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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

Saving Money for a Trip

There is saying in life: You make friends and you lose friends... and that was happening to us all the time. Friends form different Embassies would go home and new ones would arrive and become our friends. I can't recount how many friends we made during all those years we lived her in the Washington D.C. area. We spent do much time with ail of our foreign friends at their homes and parties, ate their foods and adjusted to their cultures. We received so many invitations from our foreign friends to visit their homelands but were never able to take that step due to not having enough time to travel and financially we were not able to pay for it. I always told Lu Lu if I ever get enough money to take a long vacation to Asia I will not hesitate to take some leave from my job, even if I had to quit my job.

Southland Corporation financially was doing very well, and my profit sharing over the years had built up to a very nice amount of savings. There were days when I felt like quitting my job as the pressure and long hours were getting to me. There were always new bosses coming in and each of them always had some new ideas about certain jobs which always added more work to my job. I couldn't think about quitting as I was on the top of my job career financially. All I had to do was be patient just a few years and I would be able to take that trip to Asia I always had dreamed of.

At our company I was very friendly with our personnel director Andy Mroz. Sometimes we would go out for lunch together. Mr. Mroz and I had a lot in common in associating with foreign nationalities and the interest in visiting their countries. When I told Andy about my plans in the near future to take a long vacation to Asia and that I needed at least three months off he said, "Whenever you are ready, you let me know and I'll arrange your time off with the general manager". Andy and his wife Pat were no strangers at Lu Lu dinner parties and met many of our foreign friends. Andy and Pat were very fond of Lu Lu and always enjoyed her dinner parties tremendously. Days after he visited our house, and whenever he saw me at work, he would talk about it.

In 1981 after almost 20 years of service with Southland Corporation I decided that this was the year to take my Asian trip. I had the finances I needed. Lu Lu was still able to walk very well although her arthritis had just started to give her some uncomfortable days once in a while. Lu Lu wasn't in favor of this trip at all as she hated to fly. I wanted Lu Lu to visit Burma so bad, after all, she never went back to Burma since she left in 1957. Lu Lu had left a son behind in Burma when she came to the U.S.A. and was never able to visit him. Over the years that Lu Lu had lived in the U.S., Burma had restricted its visas for overseas Burmese emigrants. In 1981 the Burmese government started issuing visas again to former Burmese nationals. The ones who applied were thoroughly screened. I never thought Lu Lu would have any problems of getting a visa. She was never politically involved against anything with the Burmese government. It was just to do better financially in the U.S. that she left Burma. She had planned to work for a few years in a family home in the U.S. and then return to Burma again. But things worked out differently and she wasn't able to go back to Burma.

In those twenty years we lived in the Washington area we associated with so many different Burmese Embassy diplomats. We had friends with Ambassadors, first Counselors and so many other staff members. Lu Lu had invited all of them to so many of her dinner parties and shared so many things with them that she became the talk of the Rangoon government society whenever someone was posted in Washington. Whenever they left Burma they were told to get in touch with Aunty Lu Lu, that's what every Burmese calls her. I have never seen any person like Lu Lu being so kind and concerned for her Burmese people. She is always helping them in their welfare. A public magazine which is distributed all over Burma and is called Sandra even wrote a story about Lu Lu's kindness and hospitality. It emphasized that in Lu Lu's house you would be served any kind of Burmese food just the same as in Burma. Lu Lu would never go to one of her Burmese friends empty handed. She would always have a little present for them. With all those Burmese friends and connections in the Burmese Embassy I would never have thought that Lu Lu would have any trouble getting her visa to Burma. But things turned out different as the time came along to visit Burma.

CONTINUED: Getting ready for our trip to Asia
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index