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Monday, July 1, 2013

What a long, strange trip it's been...

Halfway there...

Since finally passing the Mandarin Chinese exit exam on June 24, here's what we've been doing: I spent literally all of Friday evening following the test, plus the entire weekend, lying in bed and suffering from a terrible case of the flu. Unfortunately, this left the job of sorting through our goods up to my wife, who had to decide what would go by air, what would go by ship and what wouldn't make the cut at all. On Monday, I finally dragged myself out of bed, and somehow managed to make it down to both FSI and Main State in order to complete the check-out procedure. Afterward, I finally saw a doctor, who prescribed some heavy-duty medication, including Tamiflu. On Tuesday, the movers came and took everything away, including our car, to eventually reunite with us someday in Shanghai 上海. On Wednesday, we said goodbye to Falls Church, and flew across the country to San Francisco, via Atlanta.

Back in my native California for the first time since the dawn of the 21st century, last-minute meeting cancellations left me with an unexpected free day on Thursday to spend with the family. On Friday, we flew up to Seattle, and have been staying in Bremerton since then, visiting with my parents and my sister. We're here for one more day, after which we return to San Francisco on Tuesday, where we hope to meet up with some old friends in Davis. On Wednesday, we're scheduled to leave the United States, flying from SFO to Narita Airport 成田空港 in Japan. Following a one-night layover, we're due to arrive in Shanghai on Friday, beginning a new chapter in our lives.

Until next time, please enjoy a few photos of our slow journey to China:

Amber at Union Square in San Francisco

Getting ready to board a cable car

Alcatrazz Island

Discovering that the water of San Francisco Bay is still cold even in late June

Amber and friend before boarding the duck boat. I was leery about the proposition, but the girls wanted to take a tour, so we did the duck. Departing from Fisherman's Wharf, we were driven through North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square and Market Street, before plunging into the bay. There, we puttered past the Bay Bridge and over to AT&T Park, before doing a U-turn in McCovey Cove and returning to dry land. We made our way back to Fisherman's Wharf via Polk Street. Had we time, I would've preferred to have rented a car and spend a couple of days driving in and around the city.

The kids were allowed to drive the boat while it was in the water. Here's Amber in McCovey Cove.

Pier 39

On the waterfront in Bremerton, Washington

The jets of water are supposed to symbolize the salmon swimming upstream

Amber making friends with a corn snake at Bremerton's newest tourist attraction, the Bug Museum.

The Bug Museum was very reptile-heavy. My daughter showed no fear, asking one of the workers to take this skink out of its aquarium so she could have a closer look.

Do these look like submarine conning towers coming up out of the depths of the sea?

The USS Turner Joy, one of the attractions lining Bremerton's waterfront. The area has been greatly cleaned up since my parents moved up here in the early 1990's. Gone are the seedy bars and boarded-up storefronts, replaced by condos, hotels, museums and tourists.

With two of the other of my favorite women, my wife and my sister

















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