Visiting a Village Near Qingdao

On Sunday, August 26 we got up early and caught the bus with our MSU student and friend Raymond and our Chinese friend Pan Jinli (Bobby) to visit his family at their village.

Bobby graduated this summer and works for Siemen’s International in Qindao China as a production manager trainee. He was our student in 2003-04 and Michael’s class monitor. Bobby was excited that we could come to visit his family and his family couldn’t have been more gracious, generous and hospitable. When we here previously our son and Michael visited them, but I was unable to go, so Michael promised them that next time I would come too. What could I do? I had to go.

The trip was difficult–a total of seven buses and the ferryboat twice, but especially so because we did it in one day. Total travel time was a little more than 5 hours. But it was worth every bump, ache, pain and bit of sea sickness! This is the real China, the salt of the Chinese nation! Hardworking, humorous, generous and affectionate…I have never felt so welcome in anyone’s home as I was here.

The day was spent walking about on one of hottest days of the year (maybe in several years) in the village. We then ate the grandest banquet you could imagine. We made many toasts to friendship, properity, education, one another’s families’, the beauty of each mother, grandmother, the strength and character of the grandfathers, the uncle and the father…I have begun to learn the true art (and poetry) of toasting! Ganbei!

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