During the morning of July 1st there was a short graduation ceremony for the Japanese students, it was small and pleasant, and I understood about a third of what was being talked about. Afterwards eight of us ate lunch together. My boss gifted me with a few postcards with some pictures of the school to remember the place by. Then a few of us went to Jinci, I think they said it was one of the most ancient little towns. The trees were at least claimed to be 3,000 years old. It was enjoyable.

Sunday night was the two year anniversary of UK Impression, one of the popular bars for expats in Taiyuan. I met a couple folks from the Boston area who I had managed to miss during the past several months there, mostly because I’m a serious recluse… but it was really nice to connect with folks from my area before heading back there. Plus we have mutual friends, small world…

Monday night was the July 4th party at Old Walden’s Bar. There was Chinese BBQ outside and many expats, good conversation, a pool table and poker, Raphael played poker for about six hours, and then we returned to the apartment.

Yesterday I entered final grades for all my classes and checked out of the apartment I had on campus. I met with a couple students for farewells before I left, then I came back here to my apartment in Yuci.

In 35 minutes Raphael and Joan will drive me to the airport. I’m catching a flight to Beijing at 9:10 AM, there’s a six hour layover in Beijing then I fly to Chicago with a three hour layover. Hopefully in Chicago I’ll be meeting up with a friend who happens to work for United and home-bases at O’Hare. I’ll switch my SIM card back in with my American number when I touch down around 4:30 PM. After that it’s back to Boston. I’m excited and nervous and sad. In most ways it’s been a really rough and disappointing year, but I’ve made some really nice connections here and I’ll miss many people.

This is it. It’s finally time. I’m leaving China, and going home.

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