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Back to China

It's been a day of cleaning, laundry, and packing. Will have one last meal with the family before my buddy Mike Durkee gives me a ride down to SeaTac airport. We plan to leave Bellingham around 7:00pm. It will take a couple hours to get to the airport, but i want to be super early. Also, I don't want to make Mike have to arrive back home in the middle of the night.

Five solid weeks of vacation filled with activity. Lots of golf, sprint car races, and reading Ten Apples Up On Top with Arthur. That's his favorite, and I didn't mind reading it over and over again with him. I don't think I had an empty day on my calendar since I've arrived.

There are several things I'm looking forward to up on my return to Hangzhou. I get to see Aiyun again and start a new school year. However, I might have to wait a week or two before I see Aiyun. She and her son have both tested positive for Covid again. She was planning on meeting me at the airport and spending the weekend with me, but that might have to wait. I always enjoy the start of a new school year. You get to start fresh with a new gaggle of students. It gives you a chance to make changes each year. This year I'm tackling the cell phone issue with a new strategy. I'll hang a clear phone caddy near my door where students can deposit their phones before class. They can pick them up after on the way out. I'll update on how that's going. I have a strong opinion about what introducing cell phones to teenagers has done. I'm not judging parents. I did it too. If I could go back and make different choices as a parent I would. I feel confident Moira would agree with me.

Arrived at the airport and quickly found my line to check my bags. I already feel like I'm back in China. I'm the only non-Asian again.

They don't take bags or allow check in until four hours before the flight. It's four and a half hours right now before takeoff and the line is getting long. Glad I was here super early. I did something normally out of my comfort zone and had a chat with a lady named Jenna. She's on the same two flights I am ending in Shanghai, but then she's hoping on a train for Xian. Xian is on the top of my list for a visit in the next year while in China. Aiyun and I have talked about a long weekend there. Jenna gave me some good advice. Avoid the touristy restaurants on the main streets. She says they cost twice as much and the food isn't as good as the places the locals eat off the beaten paths. My guess is that's a sort of truism world wide, but I appreciated her sharing.

I've never had success sleeping on a plane sitting upright. I had a lie-flat first class seat once from Dallas/Fort Worth to Seattle. I was out like a light on that trip. I'm excited to try a new strategy during the ten hours from Seattle to Taipei.

Apparently I've been using my neck pillow backwards. I first heard about this from my buddy Ted. He says you should put the strap in the back and the bulky portion under your chin. After reading some InterGoogle commentary I'm convinced this is a good plan. I'll be sure to report back tomorrow.

Be back in about ten months. I'll miss being around Moira and reading with Arthur. I'll miss golfing with Steve, Brian and Tony. I'll miss cribbage with Durk. I'll miss my surrogate sister Marni. I'll miss ice cream with mom. I'll miss connecting with other family and friends quite a bit, but I'm still excited to be on this journey. No regrets to report. Zai jian USA.

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Michelle Miller
Michelle Miller
10 sie 2023

Safe travels, it was good seeing. I don’t envy your flight at all. We just did the 8.5 hour jaunt SEA-Dublin. I can’t sleep on planes either, still adjusting to the time change and jet lag.

looking forward to hearing more of your adventure!

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