Over the weekend, I hosted two book release events in Bemidji and Minneapolis.
My book, Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China, is about the experiences I had and insights gained when living in China for eleven months from 2010-2011. From teaching little Chinese children to visiting the embalmed corpse of Mao Zedong, it was a varied and intriguing year that I was eager to share. So I compiled all the material I wrote over the year, and shaped it into this book.
I finished the book in December and held two release events on the 4th and 5th of January.
The event was held at the Bemidji Library on that cold Saturday afternoon. The library was great to offer their meeting room for a fair price. Mom and I arrived early to set up food and books. And by 1:30, the room was fairly full of family and friends:
Right before I went on, I got a bird’s eye view of the space:
I got everyone’s attention, thanked them for coming, and opened with the story of how I came to take writing seriously. (Turns out family was responsible for this as well.) After graduating college in 2005, I wrote some thank you cards to those who gave me gifts. Many people liked what I wrote in the cards, and Mom said to me, “You should be a writer for Hallmark.” I realized writing was pretty natural when it came from the heart.
I then shared how my first independent travel experience was also motivated by family by visiting my cousin in Boston in 2006. After that trip, I guess I got the “travel bug” and planned more domestic, and eventually, international travels. Then, of course, came the decision to live abroad.
Fittingly, my year in China brought me right back to my stomping grounds in Bemidji, Minnesota to share my book with my family and friends:
Then I began to read and share tales of life in China:
After talking about teaching abroad, learning tai chi, and touring a factory, I wrapped up the presentation.
The following day, I had my second book release party. I have fewer family down here in the Twin Cities, but more acquaintances. The weather was equally impending on this frigid Sunday afternoon, but like Saturday, the cold proved no match for the the fortitude of friends curious about this book of mine.
Without Mom around to help set up the spread, I employed the help of an old childhood neighbor friend of mine:
I arrived mid-morning to set up for the afternoon event:
Two o’ clock rolled around and people started rolling in. Before long, friends, family, and acquaintances filled the room:
As it happened the day before, I sold some books and was surprised people actually wanted me to sign them. I happily obliged. And when the mingling started to taper, I announced the start of the presentation.
This time, I began by talking about the dedication page of my book. My grandpas were the inspiration, both sides coming together for the whole that contributed to my effort:
Then I got into the storytelling.
I started by sharing about some everyday sights in China like my apartment residents playing ping-pong:
Then I got to the once-in-a-lifetime experiences like practicing martial arts on a mountaintop:
During these book events, I also shared about teaching children English, seeing (and interviewing) beggars on the streets, and being asked to model for my a school’s brochures. The book is full of such experiences, and from each of them came an insight about humanity–charity, education, how we treat nature, how we assume roles in romantic relationships, and more.
That’s why the book is titled: Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China
I’m grateful to everyone who came out. I’m honored people enjoyed the show. I’m thankful for the feedback as writing is useless without a reader.
It was a privilege to be able to share these stories. And if you’d like, I can share them with you, as well. Learn more about the book (synopsis, price) at this link.
To read a sample, click on the black box on the upper right hand sidebar of this website.
Lastly, and to preview my next article, these two book events were more than just a display of my writing. They were also a demonstration of the eBook versions of Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China.
With audio, video, color photo, and even places to comment, the interactive version is another article entirely. Look for that within the next couple days.