August 14, a week from today, it’s back to China to start up the new school year along the Yangtze at Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. Where did this month in the States go?!
Obviously, very fast.
Marked Off the List of “Things To Do”
I’m so happy to report that my newsletter was mailed out yesterday, which I’m guessing will stir many recipients to reconnect with me during the next few days. I’m hoping to see a spike in visits during that time. Welcome back, if you’ve been absent for awhile.
This next week is already filling up on my calendar, with several items already checked off the “to do” list.
Every morning, 6 – 8 a.m., it’s my swiming time at the Marshall outdoor pool. That gets me up and running for the day. Yesterday was lunch with Ann Bennet, my high school English teacher. We try to get together whenever I land. Later in the day, it was a Marshall historical society interview about my days in Marshall and China with Damian Macey. He is conducting oral histories for our community and asked if I’d like to participate.
Yesterday evening was our town’s last city band concert, which takes place in the summer every Friday from 8 – 9 p.m. These concerts have been held in the bandstand for 140 years on the Clark County Courthouse lawn. Due to the final summer “Hurrah!”, so to speak, the even was titled Night Out on the National Road. The U.S. National Road runs right through Marshall, thus the appropriate theme. To bring out the crowds, the city gave away 1000 free hotdogs and drinks and birthday cake for the 180th anniversary of the town’s founding. Antique stores opened their doors for shopping, the Gaslight Art Center was open for viewing, kids activities speckled the closed-off streets and the public pool was open from 9 p.m. to midnight.
My mom and I hustled Little Lao-lao uptown to take a look and enjoy the atmosphere of smalltown life.
Still to Complete
Other happenings this next week will include: saying goodbye to the Chinese at our Chinese restaurant (we are good friends), moving furniture out on the porch for the carpet cleaners, St. Mary-of-the-Woods Taize service on Tuesday evening, shopping with my mom for various items I’d like to take back with me, coffee with Pastor Lewis and Melly Momo, a newly assigned pastor to our area from Africa, packing a few boxes to be mailed back to China and whatever else I can fit in before dragging the suitcase out the door to pack into the car.
There was (and still is) some hope that we can have the headstone set on my father’s grave, plus a little ceremony as we spread his ashes. Due to the amount of rain Illinois had last month, that was becoming difficult to arrange but we’ve had quite a dry spell for awhile. We (Mom, my older brother and I) are hoping this can take place before my departure. We’ll see.
For the final U.S. farewell, my high school classmate, Pam, is in charge of driving me to the Indianapolis airport hotel for an overnight together before I fly out on a 7 a.m. flight to Detroit, then to Shanghai, then to Chengdu and the last leg of my trip, which is a 3 1/2 hour busride to Luzhou. It’ll be a LONG trip, as you can imagine.
I do have a few more stories to add but I’ll save those for another day.
Until then, Ping An (Peace) for your weekend!
Hi, Connie…..yes, your newsletter arrived in our mailbox. ‘Especially enjoyed the article on The 9th English Language Pay Contest….the students really are creative. What a fun evening for ALL. Your report on the Easter Service again reflects the energy and faith and generosity one finds among the faithful in China. I continue to marvel at the successes my former students are having as they have moved into society and the job market. Your students are so fortunate to have you to coach/cheer them on as they pursue life after the classroom.
You give such life to your own community here in the States…..small towns have so much to offer as we were reminded last week as we visited Mt. Hope, KS. (Pop. 816). I haven’t enjoyed myself quite so much since China. We were surrounded by fields of soybeans, had 3 steers to feed, and activities daily at the Senior Center to enjoy with new friends. Always, Kate