Sunday, May 22, 2016

Out and about since I've been back

The beautiful horticulture of the Middle Kingdom can't be beat. This is inside my apartment complex, where I take Mimi for walks.
Cute little neighbor girl flashes the "peace" sign
I decided to stop and smell the roses, literally. If only it didn't hurt so much to bend down to smell them.
My veggie seller was sure surprised to see me after my lengthy year-and-a-half hiatus.
I love Chinese food, and I especially like Xingjiang (SHEEN-gee-ong) food that originates from western China. This is a Xinjiang restaurant in the city where I live.
The city has beautiful free public parks. I noticed this little play area was in the shape of "ying-yang."

Before I left Texas

Before I left Texas, some college friends came to bid farewell. In this photo: (l-r) Phil Moore, Laura and James Wilson, Jane Collette, Andy and Patsy Phillips, me, Mark Thomasy, Cindy and Bruce Welch. My parents, Laura's mom LaVerne, my niece Valerie and my nephew Nathan were also there. I had bronchitis at the time, and was kind of "out of it," so I didn't get to visit as well as I would have liked, and I can't remember some of it either (meds?) but I will never forget their gesture of love at coming together on my behalf. Thanks to you all!

P.S. For the record, this is not my hairdo of choice. This is what you get when you let your hair grow out after 11 months from a state of baldness.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Catching up

Since arriving back in town, I've tried to catch up with some of my previous friends. I met with Oscar and Damian at Starbucks. These great young men are kind of like my local little brothers. They are the ringleaders of a group of young people that I often meet up with. It was so good to see them again and to know that their lives have gone well over these past couple of years. I have quite a few others I need to catch up with soon as well. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Elephants never forget

After a year and a half in Texas, in a one-level home that has a fenced in backyard with grass, you'd think this little Pekingese might have been confused when she returned to her high-rise apartment, elevator, in-door potty training expectations, and all the other things that are different in her life in the Middle Kingdom.

She acted like she hadn't been away a single minute.

They say elephants never forget. Nor do Pekingese.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

They missed me

"Hey, come over here!" The 88-year-old woman and her middle-aged caretaker (pictured) wave their hands and yell at me from their kitchen sink overlooking the apartment grounds where I am walking Mimi.

"We haven't seen you in almost a year and a half! Where were you?" they ask.

I am touched. They had noticed my absence and gotten the time frame almost exactly right.

I tell them what happened, and they are shocked -- mostly that I had come back overseas after such a serious diagnosis.

They tell me to come in and visit, but I have Mimi with me right now, so I tell them I'll come back another time when my dog is not with me. Sounds good to them. They like me, but they aren't anxious to have dog hair or muddy paw prints in their spotless abode.

A few days later, I'm out with Mimi again when the caretaker yells at me to come over to the window again. She has something she wants to give me. I can't tell what it is until she places it in my hand. It is a warm, wet piece of corn on the cob.

I don't like warm wet things, but I thank her profusely and carry it in my left hand while Mimi's leash is in my right. When I get to the downstairs door to my apartment building, I have trouble handling the key so I can get in. Finally, I get on the elevator, punch more buttons with my hands that are not free, and get back home.

Life here is awkward like that sometimes. Awkward, but interesting. 

The Problem

I have a work computer and a personal computer. The work computer crashed last month and I can't even turn it on. I've been using my personal computer for work, but it freezes up every 20-30 minutes or the keyboard goes berserk and I can't type on it.

Then I happen to live in a country that is a wee bit paranoid and thinks they need to block access to the Internet. I guess they think blogs are dangerous and will incite unrest. Some days are better than others when it comes to getting the internet to work.

As you can imagine, updating this blog has been nearly impossible as of late.

I expect to get a new work computer in about three weeks.

Not sure what I can do about my personal computer. I've had it since early 2009, and I had some parts of it replaced two years ago, and I think it is dying a slow, ugly death. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and get a new one eventually. It's hard to believe both computers I can use both died on me at the same time.

Please do not think I've forgotten about updating this blog though! I really want to. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Back in the Middle Kingdom

For the past one year, seven months and five days, I was sick and back in Texas. I had trouble keeping up with this blog because (1) I wasn't doing anything of interest, just lying on the sofa watching TV, and (2) I was too sick to keep it up.

But now I'm somewhat better. I am happy to report that on April 16, 2016, I arrived back in the Middle Kingdom. I am going to start posting to this blog on a regular basis once again.

I considered starting a fresh new blog, to go along with my fresh new lease on life, but decided against it. I like having everything representing my history in one spot. This blog chronicles the last ten years of my life!

For newcomers to this blog: The blog records my daily life activities, and does not discuss my work. I have poor internet most of the time, and I often post "on the fly," so don't expect any deep discussions or philosophical insights on this blog. I started the blog to let my parents see what my life is like, but then decided to let others in on it too. Welcome!