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Picture: The sun stream in my new screen doors. About 80 degrees this afternoon. Looks like a good day for a walk.


Yesterday was my step father Stephen's birthday. I got him on the phone and we spoke for just over an hour. He updated on me on his health issues (not good) and I told him about life in China. Also had a good chat with my mom today. She's doing well other than continuing to battle her memory issues.


I don't do well on the phone. It's always felt weird to me. Not my preferred method of communication. Not sure why, it's just not me. I would much rather sit with someone and chat. Really, I do much better texting and using email. I was able to touch base with Steve last week and hoping to hear from Marni this weekend. I try to call Moira and Kaleb at least every other week, but I'm sure it's less than that.


I've kept my old phone active in the states and can use it here in China. I had to switch the SIM in it before leaving the states, but really it still works fine. However, making calls with it back to the states is expensive. Using data on that phone is ridiculous expensive. Using my new phone here in China is super cheap. Like $20 USD a month cheap, and that's making long calls back to the states and using a TON of data because we use our phones for everything here. I still haven't used a single piece of actual money even once since I've been here. 100% of my purchases have been via my phone.


Other than delivery drivers Chinese people don't make phone calls. They text on WeChat, or use WeChat to make calls over the internet. The locals got some news that some might not like. The enormous company that created WeChat (Tencent) was purchased this past week by China Unicom. China Unicom is a telecommunications company that's owned by the Chinese government. I know everything on my phone is open to inspection by the Chinese government. Fortunately I have nothing to hide.


Stephen update: he's been battling bladder cancer for a year now. While under going chemo he was diagnosed with Covid and it hit him hard. He struggles to walk across a room without extra oxygen. It sounds like his postmaster is going to let him exhaust his sick leave and then retire (he's 73). We're both not good about staying in touch. I'll try to call him more often in the coming weeks.

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