Skip to main content

My Summer Vacation


I dreamt of Italy, Greece, and England, but I never once thought the first stamp on my passport would be from China.

HoneyBunch’s oldest son has taught in Shijiazhuang for almost three years and he married a wonderful, young Chinese woman over one year ago. He brought her to the US last summer to meet our family, so HB booked just the two of us on a travel tour of China then extended our departure a few days so that we could travel inland on our own for a short family visit. 

On the tour, we visited Shanghai and sailed up the Yangtze. We flew to Xian and Beijing and walked on hallowed ground reserved only for holy monks and dragon emperors. In the old days, we would have been killed instantly for such sacrilege (and it wouldn’t have been pretty or quick).

We snapped flashbulbs into the eyes of thousands of unblinking Terra Cotta Soldiers. We climbed The Great Wall of China and looked out for miles and miles as it stretched out on either side of us.  We visited museums with priceless treasures, went through the five gigantic locks at the Three Gorges Dam, and ate all kinds of delicacies with our chopsticks.

When the tour ended, we said goodbye to our fellow travelers, and HB and I trekked off on our own, armed only with a couple of phrases written in Chinese (in case we needed help) and dependent on the kindness of others. The further we ventured off the tourist path, the less English we encountered around us.  We would point to our written phrases and folks would point us in the right direction. 

Once we met up with our son’s family, we were safe once again.  They turned out no different than our family and friends here at home.  We instantly liked each other despite the language barrier. Our children acted as our translators.  The men talked of manly things; the women asked me about makeup and jewelry.  They hinted at taking me shopping, but my luggage was already at its weight limit. The time with them went too fast.

Now at home, I put away my passport and I wonder how to fit all my memories into one, tiny stamp. Pictures and words cannot describe it all. Everything was overwhelming - six thousand years of China’s past compounded by the astounding economic future ahead for them.  Even the landmarks heralding all of this are immense.  

And what about all the wonderful and amazing people we met? Folks we may never see again, face to face.  We could not have asked for kinder fellow travelers or a nicer family of in-laws to call our own. For one tiny, moment in time the world seemed a kinder, friendlier place, one in which we all truly liked each other.  


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.I sputter.I hyperventilate.I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties. I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting. Me first: The facts:My mom f…

Twelve Female Hero Authors Who Influenced Me to be an Author

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to share twelve female authors who changed my life forever and who influenced me to try my hand at writing. Some are not widely popular so you might want to try them out.
1.Charlotte Bronté – English – Her plotting and characters - Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester – are immortal. 
2.Louisa May Alcott – American – I loved how she created a family of Little Women that reminded me of my sisters. 
3.Jane Austen – English – Another author who knew how to build immortal characters. Two words:  Mr. Darcy. Two more words:  hubba hubba.
4.Emily Dickinson – American - What a poet! Her innovation was pooh-poohed at first, but now we owe her for breaking all those punctuation barriers.
5.Beverly Cleary – American – She created a little girl in Ramona that reminded me of me when I was a little girl.  I wish I had met Ms. Cleary’s books sooner instead of when I was in my 30’s.
6.Judy Blume – American - Her female characters said all the outrageous things I thou…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…