People of the World

We learned that although they were pursuing different means of achieving it, people on both sides wanted democracy for their country. They wanted to have a voice, and they wanted that voice to be heard.

We also confronted a language barrier when we lived in Vietnam. Within that language barrier, we discovered a lack of everyday courtesies. There was also the lack of making or waiting in lines and the subsequent need to be a little aggressive in most aspects of daily life. Yet as we worked our way through these challenges, we came to learn that actions speak much louder than words. You can show a person your gratitude by investing in your relationship and treating them with respect, not just by saying "please" and "thank you." We learned that the wounds of war and years of living with scarcity and fear were still healing. We learned that Vietnamese parents wanted desperately to provide their children with more opportunities and a better quality of life than they had ever known, and they were willing to work countless hours to make it happen.

In Nepal, we grappled with a major lack of infrastructure—a lack of roads (and pavement), running water, clean water, sanitation, electricity and so on. As we worked through these challenges, we came to learn that the country was in a major natural resource deficit, and as such, Nepal had become the object of a decades-long power struggle between India and China. The Nepali people were working to come up with new hydroelectric power systems and improve infrastructure in other ways, but they had also learned to navigate life in the present moment with an unbelievable amount of grace, gratitude, compassion and joy.