The May 1st holiday is nearly upon us. Schools will have 1 day off on Friday but for myself, I’ll be taking a longer break than usual.
Ji Ke (Jason), my former student from 2 years ago, is doing his student teaching near Chengdu. He is almost finished with his 2-month student teaching course and has invited me to visit his school and his students before the holiday begins. I’ll therefore be leaving for Chengdu on Tuesday, visiting his school on Wednesday and enjoying my May 1st holiday with his family in the countryside.
Just as a reminder, Jason is the young man whose 24-year-old sister was in need of a heart procedure last year due to a congenital heart defect. She was given a few years to live without the procedure and was rapidly becoming weaker and more frail every day. Because Jason’s family was so poor, affording this operation was nearly impossible. The cost was $5,000, which, as is customary in China, had to be paid up front or the patient wouldn’t be treated. Jason’s parents, both farmers and part-time workers for factories, borrowed as much as they could but were still short. I feel very blessed that I was able to make up the difference.
Now, a year later, we have a bright, energetic, vibrant young woman on our hands who is full of life and happiness.
I was excited to hear she currently has a boyfriend, and a very serious one at that. He has already left his own home in the far south (quite unusual for the only son to leave his parents) and moved in to live with the Li family.
According to Jason, his parents truly appreciate all he’s been doing for the family. Not only does he care deeply for Jason’s sister, but he brings in extra money from his work as a floor-plan designer for buildings. Because Jason’s family lives in the Sichuan earthquake zone, his talents are of particularly good use at this time. Construction work on new houses has, and will be, going on for some time to give the homeless thousands a sturdy place to live. Many are still in make-shift tents and shelters so the drive to rebuild is extremely important.
The doctors have also informed Jason’s sister that in another year, she should be able to have children after her heart is completely healed. In other words, there’ll definitely be a wedding in the works for 2010.
I’m truly looking forward to visiting Jason’s school and his family this week. Be assured I’ll have many stories to tell of visits to the countryside and also time spent with Jalin. Little Flower, as always, will be traveling along in her carrier while Little Old stays here in my apartment to be cared for by her babysitters, my students Carol and Rita.
So until later news, I’ll leave you now with our usual Ping An (peace) and hope your May Day is a great one!