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.