A Gift of a Lifetime: My Daughter’s Sweet 16

The author (in the blue shirt) enjoying a week in London during the Olympics where the family celebrated a special birthday.

My daughter, Jasmina, has turned 16.

Before her birthday, my husband, Ming, and I, asked her what she wanted for her special day. Jasmina told us that she did not want a huge party extravaganza, which I had proposed initially. Instead, she said, she would prefer to spend some time away with her family in London.

I liked that idea, and the entire family would enjoy it. Besides, we had enough frequent flier airline miles from Ming’s many business trips to cover all four of our round-trip tickets to London. Jasmina, however, went further with her birthday wish and told us that it would be even better if we could attend the summer Olympics — a longtime dream of hers. She had been wanting to go to for quite some time.

At first, we thought, “Wow, it’s going to be impossible to fulfill that request.”

Olympic tickets for her daughter's Sweet 16 celebration.

Olympic tickets for her daughter’s Sweet 16 celebration.

Well, with a lot of patience, and perseverance, we managed to get tickets for the basketball event and the closing ceremony. And, as an added bonus, we surprised our Jasmina with tickets to the Warner Brothers London studio tour.  The tour would provide a great opportunity to look at the original Harry Potter behind-the-scenes displays of magnificent sets, costumes and props. Jasmina had read every Potter book and watched all of the movies.

Our travel schedule to London would have us arriving at the tail end of the Olympics. So, I asked, why not head to Paris first? So, we are now going to Paris as well.

I’m really going to enjoy this trip even more because I’ll have the chance to head over to 101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Yes, the location of the world-reknowned Louis Vuitton store. I’ve never shopped there and was told, by others who had been there, that the prices of the items in Paris were much better than those sold in the United States, especially after the VAT (value added tax) refund, and even after the exchange rate which is currently 1 Euro to 1.23US Dollars.

On this trip, everyone will have the chance to do something that they really want to do. Jasmina will have the opportunity to watch, on one stage, the greatest athletes in the world while vacationing in her favorite city. My husband, Ming, and son, Ryan, will have the thrill of watching basketball’s “Dream Team” play their favorite sport. As for me, whether or not I make that purchase at the Louis Vuitton store, we’ll have to see.

I already have the best in life that I could ever wish for… I am truly grateful and blessed to have my family.

Au revoir and cheers. ♥