It all started a year and a half ago when our friends moved over there. At our last meeting before they left -- the day after Halloween -- they invited us to come visit, and, of course, we said we would. Not sure if they meant it seriously, but we did. We would not be doing this if it weren't for an invitation that turned into an irresistible opportunity to see what's on the other side the world!
So at one month out we are feeling like we're in pretty good shape. We have our passports, and the visas are being processed. Our plane tickets have been purchased and hotel reservations made.
We've put together an itinerary of places to go, and things to see and do, but no matter how you work it there's never enough time to do everything.
I think we have a good balance of climates, settings, activities, and interests, in satisfying the Chinese philosophy of one (or three) harmonizing with their surroundings. We'll probably learn a lot about harmony trying to get on the train from the airport when we get there.
It's amazing how many connections we've made through the planning of this trip and we are grateful for the help that's been given. Co-workers, extended family, friends, and former exchange students, have all added valuable insights and advice for us -- it's been a bit like finding shells on the beach and dropping them in a bucket to carry with you as you walk.
As luck would have it, and by crazy coincidence (already sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?), a dear friend of my in-laws will also be traveling in China, just a few weeks after us. It’s been a lot of fun exchanging information, sharing tips, puzzling over perplexing cultural differences, and trading itineraries with my partner-in-planning Gloria; a well-seasoned world traveler. While this trip seems really big to us, it’s just one of many stops for her and her husband as they trace the globe.
Leaving in 31 days . . . .