is still in high school, although that was not the case with my daughter.

There are numerous ways to expose kids at the high school age to time outside the States. Make it a learning experience, not a turista experience.

Posted by Brit, a resident of ,
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Paul, I appreciate your perspective, but I beg to differ.

A love of travel can be learnt from the parents for a child. A child who is brought up to travel, knows how to appreciate different cultures, understands the complexities of international travel and enjoys the experience in the safe confines of a family, will much more likely to want to travel as a young adult.

Yes, some who never travel with parents will still long to do it alone. But I feel that travelling with your children gives them a lifelong love of travel. I agree it should not be just as tourists (hence my whistlestop 10 countries in 14 days retirement trip comment made in my previous post), but there is nothing wrong with visiting a foreign country for tourist and recreational purposes, as long as the trip involves more than the famous sights, but includes culture and mixing with the locals. Getting around on public transport, eating and shopping where the locals eat and shop, staying in hostels rather than luxury hotels, are worthwhile adventures for any young person and will give them the ability to do the same themselves. Many teenager Europeans buy Eurorail cards and take a backpack trip across Europe, sleeping in trains and working out how to use Laundromats with foreign coins. Many American teenagers could not manage to do something like this without planes, taxis and a rolling suitcase with no ability to use foreign currency other than a credit card.

Doing something worthwhile on a visit to a 3rd world country is also an experience, but the ones I have seen are so orchestrated by an agency that there is no room for independent adventure.

I am pleased to see that your adult children are travelling on their own, but the fact that you chose to highlight this in your blog shows that perhaps you wish you were able to join them or regret not having had the opportunity yourself. Perhaps you should look into doing a foreign trip yourself before you get to the whistlestop retirement trip stage.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Sep 14, 2013 at 5:16 am


Care to see my passports? Extra pages.

I largely agree with your observations that young people who are from this part of the world do not understand that things are not like this in most of the world.

I have learned in the last couple of years about several non profit organizations/NGO's here in the SF Bay Area that draw young adults into work and projects that help them understand that, and more importantly, provide opportunities to get involved "on the ground."

I also learned recently that Peace Corps is tailoring its programs in order to appeal to people who are at later stages of their work lives, not just at the beginning stages--terrific news!

Posted by living and working in PA, a resident of ,
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

I think it's great that your kids are such world citizens.

But the inconveniences to travel aren't the barrier for most people, as much as the cost.

If I had the financial resources to make travel so easy, I'd start with giving my only child a chance to really know the cousins, aunts and uncles we have only ever visited on Skype.

It wasn't always this way, it used to be the opposite when I was a kid. Interestingly, it wasn't just the difference between new, fresh, egalitarian America and the aging, polluted infrastructure of Europe back then, there was an understanding that this was associated with the US not suffering the ills of Europe's rigid social classes and the economic stagnation caused by concentrations of wealth and power. The roles have reversed.

Posted by moo - chelle O, a resident of ,
on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

ahhhh - lifestyles of the one-percenters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by AMRW, a resident of ,
on Sep 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

People who say traveling is easy are the ones who have the money for it. For those of us who have to save up airline credit card miles to go on trips...not so easy.

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