The jumping off point
Trip Start Jul 04, 2011
14Trip End Jul 21, 2011
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Where I stayed
Frank & Kathy's Home
What I did
visited - and stayed up all night (so far)
My mother was always fascinated by Asia - the culture, the art and the food. She was interested in Feng Shui before it had a name (at least in the western world). It is these images, and this sense of connection to something my mother would loved to have done, that create an overwhelming sense of awe as we prepare to embark on our journey.
On the other hand, my students - ages 13-20, hop on a plane and fly to the US, from China, often alone - to study and prepare for their futures. They often come knowing they will not return home for months, never having spoken English with native speakers, and having no way - initially - to even reach home without the help of "strangers". Remarkably, most seem rather unimpressed by this adventure; excited, and often daunted by the work once they arrive, but generally a bit like the average business traveler, " it's my job, I miss my family/friends, but ya - and it is kinda cool." Most of us work with, study with and socialize with people from all over the globe these days. It is not unusual to to hear other languages being spoken, smell non-native spices at meal time or have no idea when we meet someone where (on earth) they are from. As common place as this has become - this has not always been the case. In fact, merely a half century ago you could often tell what part of a city a person came from just by their expressions or style. I LOVE that the world is merging so! I love that my children are growing up in it! And I believe it is the only chance we have for global peace and sustainability. That being said, I still can't believe I am about to visit, explore, experience China and Tokyo!! "How cool is that?!"
Last Tuesday I put my youngest child on a plane to Spain. I sent him to stay with a family I have never met, in a town I didn't know the name of. Well, I actually do know one of the children from the family he is staying with, and another student who stayed with them, so I have every confidence he is safe. And the funny thing in this cell phone age--I don't have to know where he is to reach him & hear his voice (reassuring me he is fine.) I appreciate however, that I do have a land-line for the family, and that there is e-mail and his summer "mom" is a great communicator. He celebrated his 18Th birthday Sunday, and is having an amazing time - but even he is a bit awed by the realization that tomorrow we will be in Asia. (Europe, you see, is "just across the pond" - especially when you live on the East Coast; but Asia...WOW!)
I knew this wasn't "just" a trip to Europe (which I still think is a big deal) when Mark started packing and preparing for this trip several days in advance. So, the house is reasonably clean and organized, the dogs have a comfortable set up for their "home-alone" adventure w/ Mona & Tom, and he was literally packed 2 - days ago -- something he generally does the morning of. We came to NJ today to visit with our dear friends Kathleen & Frank & their kids. We are always looking for an excuse to visit with them -- but this also means we have a ride to the airport in the morning. What I wasn't expecting however was the benefit of having a seasoned world-traveler share his expertise right when it suddenly has relevance. So, I blame Frankie for the fact that it is 2:54am and Mark & I are wide awake - blogging. (Yes, I also blame him for my extensive rambling as well. But I know at least Joan will appreciate it.)
Our flight is scheduled to depart at 11:00 am EST. We are scheduled to arrive in Shanghai almost 15 hours later, at about 2:00 pm China time (DST?). Yumiki, a Darrow senior, returning for her third year in September, will great us at the airport with her parents. I do hope we can manage to at least appear to be capable adults walking off the plane at that point -- as opposed to scruffy,sketchy characters. They will take us to the hotel -- so we can hopefully pull ourselves together before heading off to Yumiki's family's restaurant. And so will begin - our insiders tour of Shanghai.
I expect we will be exhausted, so I won't write much, but I will try and post a few pictures anyway. Wednesday, I believe Z (a second year student, also a senior) will take us for a tour of Shanghai.
Can't say it enough... I am SO excited!!
Marjie ( & Mark)
And for those wanting to know about Drew's trip: Today he went to church with his host family. He said it was, "just like going to church with Mark's family - but in Spanish." (OK, so religious education is definitely an area of weakness in my parenting.) Afterward they returned home for an extended- family meal. His host-father's birthday is Tuesday, so they celebrated together. later Drew went out with some high school boys. They went to the pool, played Call of Duty (video game) and went to the beach. He ate some good, new foods and had a generally good day. He returned for the evening and dinner & called me about 1 am his time - having finished dinner not too long before that. He has also been to the beach a few times, played soccer with some kids and seen some beautiful "chicas" --we may never get him back!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DREW!