I’m happy to say, this summer has not been boring, nor has it been overwhelmingly stressful. It’s my first full summer in China. I’ve used the standard-foreigner-contract round-trip air ticket each of my three years here, but this year I used it for the Christmas holiday instead of the summer. I’m very glad I did, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll do again very soon. It required doing lots of make-up classes during the fall semester because I had to miss the last three weeks of the term in order to be home for Christmas! It was wonderful to be with my family there, singing the Messiah and going to the Christmas Eve Service, but I found that I missed the Christmas Eve caroling and Christmas morning get-together at my “family’s” apartment here. Yet another example, I suppose, that life moves on as we grow up and grow older.
About two weeks ago, I found out that I would be able to join a trip to Hong Kong. I had expressed interest and been put on the waiting list. The tour group, Western Express Club, is organized by a travel agency here. They take groups of children down to Hong Kong for a whirlwind tour, and one of the selling points to the well-off parents is that they take a foreigner along as one of the chaperones to speak English with the children.
My first response to the news was to find a cat-sitter. Once that was settled, I quickly packed up and got ready to go. I met 14 of the 17 children that Saturday (7/12), went back to “regular life” for Sunday and Monday morning (including teaching my once-a-week July class) and then we met at the train station Monday afternoon. I’ll write about the rest of the journey in entries dated the actual dates of travel. I feel a bit like I’m cheating or lying to change the dates on them from today’s to the days they happened, since I imagine that blogs are supposed to be “live,” but that’s the way my blog is. I’ve found that it’s too difficult to access for me to add to it regularly, so I add several entries at once and just change the dates to match the contents.