Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Last Blog

We've been back in the US for one month. I've decided it's now time to end my blog about our China adventure. We have settled (mostly) into our old house. And life goes on....

Because I was reluctant to go to China, and I came out of it with a much better understanding of the world and myself, I now encourage anyone to take a similar opportunity.

When you open yourself up to new experiences, you can't always anticipate what you will learn. In China, the things that I did and the people that I met changed me. It is an experience that I will never regret or forget.

If you want more information about living in China, you can contact me at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Debi v. Aliens

Imagine your family is lifted out of your home by friendly aliens, you happily live in the alien's kingdom for 2 years, then suddenly you are dropped back into your old home. Life has continued on in your neighborhood while you were gone. The houses in your neighborhood still hold mostly the same people. Children have been born and others have grown, some have grown so much they have left home. Pets have died and new pets have arrived. Jobs have changed. Houses have changed colors. The trees have grown. People drive the same cars. People seem to be very similar to who they were when you left them.

The problem? Spending two years with the aliens has changed you. Living in their kingdom has exposed you to a different way of life. Their culture was so much different than yours that you realize that you don't really like some parts of your old life. The aliens helped you define your personal and family values, so now YOU ARE DIFFERENT. You are different, but dropped back into your same old world. How do you renegotiate your life to reflect your new values when life around you is the same as when you left? How do you retain the new values when the culture you are surrounded with doesn't value the same things?

Do you send messages to the aliens asking to come back? Do you cry? Do you try to forget the lessons the aliens taught you? Do you search your old world for others who have been touched by the aliens?

Do you hope that some day, with some work, your alien values and your old world will merge together and live peacefully? I do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

We're Back!

We are back in the US, settled into our hotel and making all the plans and purchases necessary to move back into our old house. We should be moving in on July 7.

I am enjoying the food here, but still miss China. It should be an interesting few months ahead.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leaving China, Part 8

We are no longer leaving China.

We are already gone.

Our feet last touched the ground in China about 3.5 hours ago. We are now waiting in the Seoul airport for our connecting flight to San Francisco.

For me, it was a hard last goodbye. Goodbye to the house. Goodbye to the neighborhood. Goodbye to the hills. Goodbye to the beach. Goodbye to my friends.

Goodbye to China. I never thought I'd love you, but I do!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leaving China, Part 7

It is 12:44pm on our Tuesday and the packers are 75% done with packing our household items that will go in a sea shipment to Portland. There are 4 men and a supervisor working hard. I didn't think we had very much stuff - but I was wrong. One of the things I dread about moving back into our old house is getting all of our other stuff out of storage. Really, if we could live for 2 years with what we have here, do we really need all the other stuff that we left in storage in Portland? Of course, we'll need our furniture, but I'm hoping we can do a purge of other stuff BEFORE it makes it into the house.

Tomorrow they will come with a 20 foot container on a truck and load the boxes into the container. The container will go by ship to Portland and they say it will arrive in 6 weeks. That will be a happy day.

We fly out of Dalian on June 24 and arrive about 24 hours later in Beaverton. Our house is rented until July 1, so we will stay in a hotel nearby until July 8. Between July 1 and 7, there will be a rush of painting, new flooring and delivery of stuff!

Three more days until the final goodbyes to China!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Leaving China, Part 6

The last torture! I had my last therapeutic massage with Mr. Torture. I am happy to say that my shoulder is back to about 98% of normal!

When I first went to him, it all seemed so different. The waiting area in the same room as the treatment tables. The noises from outside - cars honking, people yelling, dogs barking. The run-down look of his office.

But now it seems so normal, so relaxing and so comforting. Funny how time and familiarity changes your perspective.

This last session, I was the only one there. The lights were out with just natural light coming through the windows. The windows were open with a soft breeze blowing in and the sounds of the city provided a nice backdrop.

I've seen him 1-2 times a week for the last year. I'm happy that I know enough Chinese that I could say goodbye and thank him for saving me from having surgery!


Leaving China, Part 5

Things I Will Miss:

Green Tea Doublemint Gum:

Jasmine Tea:

My Laundry Room:

My Light Switches:

Squat Toilets:

The View from My Office:

Running on the Beach Boardwalk:
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