Five years ago, I was gifted a surprise trip to Tucson to attend my 25yr Up With People Reunion…click here for more information about Reunion 2011! Well, as hard as it is to believe, five years have passed already and last week marked my cast’s 30 year milestone! Once again, Rolf and I packed our bags for what was sure to be another memorable trip. What made this year’s experience even better than 5 years ago is the fact that I knew we were going so I had the pleasure of anticipating all the fun AND we made it a family road trip adventure! So. special.
It’s impossible to have an UWP encounter and NOT come away with a deep, deep appreciation for the unique experience I shared with 120 cast members/staff 30 years ago. Looking back on our yearlong, international tour, I’m amazed at the depth of friendship then and thrilled by the genuine friendship we still share thirty years later! Cast C ’86 had over 50 cast members in attendance at this year’s reunion (a remarkable turnout) and it was an absolute JOY to squeeze every moment of our 3 days together to hug, reminisce, hug, catch up on family news, hug, share heartaches, hug, celebrate the triumphs and, most importantly, laugh (oh, and hug some more)!!!! 😉 At one point, as Wilson and I walked back to our room after a late night cast meeting, he said to me “Mom, it’s so fun watching you have so much fun!”. So. sweet.
The highlight of the reunion for me was, by far, introducing my kids to this special group of friends and vice versa. I can’t tell you how many times a cast member came up to the kids and said “you don’t know me, but I know who you are because I stalk your family on Facebook”. ha ha As I expected, my kids fell in love with this crazy extended family of mine and Rudy was thrilled with all the extra attention!!!
We managed to carve out some quality family time as well…
After experiences like this, I can’t help but think about a prayer I prayed shortly after Rudy’s diagnosis and again after his open heart surgery when he encountered one set back after another…I prayed that he would live long enough to be known and that his life would be remembered! 🙂 That prayer continues to be answered…beyond my expectations. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to introduce Rudy and the big sibs to another special international community in my life. Already looking forward to more memory making moments at #35!!!