One week left… I changed my flight for two weeks earlier. I had purchased my ticket a few months ago thinking things were ending later, then figured I’d travel a little and see the sights in/around Beijing with my extra weeks like the Great Wall and Forbidden City, but… I’m really just ready to go home. I’ve been in China for nearly a year and as much as I had wanted to travel and explore when I got here, now I really don’t. Maybe someday I’ll come back and see what I missed, I don’t know… What I do know though is I want to be home, and soon I’ll be there…

Last week was finals week. I’m quite pleased with the progress of all my students, especially those in my Business English classes. The first semester was really challenging for me to get into the swing of things which of course meant that difficulty was also there for my students. However, the second semester went much smoother, and I had more fun, and I think they did too. A few students spoke to me privately telling me that the second semester with me was much more stimulating (that was tremendously satisfying to hear).

This past Saturday a few of my teacher/students took me out to a restaurant in Yuci(?) for lunch and presented me with a majiang (mahjong) set and we played a few rounds afterwards back at the university. It was incredibly kind of them to treat me, we have a wonderful time together… I practically begged them not to get me a gift though… (partly because I don’t really enjoy the gift giving culture (it’s complicated) and partly because it’s one more thing to take back with my in my already full and heavy luggage)… But now I have it, and if it fits it fits and if not then my roommate here will have a new majiang set, because I’m not lugging it around the airport in Beijing on my 6 hour layover or anywhere else…

The university gave us our final pay a few days ago, and what was supposed to be the reimbursement for the tickets purchased, but I only got about 2/3 back because my e-tickets don’t have my passport number on them for verification that they are indeed mine and not another Daniel Kessel’s… That was really annoying, and still is… Their financial department seems a bit broken, but at least I received something, so there’s that… The last things I officially have to do are put final grades into their system (once it opens) and check out of my apartment on campus. Additionally, I will be attending some event for a few foreign students tomorrow morning and joining for a final lunch with everyone from the department.

It feels unreal that I’ll be going home next week, just about as unreal as when I was about to come here to China.

I live in a world of magic and madness, and I’m somewhere in between.

See you next week!

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