Well, here I am. Safe, sound, and sane (sorta) in San Diego. Got home at about 5:30 pm Halloween night. Cher picked me up and Connie graciously came over to answer the door for all the trick or treaters! Thank goodness! After a trip lasting more than 30 hours, I wasn't in the condition to be jumping up every 5 minutes. As it turned out, we didn't have as many visitors as last year, but they did keep coming until about 9.
Connie went home, I took a shower, and then was wide awake. Stayed up til about 12:30, then slept in this morning till 11:30 am. Didn't do much today but talk on the phone to some folks and take care of a Christine issue. Nothing too worrisome, but it did take a little time. Big Connie came over and we went to a local joint for Mexican food. I may never want to eat Chinese food again!
I have so much to share, and yet I'm not up to it right now. It's about 12:30 am again. Guess my body clock isn't exactly working right. Oh! Tonight we set our clocks back...so it's really only 11:30. That makes me feel better.
I haven't unpacked. I haven't even gone through my snail mail. I did, however, catch up on HP and STC mail, called the HP Helpdesk and had my password reset, and figured out how to access phone messages on my work phone. (I know...how could I not have known that! just know that I didn't.)
My HP NT password had expired on 10/30, and since I didn't have my work machine, I couldn't reset it myself. So it was gone when I logged on this morning. The process was easier than I had thought it would be...and the announced 20-minute wait on the Help line was really more like 10. Nice to get small favors.
I'm not very energized, but I also don't feel too exhausted. So, maybe tomorrow I'll get unpacked and sort the mail and do laundry. That would make it a pretty nice day. It was great to be here with Charley and Karma and sleep in my own bed. Life is good. I'm blessed beyond comprehension, and grateful to the tips of my toes.
China is behind me. What do I look back on as sweet memories? the comaraderie of the delegates, their guests, and our guides; the juxtaposition of incredibly old and immediately new; the vast expanse of buildings and myriad ant-like workers woven in and out of scores of cranes piercing the skyline of every city; the breath-taking beauty of Guilin's landscapes and small farms; the friendliness of the people; the realization that in the cities, the people were dressed in Western style and moved and acted just as they do in any large US or European city (with the exception of the plethora of bicycles and scooters and pedal-driven carts mixed in with the Mercedes, Toyotas, and Hondas); the multitudes of people represented by mile upon mile of high-rise apartment buildings; the sweet care-taking of our guide Huang (Shawn); the sheer skill of each of our bus drivers to navigate amongst the millions and bring us all to our destinations unscathed; the healthy new knee that did everything I asked of it; and the satisfaction that our delegation represented techcomm with grace and intelligence in every city and every company no matter how formal or informal the meetings, no matter how little our hosts might have known about what we do. These will be the things that I remember and will treasure forever. It was beyond imaginings; beyond expectations--it was stupendous, yet I'm so glad that it's over and that I'm home.
So, based on that, I think I'll take me and all my little piggies to bed while it's still the first day of November 2008. I'll be back soon and I promise to write more and post some pix from the trip.
So, to hold you over until then, here's the story of the osmanthus tree--from which the Chinese around Guilin make wine and tea. I bought a small bottle of the lovely, sweet wine, but managed to drink it all before I left China! I don't think customs would have let me bring it in, anyway: http://www.paghat.com/osmanthus.html
Much love always,