A Second Life to Remember

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CHI’s Second Life Homestay program recently welcomed its newest group, four Japanese retirees who spent two weeks at Laguna Woods, a retirement community, near Los Angeles.

 On June 19th, Tatsunori, Shizuko, Imiko, and Satoru all traveled from Japan to LAX, where they were greeted and welcomed to America by CHI Area Administrator Darla Cherry and Teacher Coordinator Dana Herman.  Darla and Dana escorted the new Second Lifers to their homestay in beautiful Laguna Woods.  The community joined in greeting its newest members, as they arrived to a lovely welcome party.  Mr. Murota, or ‘Tatsu’ as he is affectionately known, put his heartfelt emotions into words by saying “What a fantastic day for me.  My dream of coming to the USA has finally come true!”

 Over the course of their two weeks here, the four friends took in as much of the local scenery as they could, touring the area numerous times.  They also enjoyed more simple pleasures such as going swimming, playing pool, and having picnics in Laguna Beach.  One of the highlights was exploring the tide pools at Treasure Island Beach.

 Unfortunately, their stay had to end sometime, and it certainly felt much too soon.  Those feelings didn’t dampen the mood, however, as the foursome went out the same way they came in – with a party.  This time it was a festive sayonara party.  In one of the evening’s more memorable activities, each of the four participants shared a different traditional Japanese custom with their hosts.  Shizuko demonstrated flower arranging, Imiko showed everyone a tea ceremony, and Satoru gave a lesson on origami.  Tatsu, meanwhile, taught the guests about haiku, and wrote the following beautiful poem about his experience:

  In California June gloom at the Laguna Woods Village

My dream has come true

I am inspired by glorious American life style

CHI thanks Darla, Dana, and everyone at Laguna Woods for making this Second Life Homestay experience a great one for four wonderful people, and hopes to see Tatsu, Shizuko, Imiko, and Satoru all again in the future.  We’ll miss you!

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