Meeting Number 1:
I was horribly jet-lagged from two weeks in America and found myself wide awake at 4AM in Hong Kong. I threw on a hoodie and some shoes and went for a sunrise walk through Kowloon and HK Island. One of my favorite spots in HK is the Pacific Coffee near the Central Station, exit J2 in the Financial district. I walked there and along the way saw the paper delivery routes of hundreds of workers. It was pretty amazing to see hundreds of thousands of newspapers being distributed. (That was a sidenote, and regretfully I was too embarrassed to be a picture-taking tourist. I felt like pretending to be a local.) Pacific Coffee offers free internet, so after checking my email in an empty coffee shop I decided to browse some of my favorite blogs, one of them being that of my friend, Matt Slack. He's one of the most honest/hilarious writers I know. His blog talked about being in Hong Kong for just one night, among other funny things. I emailed him and we met up. So random that we were both on a HK stop-over. I took him to Victoria Peak and he met my China friends. When we were there, I ran into another friend, Michael, that I didn't plan on seeing! Jaw-dropping, I know.
Meeting Number 2:
Early yesterday morning my friends and I took at tuk-tuk to Angkor Wat (in Cambodia) for what they call "Sunrise at the Wat". When I got there I realized that the battery on my camera was dead! Huge bummer when you're at a 'world wonder'. So I ran to the motorbike guys and asked one of them to drive me to our hotel so I could get my back-up battery. Needless to say, I was bumming that I couldn't capture the Wat Sunrise with my trusty little Canon. My friends explored for an hour while I was zipping through Cambodian early morning traffic with the most impressive motorbike driver I've ever met.
When I got back, we walked through the Wat, sat and journaled, and took in the vast ruins. (I'll post pictures soon.) As we were leaving through one of the many exits, I happened to look over to my left and there was an old friend, Matt. Matt and I were both a part of a CCC Tsunami Relief trip in 2005. There were only 8 total Californians on the trip (there's a pattern of Californians sticking together) and they put us in charge of digging and constructing latrines (that's a fancy word for toilets.) Anyway, in the dead center of Cambodia in the middle of January, there was Matt with his wife! We chatted for a little while and they're actually coming through China this summer, spending 6 months touring around Asia! I look forward to hearing about 6 months of Asian adventures.
Anyway, this probably isn't very exciting for you unless you know them.. and I guess the only person that knows both people is Vince Garvey. So there it is, Vince. Pretty cool, huh?
Just makes me think that jet-lag and a forgotten battery aren't really set-backs afterall.
January 18, 2008
On Christmas Day I was sick. Annoyingly sick, the same sickness that has dragged on for 5 months. So, I went to SOS International in Beijing and eventually was recommended to see a specialist. In what seemed like a whirlwind, I was put on a plane and sent to California on New Years Day. I celebrated New Years Day twice, once with my roommates in China and the other with the people next to me on the plane.
So, for two weeks I had doctors appointments, 'procedures', a biopsy, lab results, follow-up appointments, etc. And then, when it was determined that I have giardia, I was put on 2 months of antibiotics. Two months on strong antibiotics should do the trick. I'm glad it's over.
Once I knew that everything was ok, I was able to spend 3 solid days in San Diego. We went rock-climbing in Santee and I got a rock named after me (actually it's already named Carousel, but a side is named after me). Sean named it "Take THAT parasite!" because I was pretty weak and wasn't really feeling the rock-climbing. I also went on a yacht from Seaport Village to Shelter Island and back...it's a long funny story...ask Lucy.
I saw Rudy Francisco feature at PoeticBrew, had a Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Kate at Java Jones, walked from First Pres. to Ichiban with Sean, hung out at LAX baggage claim with Mullins, had couch time with Cori, drove around town with Ariel, watched Lotus perform card tricks at Boba, had lunch with Becky at the Cheese Shop and sat around the dining room table with Drew, Kyle, Wendy, Misty, Reid, and baby Emma.
Not to mention that during my time in Clovis with family I was able to see plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins that put a huge smile on my face. I look forward to the day that I can hang-out with my family for longer than a couple hours every 6 months.
Cynthia came down and we pretended that we were best friends that actually lived in the same country. She's a fun one. She tells me about married life and I pretend like I get it.
Reflecting on my time in America, I spent a whole lotta time with married friends and family. I was able to visit the Collins' and Starr's in their new homes and hear about lives as newlyweds. I observed with wide eyes as I spent an afternoon with my aunt and uncle as they raise 4 kids ranging from 11 to 3 years old. I helped the Wielands take down their Christmas tree and watched old episodes of The Amazing Race. In all, America was great.
The next time I'll be back will be sometime in September. I felt that reality as I said goodbye to my mom at the San Francisco airport. I was teary as I got to security screening and I appreciated the sympathy as the guard asked, "Are you alright honey?" I nodded and wiped away a tear. Then he told me to take off my shoes and belt and pull my laptop out of my carry-on. We both laughed.
Today at 3 o'clock I'm saying goodbye to the high-level students as they leave to go change the world. Nothing I can say will do justice to how much I love/respect/admire these students. I need to go write good-bye letters.