Teaching and Living in China
--from Louisa and Richard Wright
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18--On our way home

Hi everyone,

We are in the process of packing for our journey home. I had hoped to get more journals out to all of you, but there are so many friends to say goodbye to here in China, and so many gifts to pack in our suitcases. I don't know how we'll get everything home. It has been an awesome year!

We will be travelling by train to Shenzhen and then crossing the border into Hong Kong. From there we will fly to Singapore, stay overnight and then in the morning fly to San Francisco and from there home to Calgary. All in all, we will be travelling for at least three days straight.

When we get home, we'll put ourselves into voluntary quarantine for 10 days due to SARS. Even though we are quite safe from the disease here in Shandong, we will be travelling through Hong Kong and Singapore, where there have been more reported cases. We would much rather be safe than sorry. As a result, we won't be able to see any of you at the airport when we arrive in Calgary.

We'll let you know when we arrive back home and hopefully get you all caught up on the happenings here, which continue and never cease to be amazing! So far I have taken in excess of 3,000 pictures, and more will be taken on the journey home, I'm sure. I hope to share them all with you, but it all takes time, which is moving very quickly at this point.

I have a request:
Could you please refrain from sending any emails that are not vitally important for me to read until I get home. Personal messages are always appreciated of course, but in the interest of keeping my inbox relatively clean until I get a chance to access it again, please don't send us any email that can wait till later, such as jokes, chain letters, or anything with attachments like pictures. Even though I have the extra storage in my hotmail account, it tends to fill up rather quickly.

Also, after the 10 day isolation, we plan to have an open house. The date is not confirmed yet, but we are thinking ealry July, maybe even Canada Day. Please don't plan any parties for us, as we would much rather spend the one day showing all our friends and relatives the treasures we have acquired in the far east. We will have a lot of work to do at home before heading back to China in the fall, so we appreciate your cooperation in this as well.

As I said before, it has been an awesome year! I don't know how to explain the feelings we have for these people, but I assure you, they are very deep. It will be very difficult to say goodbye, especially to my little angels. I hope you will all join us in wishing that they can come to visit us in Canada some day, so maybe some of you can meet them.

We both look forward to seeing all of you soon, and of course will phone our loved ones upon arriving at home. I'll also email all of you as soon as we can to let you know of our safe arrival.

Thanks for all your support the past year,
Loek and Dick

Hi again Owen,

I know I replied to you about this just before we left China, but I thought I would update you. The school paid us the airfare bonus of Y8,000 each as well as our June salaries. They also bought the electronic piano from us as there seemed to be no way to ship it to Hainan safely. Then, at the train station in Liaocheng, we got another surprise. Mr Zhang paid for our train tickets, something we didn't expect, so that was a very nice travel bonus.

We know the school has financial difficulties, so we really do appreciate that they have paid us all of these items. I almost wish we didn't have to take the money, but unfortunately, things are quite expensive here in Canada. Not only that, but the Canadian dollar is stronger now against the US dollar, which is good for Canada, but not for people like us who are exchanging currencies, because we get less in Canadian money.

We had an amazing year in Huimin, and we will retain friendships with the people there for many years to come. The school is honourable and has lived up to its contract even though times were difficult for them. We are very impressed with the way they handled things and with the way they treated us!

Thanks again, Owen, and see you in Hainan,
Loek and Dick

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