As I stood in the airport in Taipei, Taiwan saying goodbye to my new friends, Nicole Hsieh and Joanna Chang, I suddenly felt emotional. We had just met 3 days before but had spent almost every waking minute together during my short trip there. I had come to speak at a leadership forum that also included a nonstop schedule of lunch and dinner banquets, press interviews, panel discussions and meetings with prominent business owners, politicians and women advocates. Nicole and her company, Circle Square, had organized my trip while Joanna had been at my side to assist with language translation and cultural nuances.
There are many special memories from my trip but it was the special connection with new friends that made it especially hard to say goodbye. Friendship formed in the moments before and after events where we shared details of our lives, our families and cultures. It was the curiosity to learn more about each other and the generosity to share aspects of ourselves that formed our new bond. To connect with another human, through shared story, is the joyful part of life. We are reminded of how much we share in common as human beings even when we are from different countries and different cultures. My friendship with Nicole and Joanna is the real treasure that I took home with me from Taiwan.