J Simens.com

946,080,000: Wow, that’s a lot of moments so dear!

Memories are what bind families together around the world. Memories shared are quality time spent with family. Memories are often all we have of past times. 

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose”, wise words from Fred Savage. He played Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years. 


It’s 1968. The Suburbs. And in each little house with a Chevy in the driveway and a TV in the den, there are people with stories…families band together in laughter, hope, love and wonder (season 1).  Its lack of laugh tracks and a single camera set up were revolutionary.

The Wonder Years set itself apart from other shows of its time, production-wise, with its single camera setup, use of a narrator, and complete lack of laugh track. “The Wonder Years [showed the television industry] that it’s OK to create a show like that—to take out the laugh track, to try different camera styles—to take a risk,” said Josh Saviano.

Resilience – one of the most common thread is the quality of time spent with family

Simens Wedding
Simens Wedding


Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear – How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights – in sunsets – In midnights – in cups of coffee – In inches – in miles – In laughter

How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? – Measure in love – Seasons of love


I am usually not one to talk much about my personal romances. Some things are private even if you blog about “home life” and “parenting.”

My first kiss was…

My first love was …

At times, it is hard to remember since Kevin has been a part of my life for 30 years!

At one time I did have a boyfriend younger than I was…

At one time I did date a basketball player …

I remember my first kiss with Kevin…

And I remember the last one…

You will see the reasons for my questions if you watch this film. I love the rainbow in the short movie.  Briand’s Apricot evokes forgotten memories. This movie is a film for the Dreamers, a film for the romantics and a film for film lovers.

APRICOT — A Short Film by Ben Briand from Moonwalk Films on Vimeo.

This year, the day we were to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary, we were apart. It did seem appropriate enough that I was with my flower girl from my wedding 30 years ago but not with Kevin.


I can’t imagine anything better than to be with my flower girl as an adult sharing the things that I love. We were at the Women in Tech conference in NOLA. Collision Conf 2017  was a great event this year. Imagine three women sharing all different backgrounds thriving at a conference. Amy, my flower girl, and niece is a graphic designer, Jackie – my daughter is a computer consultant and myself representing Families in Global Transition, we all found #Collusionconf a treasured experience.

Now back to Kevin, We had spent 946,080,000 seconds in love (not counting the three months we were engaged and the few shorts weeks before that when we met) There are so many things I remember about the last 30 years.

A visible record will provide some perspective

A few things stand out –

When we first decided we would start a ‘global life,’ Kevin wanted to give me a gift to symbolize our move from the USA to Singapore.  Of course, he bought me a lovely gem!  Little did he know that this simple tradition would slowly grow into a beautiful collection with so many International moves under our belts.  I am a firm believer that family traditions are a must for all families but vital for mobile households!  These types of rituals don’t have to be big or expensive – it is the simple traditions that keep a family strong.

When we made our first move from the USA overseas, I remember the excitement. We jointly made the long inventory list. We packed up many suitcases. We stuffed the air shipment full. We moved. We unpacked together and went shopping for our new home together. The last international move, I  updated the inventory. I left and went to the USA for the summer holiday.  Later that year, we packed up our home in Bangkok, Thailand and got it ready to head to Balikpapan, Indonesia.

On that our last international move from Bangkok to Balikpapan – Kevin sent the air shipment off to our son’s college. Kevin unpacked our home in Balikpapan. Kevin then meet me in the USA where I was still on vacation. I didn’t do much for this move.

But, our very last step was when we repatriated to the USA. Being a repatriate is very different than being an expat. We tried to consolidate all of our belongings so they would fit into our USA based home. The work before the actual move was a hard time. The actual move was smooth. We were going back to a fully functioning home, so we had no worries or concerns about the items being sent “home.”  We also could care less when the items arrived. It was a stressless move until the boxes showed up!

It is important that global families are flexible with what works best for them at that moment in time.

When we retired we packed up our expat life together and headed to the USA. We would not be returning to work. We were starting a new life of not “working.” I was excited.

When we first moved overseas, we went as a family of two to Singapore. We had long walks together, fun dinners with lively conversations and many talks about the upcoming trips we would be doing.  Two children later and 18 years with kids in elementary and high school, we are once again alone. When we left Borneo, we were again, a family of two.

Today we are enjoying long walks together, fun dinners and many talks about planning family vacations. Last year,  we jumped on a paddle wheeler and cruised around Emerald Bay. We cruised around Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe. We looked at Vikingsholm, an excellent example of Scandinavian architecture which is a 38-room mansion.

This year we did a beautiful walk on the beach of Lake Tahoe, had champagne in front of the fireplace since it had snowed last night. Then we went to Soule Domain for a wonderful dinner celebration.

It is important that the adults in the family remain close, so the children benefit from the quality of time spent with family.

It had been a great 30 years!


For those family members that flew to the San Francisco Bay area for our wedding, I am glad you were a part of my memories.  We are lucky enough to spend our 25th with about 25 of our best friends in Bangkok, and I am thankful for those memories.

This year we didn’t get 30 of our close friends together, but we wanted to!  So plan to come to Tahoe on May 2nd next year, and we will invite you to our anniversary party!

For Amy and Jackie – thanks so much for attending Collision Women in Tech 2017 with me. Those memories are priceless!

Notes: Movie – APRICOT -A Short Film by Ben Briand
by Moonwalk Films
Winner: Community Choice Award
Voted Best Narrative on Vimeo by its users

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