This Friday, August, 25, I take my first trip back to America since I left in April, 2016, sixteen months ago. It will be an arduous journey of nineteen hours. I leave Xi’an at 4pm, first flying for three hours to Guangzhou (we all grew up saying “Canton”) with a three hour layover and then a thirteen hour flight to San Francisco, arriving at 7pm on August 25, three hours after I left Xi’an, because of the time-change in my favor. Although I’m pretty sure, I won’t feel like it’s only been three hours. I almost never sleep on an airplane regardless of the length of the flight. In this case, that will be a good thing because I will go to sleep quite easily, Friday evening, waking up at a normal time, Saturday morning.
Nancy and Sophie will be meeting me at SFO and I’m going to stay with Nancy for the week. It will be quite hectic as there are a lot of people to see and chores to accomplish. As Nancy and Sophie have pointed out, they both have built up a list of “honey-do’s” over the last sixteen months. I’ll be changing quite a few light bulbs. I’m also going to visit my possessions that I have in storage. At long last, I hope to retrieve my I-Phone that I- for reasons that elude me- put in storage. On anyone’s list of “top five things to take overseas,” would be one’s I-Phone. I still managed to put it in storage!
On Saturday, along with Sophie and Nancy, I will be attending my friend, David’s 60th birthday party that he’s throwing for himself at a very popular restaurant in SF, the Foreign Cinema. I’ve known David since eighth-grade and that means we’ve been friends for forty-seven years. Yow! At dinner, he wants me to “roast” him with stories from our lives. Needless to say, I’ve got plenty to say about him. At one time, circa, 1977, we shared the same home, took the same classes at college and worked at the same job- the infamous “liquor store days” of our late teens. I still marvel that I lived to tell the tale. The rest of the week I’ll be running from friend to friend, for gatherings.
On September 2, I will be flying to Lala Land (better known as Los Angeles) with Nancy and Sophie to attend my niece’s wedding on September 3. We’ll be staying at the the fabulous, art-deco Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in the heart of Hollywood. As I grew up in LA, I will also be seeing various friends from decades past. I then fly to West Palm Beach Florida to see my ninety-four year old mother, for a few days and then, back to SF for the trip back to Xi’an on September 10.
I have mixed feelings about going back to America. It’s been a relief to live in another country, since America went off the rails beginning on November 8. I’ve gotten use to having the nightmare
years months of Donald Trump’s presidency being more like the sound of an annoying dog barking in the distance, late at night, while trying to sleep, rather than something more threatening . For the next two weeks, I will be subsumed within the loony bin that is the country that I used to call “home.” The annoying dog in the distance will become a pack of foaming-at-the-mouth, rabid, junkyard canines, eyeing me menacingly. (well, at least I didn’t mix my metaphors!) As a confirmed “political junkie” I’m also worried that I will become glued to the tube, taking in the nonstop diatribes of the Cable “chattering-class”, that has been denied me the last sixteen months, living outside of America.
On a more mundane travel note, it will be strange to be surrounded by English, wherever I go. Well, English and Spanish. I will be able to walk into any establishment and have a conversation about whatever I may need. That certainly does sound appealing, if, well, “foreign.”
Many of the students at English First know of my travel plans and I’ve encouraged them to follow my “adventures” through my blog. Therefore, this blog will at times sound like a travel primer because many people in China are very curious about life in America and I am happy to cater to their desire to know about things that Americans would consider mundane, at best, and more likely, simply uninteresting, starting with the above links to the restaurant and hotel. That will include photos that may be fascinating for Chinese (Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Hollywood-anyone?) but, again, of little appeal to those who live in America. This blog will be a good learning tool for my students, so I plan to update it as much as possible. So, for my American audience, you will probably not be too interested in my postings until I return to China. As I’ve said before, if you don’t like what you read here, “change the channel.”
For my Chinese friends: 享受我的博客!