Published on September 10th, 2011 | by Paz


9/11 A Different Approach

Since we are in China and our home country is mourning those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001 I thought it would be a good idea to look at this from a different perspective…since we are in China and all. 

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about the first plane hitting the building…sounded unreal. No one believed it, or did they?

Well no one born in 1981 would have believed it. That is the year I was born… But who would have said…ahh okay…here we go!? Maybe your grandparents or parents or aunts or uncles would not have been so surprised by this news and known exactly how to feel or act or even react. Today I would like us to talk and think about those people.

What have we learned from those people…and what have we NOT learned?? In our 7th month in China and living a different lifestyle it makes us think about what we know and what we wish we did know from our grandparents.

Here is Grandma Francis with Lupita and Paz

I don’t want you to think we shouldn’t be remembering those people who were lost on September 11th, 2001, but let’s have a look at this from a different angle.

Let’s think about those that we maybe we lost on different days but had gone through so much more in their lives. What have we learned from them?

My grandpa Don and grandma Francis are the ones featured here today… (for me) but I know that they represent someone in your life as well.

Did September 11th effect them the same way it did me? Were they surprised? Did they have all of the answers on what to do, where to go, and how to behave?

In their roughly 80+ years on this planet they experienced:

  1. Two world wars…and countless smaller ones
  2. Both served our country in WWII
  3. The Great Depression
  4. The atomic bomb (this needs to be separate)
  5. The Bay of Pigs Invasion
  6. The loss of a child (5 yrs old)
  7. Recession of 1973-1975…there were more though
  8. The loss of brothers, mothers, fathers, sisters, and friends
  9. Watergate
  10. Alzheimer’s
What else did they experience?
  1. 65+ years of  beautiful marriage
  2. True love (married on their first date…deserves another post…but true)
  3. Loved and cherished two beautiful children (inspired them to follow their dreams)
  4. Owned two successful businesses doing what they LOVED
  5. Befriended many people all of different colors and backgrounds
  6. Volunteered in the community until they were in their 80’s
  7. Didn’t have debt
  8. Taught Sunday School
  9. Made amazing dishes from scratch until they could cook no more
  10. Taught their grandchildren pinochle
  11. Loved watching baseball together…the Cubs (good or bad)
  12. Flew planes on the weekends to go have breakfast upstate…Wisconsin

Today I think of them; why?

I think of a generation and of a couple that despite all of the things that happened in their life that could have made them question everything, become depressed, hate the world, and never smile again, DIDN’T.

Why? I honestly don’t know.

How could they live such an amazingly happy life with so much bad that they had encountered and experienced. How did they walk out their front door every morning putting their best foot forward having lost so much. Again, I don’t know for sure but I can only imagine what they would say.

Paz; “Because we had the freedom to do so! 

or maybe

Paz; “Why the hell not!

You can pick  which ever phrase you like better, but it would be because they had the choice. They could have become depressed, get divorced, or lose all hope in human kind many times and no one would have thought bad about them. But they choose to chose to be free to live the life that THEY wanted. Not the life that CNN told them they had to be afraid of, but of the life that they wanted.

They didn’t let this weeks headlines about healthcare, or unemployment determine their ability to be successful or happiness. 

I am sure many people thought of them as foolish or irresponsible. In my mind they were actually the exact opposite. They were smart with their money. They loved each other very much. They made many decisions that other’s I am sure disagreed with, but I can say in the end I believe that they LOVED their life.

So don’t let this weeks headlines determine your fate, don’t let some crazy person’s opinion on T.V. or a maybe not so good friend make your decisions.

Think of your ability to make decisions about your life as your freedom! Remember those that have gone through not so good times and choose freedom for their lives.

Here is my sister, Zeek, Grandma Francis, and me at Grandpa’s funeral. Who knows what she is thinking. 🙂

Have your chosen your freedom today?



About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.

18 Responses to 9/11 A Different Approach

  1. Angela White says:

    Your post about your grandparents Don and Francis reminder a lot of my own grandparents…makes me all teary eyed. They also have been through so much and yet live on their own terms with very full lives of love and activity in their 80’s. If Paul and I can end up like them (or your grandparents) I think we will have lived life the way God intended us.

