I used 65,000 of our 400,000 frequent flier miles and booked a flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco to Los Angeles so I could walk in the door of the mortuary and give these people the surprise of their lives.
My cousin Kelly, through sobs: What are you doing here?
Me, choking back tears of my own: This is the family viewing, right? I'm family. I'm here.
I spent four days soaking up the love of my family, grieving, laughing through tears, buying American candy, eating In-N-Out Burger (twice) and Mexican food (every day), and then jumped back on a plane to return to my husband and children. It went by way too fast. I didn't see anywhere near all the people I would have liked to see, and since I didn't mention the fact that I was in town to anyone, friends who found out after the fact are a little bewildered. But I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to hug my cousins, hold my Aunt's hand, put my arm around my little brother, tell everyone how much I love them, and share the burden of grief over my Uncle's passing. The daily dose of guacamole was just an added bonus.
I flew home to Macau on Leap Day (my cousin Leah's birthday!) and since the International Date Line is crossed while travelling this direction, I completely missed out on doing anything spectacular to mark the occasion. Though I'm pretty sure showing up out of the blue from China to surprise my loved ones has to be one of the most spectacular things I've ever done.