I was driving my youngest to school this afternoon when it suddenly dawned on me that today was February 26th. It’s not a date I think about every year (like my birthday or wedding anniversary). In fact, years have passed when I haven’t thought about it at all.
But something made me think about it today.
February 26, 1998 was the day I left Hong Kong to return to the US.
I can still picture leaving my apartment that evening, sadly and reluctantly shutting the door behind us.
My then-husband and I had a night flight on Singapore Airlines to San Francisco. It was dark and rainy as we pulled our suitcases to the waiting taxi downstairs. I was five months pregnant with my first baby.
I can’t recall much about the drive to the old Kai Tak airport or waiting in the departures terminal. But I remember the flight wasn’t full, so I had a row of empty seats on which to stretch out. Back then flights had smoking sections, and I can still conjure up the strong smoke of Chinese cigarettes.
As sad as I was to leave my beloved Hong Kong, I knew I was making the right choice to follow my husband to San Francisco. After all, it would have been inconceivable to chose a city over a person, right?