    Sending hugs,

  2. Paz says:

    Yes! Your grandparents also came to my mind. I feel that we allow way too much of our society to influence us. What ever FOX news says we eat it up and let it determine who we are. I wonder what the world would be like if they had done that. Totally agree and miss you lots!! Please say hi to your Grandma for me.
    Lots of love,

  3. Genevieve Garzon says:

    This is why I love you. 🙂

  4. Rob says:

    Indeed.. I can’t help but look around me at my country filled with fat people with a sense of entitlement who lose their minds if the cable or power goes out for a few hours and wonder – how can these people be the descendants of people who packed their worlds onto ships and set out for a new continent, never to see “home” again. Or their descendants who did the same thing with covered wagons to hack a new life out of the west?

    All while raising families, living good lives, and striving to make things better for their country and their communities.

    It’s this attitude around me that is keeping kindled the fire of the idea to sell it all and start living a travelers life.

    Your grandparents sound like great folks who lived (or are living) life to the fullest!

    • Paz says:

      Rob – Thank you! I completely agree that people get worked up over the smallest things and are very privileged. You wonder how we have forgotten what our ancestors had to go through so that we could be so comfy.

      That is exactly why we decided to live a travelers life. If you have been thinking about it then, you should do it!

  5. Rob says:

    I’m in the process of formulating “the plan”. After posting that last message I started thinking more intensely about it, and remembered that while I love travel I also love having a home to return to. I did the ex-pat thing years ago living in Sweden for 4 years and it was pretty great. I suppose I’m doing that now, living in Colorado having been born in Canada, but the USA feels like home now, more so than Canada. I guess I’m a long-term ex-pat now 🙂

    I suppose the most important thing is not to feel 100% satisfied with your situation and constantly embrace change.

    I leave for two weeks in Croatia in a week, and then off for a month in Europe next summer. And who knows what else? Life has a way of presenting opportunities..

    • Paz says:

      It is always nice to have a home to come or go home to, however you view it. That is a comforting thing. I know many times we also think of our home being a warm fuzzy place that will always feel amazing. 🙂 Congrats on embracing the long-term expat life. That is something we hope to embrace sooner rather than later. hehehe Let us know how Croatia is and everywhere else you get the bug to visit. Love hearing everyone’s stories.

      • Rob says:

        I shall keep you updated. I’ll be taking my iPad with me and making notes of what I see, as well as photos. I’ll drop you an e-mail when I return.

        The advantage of the ex-pat life, or the traveler’s life I suppose, is that you get to pick “the place” or “the places” that you call home. So many people I know (not here in Boulder, but elsewhere) are living insufficiently fulfilled lives because there’s nothing for them where they live. But they won’t even consider finding their passion in another part of the country or in a different country. I believe they are afraid, although they all have a vast array of what I’m realizing are standard “easy” excuses why change is impossible.

        Following your passion can be scary, but it seems it’s always fulfilling!

        • Paz says:

          Rob, you are right they are afraid. I know at one point in our life we were afraid too, but once you go it is funny how all of your fears are diminished and then replaced with freedom. Keep us posted and we would love to see pictures! Thanks for keeping it real!

  6. Rob says:

    I was sitting in the Munich airport a few days ago waiting for my flight to Italy and the airport announced that flights to the USA had to have special security checks. All I could think was that I live in a nation of cowards.

    On the other hand I’m surviving Croatia and its drivers, and roads without guardrails just fine, so maybe there is at least one exception to the coward rule! 🙂

    If anyone ever offers a trip to Croatia, say yes. A great place!

  7. Paz says:

    Surprisingly we had to go through many security checks when going on a domestic flight in China. They even asked to body scan our 18 month old….not sure what he might be hiding in that diaper of his. If they want to change it I have no problem. I have heard good things about traveling to Croatia! Have fun in Italy!

  8. Rob says:

    Fascinating. I wonder what china is afraid of? I guess their Muslims must be restless too. Or perhaps they have their own internal problems.

  9. Rob says:

    I forgot to update this. Despite the warning, I had no “extra” security when boarding my flight to the USA. Just the “tiny airport” security check in Trieste.

    • Paz says:

      That is good to hear. I HATE unexpected security checks. It adds so much extra hassle into traveling and sometimes it feels like it takes the fun out of your airport experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • About Us

    We are a family of four: dad, mom, sister, brother, who decided to leave our job, home, and community to live life in China. After a year abroad we decided to become permanent nomads. We road school our children and try to enjoy every minute.

  • Learning With Lupita

  • Contact Us

    We would love to hear from you. Have a question about China, or living and working abroad? We are here to help.

    Skype: paz.chentnik
    Connect on Facebook