The 2-Week Whirlwind Ride
These past 2 weeks of leaving Luzhou have been a whirlwind. I entitle them “The Last Hurah,” although they actually aren’t exactly the finalized steps of saying goodbye yet.
The first week (also the week of final exams) had me being visited by friends and students, banqueted by staff and administrators, packing up belongings into boxes, taking care of the doggies, squeezing in my swimming time and getting those last-minute details settled for my move to Guangxi.
Last Sunday morning, June 28, the movers came to load everything onto the truck. It was a 4-day drive to deliver my things to Longzhou (long-joe), my new school far to the south near the Vietnamese border.
Immediately after everything had been shoved onto the truck (all 69 boxes and small furnishings), Little Flower, Little Old and I left for the capital city Chengdu to prepare our little foster dog for his overseas’ travel to America and my summer visit to the States.
Originally, that was to be my final departure from Luzhou.
But I ran into planning difficulties of not being able to truly say goodbye to some very good friends, as well as my Luzhou church community. Pastor Liao especially was concerned when she heard I was leaving and wouldn’t return.
So a rearranging of my schedule had me in Chengdu for 6 days (June 28 – July 4), getting LO ready for his flight to Shanghai and visiting with Jalin’s family. On Friday the 3rd, LO and I flew to Shanghai for his 6-day kennel stay prior to his overseas’ trip with me. He is currently there at the relocation pet company’s kennel where all his customs forms can be accurately completed.
I then returned to Chengdu, grabbed up a few things and returned to Luzhou with Little Flower so I could have a better closure than the original whirlwind departure.
Back In Luzhou: A Quiet Campus
It’s a strange feeling to be back in my small apartment on the campus, especially as all the clutter and most of my things are gone. The school was very generous in allowing me to return for a few days, even though I am officially no longer their teacher.
The silence of the campus is yet another strange feeling, especially late in the evenings.
During our late-night strolls, all the dormitories are silent with just a few lights on for students who applied for summer stays. Some are here looking for jobs in order to pay for school as their countryside areas have nothing much to offer them as far as work goes. Others don’t have the money to spend to get home as it’s a very long journey. Still others have parents who are migrant workers. They’re across country, in Shanghai or Guangzhou, doing factory work or temporary construction jobs. The students have no way of staying with them as factory dormitories are for workers, not so much family members.
Parents, too, would rather have their kids safely looked after on our campus than roaming about among strange areas where thieves and disreputable people are often found.
I am really appreciating these few days back because I am now able to enjoy my time with the people I like the most. Church yesterday was so appropriate as I had my last communion with the congregation members. Pastor Liao was quite busy with a visiting Chengdu Theological Seminary pastor so we didn’t have a lot of time to chat but it was enough for a prayer and cheerful farewell.
My dear friend and former dean of this college, “Cathy” Li, and I are spending the evenings together. I’ve already seen her son, “Jack”, after his 1st year as a student in Beijing. Little Flower and I visited her apartment the other evening. Tonight, we’ll be heading out again for dinner.
It’s been a very relaxing, fun return, one which will get me ready for a more adventurous journey soon with Lao-lao (Little Old) on our travel to America.
The Schedule From Now On
Tomorrow, July 7, will see me back to Chengdu.
July 8, Wednesday, Little Flower will be sent to her babysitter’s home (Mrs. He) for her stay there for 3 weeks.
July 9, Thursday, has me in Shanghai with Lao-lao (Little Old) for an overnight at the hotel before we fly out early morning on July 10, Friday, to America.
July 10 to August 3 will have me in Marshall, Illinois, with my parents, and getting important matters taken care of.
On August 5, I will be back in Chengdu. I’ve already planned a re-visit to Luzhou for a few days to spend more time with dear friends there.
Aug. 15, I must visit my new school far to the south to have my work visa completed, which will take 1 week. During that time, I have no passport so I must remain in the small town of Longzhou.
This is actually quite fine with me. It will allow me to unpack, open a bank account and telephone line, meet the locals, go shopping and get myself settled in.
Aug. 23 has me flying directly to Nanjing for our Amity Foundation Summer Conference. We have only 4 new teachers this year, all from Europe. It makes our numbers extremely thin but better four than none.
Aug. 26 has me back in Chengdu to pick up Little Flower from her babysitter’s home. Then we will travel down to Guangxi Province and arrive just in time to begin the fall semester in our new home, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities.
Updates To Come
During the summer, I will do my best to update you on our foster dog’s progress in finding a home as well as other events going on. I hope to have Net access as well in my new placement when I arrive so as to orient everyone to my new surroundings.
80% of Guangxi Province and my area are the Zhuang nationality people, not the Han Chinese, so this will truly be an amazing venture: different landscape, different dialect, different people, different culture and customs, and different church community.
A very exciting way to start off a school year!
Until those further stories arrive, wishing you all Ping An (peace) for your week.