Giving thanks: you helped my kid’s video to win!

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships, Travel 16 Comments

Back in September, I asked for your help in “liking” and watching a video that my daughter Gabi made about her summer camp trip to Tanzania. Guess what — she won!

The photo here is of us at JFK International Airport on that July afternoon when she set out for that adventure.

The journey changed her from a somewhat spoiled 17-year-old suburban kid to a young woman who is much more self-aware, motivated and thankful.

She went to Tanzania to help build a village school room under the auspices of Rustic Pathways, an organization that offers great travel experiences for teens. When she came back, the Rustic folks ran a best video contest for campers and Gabi just took first prize. Given a choice between Final Cut Pro software and a video camera, she chose the camera.

As regular readers know, it was the first time Gabi initiated any kind of competition for anything. My blog post about that was a mother’s moment of watching her child explore her place in the world.

From that vacation, she went on to the current fall semester of her senior year in high school. The college applications process has been very stressful but she is holding up. And the ability to go forward with a brand-new video camera will definitely give her confidence.

So thank you all, for being part of my extended family! Big, big hug. xoxoxoxo. Mwah, mwah!

Speaking of exploring our roles in this world, when I first began blogging during the 2008 Thanksgiving weekend, it was my own moment of testing what might be out there. And you were waiting for me…

Through the various incarnations of both this blog and myself, you held me steady. Now your support for Gabi is embracing the next generation of my family. What more could I ask for?  :)

There are not enough words to express what I’m feeling right now. Instead of blathering on, I hope you’ll simply accept my heartfelt best wishes to you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And many, many thanks for your comments, emails and subscriptions to this blog. You’ve kept me — us, my family — going!

P.S. — Just in case you missed it, here’s Gabi’s video, which is posted both here and on YouTube. As of this moment, it has gotten a very, very respectable 449 hits.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you all !!!


Having Gabi away on that trip was a life lesson for me, in case you want to read more:

Can I be more than Mommy? (July 5, 2012)

Food is Fun, (July 24, 2012)

Comments 16

  1. Betty: Your blog and friendship is one of the many things I am thankful for today. Best wishes to you, your family and your readers for a truly warm and happy Thanksgiving.

  2. What a wonderful movie! Gabi did a great job! She deserved both the camera AND the software. Above all, glad to see that YOU survived the brief separation! I mean really: who missed who more? (Smile)

  3. Great news! So happy to ”vote” and feel like I made a difference. I hope your daughter enjoys the new camera and her next experiences.

    I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this blog and all its resources. It’s a go-to place as well as a cozy place. And its very brave of you to share so much of yourself with us readers week after week.

    Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you, your daughter, and loved ones.

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    Aw, you’re all gonna make me cry. Thank you, thank you. :)

    Toby, I am just as thankful for you. Your continued kindnesses and personal stories always make me smile. And your book is sitting on my night table. It is on my list; can’t wait to read it.

    Stephen, I am so proud of Gabi. She really threw herself into this video project — with ZERO input from me. That was the best part. It’s great to watch her find her passions. Btw, you totally nailed me because I really, really missed her while she was gone!

    Skye, your vote did indeed count; thank you! While the kids didn’t need the most likes to win, having the social media component in the contest was an important lesson for the contestants in marketing themselves. Talk about brave — thank you for all the stuff that you’ve shared in your comments on this blog. You def helped make this a cozy space. :)

  5. Ahhhhh! That’s so great! Happy Thanksgiving! Btw, we are going to my Chinese mother’s house for thanksgiving tonight. We had to wait till my kids were old enough to not drop any food on her WHITE carpet. So, I am thankful that she brought food over to my house for 9 years prior. Enjoy your day!!!

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    Thanks, Jackie! And oh my, a white carpet??? Why white — or do we NOT want to go there to that topic on such a blessed day? Haha. Well, it’s nice that she came to your house all those years. Have a wonderful, wonderful dinner. My mom always made the best turkey stuffing out of sticky rice, Chinese pork sausage, water chestnuts, scallions and black mushrooms. Thanks for reminding me of the good old days and hope you have fun tonight!

  7. To everybody who watched my video and/or “liked” it, thank you so much! It’s so nice to have fans on my mom’s blog, even though I’m sure half of the stuff she says makes me sound like a rotten teenager. (Not that I deny that I can be!)

    It’s so exciting to have won this contest because as I’ve been looking at schools, I’m realizing that I’m more interested in film than I originally thought. As of now, I think I want to double major in film studies and something else, perhaps psychology? But this decision is by no means final and changes practically monthly. Either way, I’m sure I want to do something creative, and winning this contest has given me more confidence to think that I can really do that. So again, thank you so, so much for all of your kindness and support!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

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    Sweetie Pie — I do NOT always make you sound like a rotten teenager. I’m very proud of you and happy that you won. Very nice too, for you to share your college plans here. Whatever happens, I just want you to make a choice that leaves you happy. And I’m sure you will do just fine. Congrats again. xoxoxox

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  10. Me,
    Congrats Gabbi! pretty up beat video! Yea, maybe you should consider art school (my brother graduated from the Art Insitutue of California) What I liked about your video is that it had a theme which set the mood you were looking for.
    When you find a school and get started remember that all those general ed classes they make you take are for your benefit. Don’t just be satisfied with what is offered though. Let me give you an example from my experiance to show what I mean.
    When I was an undergraduate I would look at the books to decide which classes I wanted to take. This is a big help over just the course cataloge especially since diffrent professors often chose diffrent books FOR THE SAME COURSE! Anyway, they had a course on Logic for General Ed and i thought the book sucked. They had a another book for a Graduate course in Logic. The book, logic for matimaticians, was a alot smaller. Since i was a math major I though this would more appropreate. So I scheduled an appointment with the Dean. With the Deans permission they let me take the class which was a much better experience.
    I took many graduate courses as an undergraduate, including one Ph. D. class. When I was considering grad school. I was asked what books I had used as an undergrad. Then the department head said “Well you have buy any books, we are using those exact same books”
    I hope this helps at least in some small way.

  11. It’s nice to hear from you, Gabi! Thanks for sharing the video with all of us. I’m sure this is an exciting time to consider your educational options. When you find the right fit for you, get a mentor in the field. Sound advice your mom has shared.
    Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.

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    MJ and Skye, thank you for your comments to Gabi! I will see if I can get her to swing by and respond later. This being Black Friday, she’s been out shopping. :)

    sos, thank you for commenting and for the compliments!! Can’t get enough of those these days, haha. I know how hard it is to go public so I really appreciate the effort. Hope you’ll drop by again…keep reading!

  13. Excellent video, Gabbi! Congratulations on your win and new camera. Betty, I’m so impressed and inspired by your courage in letting your daughter go to Africa. What a valuable experience you gave her!
    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

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