Long-Lost Friends : Dawne

If Friday was self’s day for receiving phone calls, today is self’s day for receiving surprises via e-mail.

(Also, the day for walking, as self has to be ready to embark on walking tour of South San Francisco in another two hours — signed up through San Mateo Community College. Why did self select South San Francisco, one may ask? Who knows? Other two choices were a tour of Union Cemetery in Redwood City, which self must confess she has always been very curious about; and a tour of Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park. But self is superstitious about cemeteries, remembered hearing as a child that one must hold one’s breath when passing one, and keep doing that to this day — !)

Last night, should have been at get-together of Gourmet Club in Half Moon Bay, but since on Friday self was flat on her back, incapacitated by gimpy neck (watched TV movies endlessly, including one with Geneviev Bujold, she who portrayed Anne Boleyn in movie Anne of the Thousand Days, now acting part of wise old lady, with grey hair! Also watched The Great Raid, which was set in the Philippines and gave self the opportunity to hear Connie Nielsen speaking Tagalog — “Para sa tatlo!” — and Natalie Mendoza speak “pidgin English”), did not feel self should push it.

So, today, feeling slightly better, am determined to drive to corner of Grand and Linden Avenues in South San Francisco, to join up with other tour-mates.

* * * * * *

First, check of blog stats: ooooh, very terrible, only 42 views yesterday

E-mail from Evelina and Ignatius Y. Ding (who self has yet to meet, and who self is very fascinated by, because of various comments he makes about himself, pan-Asian-ness, Filipinos, etc.), which self promptly up-loads.

Then, this from former colleague at Stanford, from the period (a decade ago!) when self was still trying to hide in no-account job manning xerox machine in CERAS Building on Stanford campus, a job which unfortunately ended up with self going down in flames, when new boss came on board who did not appreciate self’s “all thumbs” approach to photocopying vast tomes. But, I digress.

Dawne was my boss for a number of years. I never could tell how old she was: she had two grown daughters, the loveliest things you had ever seen. They looked, both of them, like Liv Tyler crossed with Isabelle Adjani. They visited their mom frequently in the office and helped out.

Have not seen Dawne for years and years and years. Suddenly, this morning, find this message from her in my e-mail:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dear special friends and loved ones,

As I am about to begin another major adventure in my life, I wish to include you in the information loop of my activities. After moving to Utah and establishing my new home on the mountain side I found retired life a bit too tame and relaxed. I had always wanted to return to the US Peace Corps some day so applied last October specifying my choice of going to Asia. The application process was extensive and finally completed in January with additional medical exams and essays when they accepted me.

I received my assignment in early April to be a University instructor of English as a foreign language teaching strategies to Chinese English teachers. Perhaps I will be assigned other subjects such as US Culture or British and American Literature to teach, also maybe even a Spanish class. I was warned that I would be expected to teach as many as 16 hours per week. My high school teacher friends will appreciate the irony of that warning.

I will be leaving for China by way of San Francisco on June 30th and spend the first 10 weeks of my sojourn in Chengdu, China in a home-stay where the objective is to enhance my Mandarin Chinese lessons and other cultural preparation studies with real experience. I’ll be a new language learner again as I am expected by the PC to master a functional level of Mandarin Chinese. Then in September I’ll be assigned to a western Chinese University (to be determined) where I will work for 2 years. I will have Chinese holidays and a month of summer vacation each year and would be thrilled to have visitors from home. Have you traveled to or ever considered traveling to China?

If all of this were not enough, I have also embarked on a new relationship with a special gentleman from Victoria, BC, Canada (originally form England) who I met by Internet also in January. We have spent enumerable hours (about 175) communicating on the phone and by the time I leave we will have visited in each other’s homes and families for about 4 weeks (one week at a time). He will come to visit me in China in the fall and we’ll see what comes next. Life is truly a grand adventure.

I will be writing newsletters from China and would love to include you on my address list and would be thrilled to hear from you from time to time when you feel inclined. Would that be OK with you?

Now back to organization and preparation including preliminary Mandarin lessons and readings about China.

Love to you, from Dawne

Think loyal blog readers will agree: life depicted above is a perfect example of “How Not To Let Retirement Slow You Down” 🙂

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