Lani Shumway

Trip Start Mar 26, 2005
Trip End Apr 13, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Tuesday, March 8, 2005

My name is Lani Anh Shumway from Pelham, MA. I am 33 years old. I was born in Rach Gia City, Vietnam in 1971 where I was "found" by Nuns who brought me to Providence Orphanage in Can Tho; there I was given the name Vo Thi Mai. A woman who worked with Rosemary Taylor made a special trip to Can Tho, in November of 1973, to bring me to Allambie Orphanage in Saigon (with much resistance from the Nuns because I had been promised to a family in Sicily, Italy) where I became known as "Ruth". In November of 1973 my adoptive parents, Earle and Jeanne Shumway, were sent a picture of me in the orphanage. I later arrived through
Canada in February 1974 during the Oil Embargo to my new "home" in Belchertown, MA, where I grew up with two loving-brothers; Kary, who is 2 years older than me and Andrew (Andy), my "twin," who is eleven days younger than me. We all have birthdays in October!

We later moved to Pelham, MA where I have so many fond memories growing up as a child, but always felt "different" from the rest of my family in so many ways. I always knew I was adopted, because my parents never kept it a "secret" from me (I think that is why to this day I have such an open relationship with my family), but never embraced my unique background. I just wanted to "fit-in" with the rest of my friends. In my primary and into my secondary years I struggled with academics (my mom used to tell me the story about how I refused to speak until I mastered the English language), but through my own strength, will, and desire to learn, I began to excel once I reached my collegiate years.

After college I moved to Freeport, ME in 1994 where I worked at the infamous retail store, L.L. Bean, which had always been a dream of mine. I then moved to
Martha's Vineyard, MA to be with my college sweetheart, Alex. We got married after 2 years and lived on the island for 6. Here I became a "Jackie"
of all trades because work on the Vineyard is "seasonal", but I don't regret a minute of it because it helped shape the person I have become. The various places I worked at: Compass Bank (as a teller at the drive through); Marianne's Screen Printing (we held the Black Dog account as well as a majority of the local businesses); Farm Neck Golf Club (where former President Clinton played); The Winter Tide coffee shop (many local musicians played there including James Taylor and family); a dentist office (I was an assistant); and I volunteered for the town ambulance squad as an Emergency Medical Technician - EMT. In 2000, Alex and I moved to Providence, RI to work at an innovative school called, The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, "The Met". Alex became a teacher or "Advisor" for 14 kids, and I was the Executive Assistant for Dennis Littky, one of the co-founders of The Big Picture Company (which founded The Met school), Event Coordinator, and Site Visit Coordinator for 4 years.

Presently, I am divorced and living in Portland, ME with my 7-year-old Black Lab part Dalmatian named Ellie. I am currently working for a high-end kitchen and bath design firm called, Maine Kitchen Design, as the Office Manager. It has taken me years to finally "pursue my passion" in the design field. My boss is a wonderful man who is currently mentoring me so I can eventually become a certified designer. I am also working toward my master's degree in Educational Psychology with a focus on Literacy and Resiliency from Union Institute/Vermont College in Brattleboro, VT and I hope to graduate in the summer. I am incorporating this trip into my thesis and will eventually write my book entitled, "The Courage To Learn".

Lani A. Shumway
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