I am shutting down my computer in a few hours, after a final trip to the gym with Mr. Understanding, Bea Long, and Sammy. Tomorrow morning we get up, strip the sheets off the rock hard rental mattresses, and head for the airport. I am ready to go home. The last two weeks have tested every skill I possess as a human; I want a full night’s sleep and my own bed. Not to mention happy children and no swine flu in my very own little beach shack.
Each move has been a mini dress rehearsal for death: bequeathing the pantry and other precious items, saying good-bye to friends, pets, and co-workers, making your final requests and seeing that everyone is provided for. If anything, it gets harder and harder. One may become more adept at tying up loose ends but there is no clean way to do it. In two years we have acquired a lot of friends, faux antiques, and, for Thing 2, “the best ex-girlfriend [he] ever had”.*
One major difference between death and moving, however, is the parties. With moving, you get the parties up-front and, between Princess Ai Lin and Bea Long, we have had some hum-dingers. Princess Ai Lin and her husband, Mr. Nuts-n-Bolts, hosted a muy buena cena, catered by the Flying Dragon; it definitely qualified as one of my all time favorite meals in Shanghai. Besides the food, who else can say they’ve had a matador, Sr. Zoro, and his wife at the dinner table?
Mr. Understanding’s interim secretary took our surviving hamster, Harriet. She has four of them and was overjoyed to receive the “creature”. Harriet’s cage was broken and we remarked that she never escaped. “Only boy hamsters like to escape,” she said sagely, putting the entire hamster experience in perspective. Ozzie, it will be noted, died in captivity long ago; he literally went stir-crazy, racing around the cage until he kicked up his heels and keeled in the sawdust.
Mrs. O’Leary sent me a note asking if my transportation to the airport will be as grand as my last exit. I don’t know. We’ll see how much gets lost in translation this time. V3 will be driving us, as well as a luggage van, and, for good measure, Mr. Understanding’s driver, Peng Peng.
All of my Shanghai touts and bu touts will be added at a later time to the blog. There are many. I just want to make sure my shipments hit the water first and we land safely on American soil. In the meantime, many thanks to all my friends who, once again, have aided in our departure. You’re the best.
*Direct quote, middle school year book.