Kelen calls me her sister. Like many Chinese, she is enamored of my knowledge of her language and culture. She is also proud of her heritage and feels even more pride when I show her the deep respect that I have for her people, country and perspectives. Consequently, Kelen and I became fast friends.
Last summer when I led the second Chow Fun Women in China trip, I made sure that Kelen would be our guide. I had to request Kelen's services early, otherwise she might be assigned to another group. Once that happens, there is no switching. There is not as much choice in China as we have here in the US. I respect that so I book early.
This was the first all-women group that Kelen had led, and only the second one that she had heard of since the beginning of her employment with the agency. The first one was the first Chow Fun Women in China trip five years prior, in 2012. She was so excited to be part of a group of American women that she invited us to her apartment. She could not have been more proud, showing us off to her neighbors and friends. We met Kelen's husband, ate watermelon and saw her balcony garden. She took us to her favorite neighborhood restaurant and ordered a delicious and spicy meal.
While I do have particularly special relationship with Kelen, in general, Chinese are gracious hosts. It is hard to reciprocate in the same way when they come to the US because we generally don't roll out the red carpet for our guests. Whether we get a chance to visit Kelen in her home or do spontaneous dancing in a local park or play cards with the locals, each Chow Fun tour has remarkable, and life-changing, experiences. Join us!