First things first. This is a picture of my gorgeous granddaughter Harper. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. She’s not dolled up and she looks insane. Wait, maybe you can partially judge a book by it’s cover. Leah (my daughter) was the funniest person I ever knew. When she was a kid she had me in stiches. She could make up the craziest things and I loved watching her. It’s almost spooky how much Harper is like her mother. Leah hasn’t been crazy for a while and she didn’t teach Harper to be crazy, but Harper is a riot. She’s loving, she’s thoughtful, she’s funny, she’s creative, and that’s just a bit.
Our trip was a HUGE success. It was the best money I ever spent. Leah and I have sort have been on the outs for a while and I thought I better go to Austin to try and help fix things up. You can’t really fix things when you are so far apart. It was wonderful. We all got along. I didn’t nag Leah (or at least I hope I didn’t). I gave her space and wasn’t demanding. Leah washed my clothes without complaining (except that I always had laundry which is the same complaint that Shujie has). I met Leah’s new significant other and both Shujie and I were quite delighted. I think the relationship has helped put Leah in a good place. She has Harper and now she has two. I’m thrilled by it.
Harper made asparagus the first night eating at Leah’s, she set the table, and she washed the dishes. That’s at the age of six. I hope Leah enjoys it while it lasts because I’m sure it won’t be forever. Harper called me Martin and called Shujie, Shujie. She remembered Shujie’s name much more easily than mine. I agree with Leah’s reasoning on that: we all called Shujie by her name, but Leah would call me Dad. I don’t mind what she calls me as long as she treats me like family, which she did.
We ate, we bowled, we watched Leah in her skeeball league, and we ate, and we met some of her friends (wonderful people), and then we ate. It took us almost 3 hours to find our hotel from the airport but after that it was no problem. We took a break in the middle of the visit to give Leah some time off and we went to Dallas to see the usual sites. Texas Schoolbook Depository—check. Perot museum of Science and Technology—check. NHL hockey with the Dallas Stars—check. IHOP—check. Denny’s—check. Einstein bagels—check.
All in all it was a fabulous time. Wanting to be a world traveler like me, and having family who I love all over the world is quite the dilemma but cannot really be solved to everyone’s satisfaction. And no one wants to visit China. I don’t get it.
From Austin we went to Florida to see my Mom and her significant other. It was great to see her but my goodness, it’s so boring down there. I liked being warmer than in China and I liked seeing my mom, but that’s it.
We came back to Beijing and started moving into the “cubbyhole” apartment at the school. We got here Friday, Shujie went back to Baoding on Saturday to get more stuff, her son drove here on Sunday to drop it off, and then Shujie went back to Baoding. It should be a few more days until she comes for good.
We are literally in the middle of nowhere. I heard Beijing and I thought lots to do and see. It’s 35 km. to the center of the city but we can take the subway. We went to the local Walmart in the small town shopping on Friday night. I hated it. The school runs trips to better places on the weekend so we’ll check them out.
I am just sitting in classes this week and next week I begin teaching. I will teach Grade 7 and Grade 8 history. Grade 7 is Chinese history so let’s get the Canadian to teach Chinese history in China. You figure it out because I can’t. The people I’ve met so far seem fine (on a “hi, how are you” basis) so we will reserve judgment on students, teachers, staff, and all else for a couple of weeks.
I hope Shujie finds something to do. I worry but she says she can handle everything. I think she needs to think more about herself. We really are in Nowheresville. Who knows what the future holds? And how many times have I written that.
It’s March. The Semester finishes July 14th and then we’ll go to Canada for about 4 weeks. Elana should be living in NY by then so we would like to go visit and see the big city.
The school has a dress code (no jeans, etc.) but today I saw a teacher in jeans. I asked him about it and he said it’s against the rules but no one has said anything to him. I think I will dip my toe in those waters next week.
So hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go. I would really like to be in a different country but no one wants me. I’m old (or so I’m told). There’s always Tomorrow and you can be your bottom dollar that Tomorrow is only a day away.