The Last Hurrah: Pitstopping in Pittsfield and My Alma Mater, EIU

With my last presentations in Pittsfield, then closer to home in Charleston (home of EIU, my alma mater) and Mattoon, Illinois, I have let slide my postings and reports from the past week.  This is mostly because I’ve only had 4 days to get myself in order for my return to China.

Whew!  Where did the time go?

Before getting to the visuals of my last visits, here’s an update what’s been going on the past few days.

First and foremost, I’ve been hitting the Walmart for gifts for my Chinese friends.  Their American desires have truly added pounds to the suitcase.

“What in the world do they want?” you ask.

Garlic pills, fish oil supplements, multi-vitamin packs and glucosamine joint boosters.  Also on the must-need list were women’s moisturizing facial lotions and eye wrinkle creams.

These requests are all from my older friends from my dog-walking days last year around the campus at Sichuan University.  Quality control in China for health items is an iffy thing.  A majority of Chinese who come to the States for visits load up on these bottles as well for their relatives and friends.   Yes, it certainly weighs me down to stuff all that among my clothes and my own necessities.  But the fact that everyone felt comfortable enough to ask me, the foreigner, to do this for them makes me feel quite special and a part of the culture.  I honestly don’t mind.  Their excitement and gratitude when I place these things into their hands next week will be well worth the leg bruises and muscle aches I’ll be experiencing hauling my luggage through 3 airports and 2 overnights to get it to them. 

Hmmm.  Did that last comment sound like my grandmother, the martyr?  Oh, surely not.  (Wink-wink!)

Other happenings during these past few days before leaving have been getting my new laptop computer set up, having lunch with my dad, managing my last few outdoor pool swims, mailing out 780 copies of my newsletter, sending $300 worth of boxes back to China filled with goodies and making sure our earthquake dog, Lao-lao (Little Old-old), gets plenty of attention before I disappear once again.

Poor little Lao-lao! 

He definitely knows my scurrying about and suitcase packing mean my departure is imminent.  He follows me everywhere, anxiously watching my every move with an alarmed, ears-perked, attentive gaze.  When I walk out the door, he positions himself on the sitting room couch to wait for my re-entry, then wiggles and squeaks with glee when I come back.  I fear it will take several days for him to get back to normal after I leave.  He will definitely need some extra loving and pampering from my mom this next week when I’m gone.

Final Note:  Before leaving this post, my last one for the summer in the U.S., I just want to thank all of you for visiting my site and keeping up on all my travels.  I’ve had a wonderful, blessed time meeting with all of you and can hardly wait for the next 3 years to whiz by for another itineration to take place.

Many best wishes to all!  And here’s sending you Ping An (peace) for your day.

Pittsfield UMC had quite a turn-out for my last long-distance presentation.

Pittsfield UMC had quite a turn-out for my last long-distance presentation.

 overnight hostess, Betty Shive, was  my mom's sorority housemother when she was a student at Western Illinois University many years ago.  Lots of late-night catching up to do for us two!

overnight hostess, Betty Shive, was my mom’s sorority housemother when she was a student at Western Illinois University many years ago. Lots of late-night catching up to do for us two!

I am presented with a lovely prayer shawl from Pam, a faithful Pittsfield UMW member

I am presented with a lovely prayer shawl from Pam, a faithful Pittsfield UMW member

In Betty's home, Betty's friend Don was invited over later that evening so we could chat.

In Betty’s home, Betty’s friend Don was invited over later that evening so we could chat.

Don is quite the folk artist!  Betty's mantle displayed many of his creative wood carvings, which I was so enamored of that I took lots of pictures.

Don is quite the folk artist! Betty’s mantle displayed many of his creative wood carvings, which I was so enamored of that I took lots of pictures.

Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne's famous movie character) and a little hobo.

Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne’s famous movie character) and a little hobo.

 

 

More of Don's talents displayed

More of Don’s talents displayed

These three, with doggies, were my favorites.

These three, with doggies, were my favorites.

Others invited to Betty's home were Jerry and Jane, who remembered my VBS visit from 12 years ago when I taught the kids to say, "Nee How (hello)!"

Others invited to Betty’s home were Jerry and Jane, who remembered my VBS visit from 12 years ago when I taught the kids to say, “Nee How (hello)!”

At Charleston Wesley UMC, my brother's church next to the campus of Easter Illinois University (my alma mater), I posed with Joan Gregg, a great supporter of my time in China with the church

At Charleston Wesley UMC, my brother’s church next to the campus of Easter Illinois University (my alma mater), I posed with Joan Gregg, a great supporter of my time in China with the church

My very last presentation for 2014:  Mattoon 1st UMC for an evening dinner.

My very last presentation for 2014: Mattoon 1st UMC for an evening dinner.

 

 

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
This entry was posted in 2014 Summer Itineration, A Visit Home to America, Return to China, Smalltown American Life, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Last Hurrah: Pitstopping in Pittsfield and My Alma Mater, EIU

  1. Kate Lindsay says:

    2 days to go Connie….do take time to smell the roses as you finish up your packing! Safe travels back to your China home/students. Don’s wood carvings are delightful….thanks so much for sharing them with us all. We have our 2 birdfeeders down for repairs….sitting within 5′ of the sunporch window….the sparrows are having a hay day….makes me kind of want to keep the feeders closer…can see their eyes and watch them peck/select their seeds….and their little tweets are so clear from here. Went this morning to the North Texas Rodeo Parade…..I’ll always be a little kid in this regard……use to go to the 4th of July Springdale, Arkansas rodeo with my mom…she got front row tickets from her company. We’re going to Dallas this evening to a theatre we’ve had season tickets to the last 2 years…..they’ve doing 60 one minute plays tonight…should be interesting. Here’s a link I found of FB this morning….just for fun….I really like the illustrations used: http://www.playbuzz.com/jonb10/how-many-english-words-do-you-actually-know Hope you can see it.
    Will look forward to your note when you’re home.
    Always,
    Kate

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