Winding down

Gave the last lecture in history class for the semester today. The students are tired, and many of them are sick. They look bedraggled. I feel a little the same.

Sort of sad to see the end of the semester. One student summed it up today: "This sucks." I asked another how he was doing. "Sad," he said. Why? I asked. "Last class." So, it wasn't torture for them all, at least.

On this dreary, cloudy day nearly everybody I ran into was eager to visit. I talked a lot in the halls at UMC. I talked for a long while when I stopped for a cup of coffee at the gas station. The man I talked to hunts deer with a muzzle loader. I asked how accurate they were, and he said that you would have a tough time hitting the broad side of a barn with some of them.

And, instead of eating at the dining hall at UMC, I went up to RBJs restaurant and sat at the counter. Happened to sit next to an interesting man who built houses for a living before he retired. We had a great visit which drifted into the philosophical.

Lance and I will head to China for 10 days after Christmas. I suddenly realize that the date of departure is about two weeks away. Nothing really to do in preparation. The visas are due in the mail any day. When they show up, we'll be set.

Cousin Roy is in China, and he urged us to come over while he is there so he can give us a tour. We will land in Shanghai, then take the train on a tour up to Bejiing, the Great Wall, and Suzcho. Roy has taught Chinese history. Plus, he has connections in all of the places we visit. I suspect we will come home with our heads full.

Meanwhile, packages from the Everlast boxing equipment company have been arriving at the nursery. Turns out, Everlast is popular in China, but not available without huge customs fees. So, I am bringing some along boxing equipment for the owner of the apartment building in Shanghai where Roy lives.

I plan to pack light in case I want to bring a lot of things home. I always have great ambitions of bringing home many things, but I usually just come back with what I brought over in the first place.

I hope to be able to post weblog entries from the Far East. I am not sure if I will be able to post pictures until I return. I suspect I will take hundreds of photos, of which perhaps two dozen will be worth posting.

Right now, I am so tired and lethargic that the thought of traveling wears me out thinking about it. However, I usually pep up for something exciting and different. My biggest worry is jet lag. It is such a pain. Last trip to Europe, I used Melatonin, and I had no problem. I hope it works for China as well.

A 10-day trip seems short, but when you are busy the whole time, it seems like a month. As I get older, my taste for big, long trips wanes. Ten days is about right. Any longer and I would start counting the days until I got home.

I can tell that when I get back from China, I will probably still want to spend a little time in Arizona! China this time of year is damp and mid-40s. At least where we will be.