The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

My Friend Lorena

My Friend Joe

Rochelle, John, And Autumn

Rochelle And Daughter Autumn

My Friend Jade, Husband Roger, And Son Ryan

"Shaka Brah"--My Nephew Jacob And Brother Warren

My Friend Luc Who Works For Tatung

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2006. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. Back in the Fall of 2004, I volunteered to be a mentor to a first year law student (called a 1L) at my alma mater, UCLA Law School ("UCLAW"). My mentee was a former Marine named John. At the time, I was still employed as an in house attorney for a PC manufacturer. Fast forward to today (after I have travelled the world for 16 months), John is now in his third and final year of law school. I got together last night in Westwood for dinner and drinks with John and a former colleague from my prior law firm in Hawaii, Steve, now working as a business litigator in LA. Earlier when I told Steve that I would be inviting my mentee, Steve was incredulous that I could be a mentor given my current circumstances. His next reaction was that he thought John might need some further counseling after having had me as a mentor. Admittedly, I've probably had one of the more interesting career (or perhaps non-career) paths of any mentor at UCLAW. This past summer, John worked as a summer associate at DLA Piper, a prestigious international law firm. He was subsequently offered and accepted a full time position upon graduation. (Congratulations, John! Your success was entirely due to your diligence, hard work, and enthusiasm.) During the course of the evening's conversation, I learned from Steve that one of the partners we worked with in Hawaii, Richard Clifton, had a mentor at Yale Law School. His name was Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States. Clifton is now Judge Clifton on the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

This afternoon I caught up with a good friend, Lorena, who also previously worked at my former employer. Lorena is now financial controller with a hybrid electric power company.

In the evening, I dined in Manhattan Beach with another friend and fellow attorney, Joe, from the University of Oregon Law School. Recently married, Joe is a commercial litigator living and working in San Diego with his new bride, Lida.

* * *

My renewed passport has arrived after only one week. The efficiency of the US government came as a welcome surprise (although I did pay for expedited service). South America is now simply a plane reservation away.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2006. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. I visited my law school friend, John, and his family--wife Rochelle and daughter Autumn--in Orange County. John hired me to work with him in the legal department of PC manufacturer eMachines. eMachines was acquired by Gateway in early 2004. As is common after mergers, we were both eventually let go from the company due to cost cutting and corporate downsizing. John quickly found employment with Samsung, the major Korean electronics and consumer manufacturer. By the looks of things, he and Rochelle are thoroughly enjoying parenthood.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2006. IRVINE, CALIFORNIA. I met a friend and former colleague, Jade, her husband, Roger, and her six month old son, Ryan, for lunch in Irvine, a city one hour south of Los Angeles in Orange County. Ryan definitely has a couple of great parents. For their part, Jade and Roger are the happiest that I have ever seen. Parenthood does that for many people.

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