Archives of Thom

Our bags our packed…

We are off this morning. It’s been a super-hectic few weeks but it’s finally here. Our bags our packed and even with gifts our bags are under 40 pounds each, well Catherine and Li Li’s are. We’ll try to update the blog each day but no guarantees – I’m told the GFW (Great Fire Wall) is more sophisticated than ever – so we’ll see how it goes.

First stop is Beijing followed by the train to Xi’an. I’ll post the full itinerary later. Zaijian. -t



Li Li and Poppy Shucking corn.

As we get ready for our trip back to China it’s started me thinking about how much has changed technology wise since 2007 when we last visited.

In January 2007 there was no iPhone, no iPad, Facebook was something only college students did, there was no Pinterest, Twitter was yet another thing only a few people did, and if you wanted to keep a bunch of people updated about something email was your best bet, although some people might go through the trouble to start a blog. Myspace was a big deal but it got more publicity than actual use.

That was the world in which in December of 2006 I bought a domain name, found a hoster, leveraged the simplicity of WordPress and started blogging. Reading through these old posts is a bit like time-traveling – dredging up memories and emotions. I can’t believe Li Li was ever that small – and yet her smile and her cheeks haven’t changed a bit.

200px-Samuel_PepysI’ve never been a diary keeper – too much like navel gazing for me and down that road lies the tendency to turn into another Pepsys, but in hindsight I really liked that every night while we were in China after putting Li Li, to bed I’d sit at the keyboard and try to gather my thoughts into a coherent digestible chunk leavening them with a few photos and maybe a bad joke or two. I’m not sure why I rarely feel the need to do that in a normal day in everyday life. Maybe it’s the lack of new stimulus that being in a new environment brings? Maybe it was the lack of other options to while away the time? Who knows but looking back on my old posts helps me relive each day all over again – something I’m not great at. My mental buffer is too small and I tend to lose many of those memories while retaining odd random shards that pop up uninvited.

Why can I remember the simple excitement and joy of hunting for crawfish in creek when I was 7 years old but not have no recollection of some of the conversations I’ve had in the last year? Why can I remember the light at sunrise in Yellowstone on a September morning but have no memory some people’s faces?

This trip back to China will be really interesting. We’ll be going back as a group of 7 people. We’ll be visiting 8 cities: Beijing, Xi’an, HengFeng and Nanchang (both in Jiangxi Province), Chengdu, Yangshuo, Guangzho and Hong Kong. We’ll be doing the usual touristy things without a ton of downtime. Our previous trip involved lots of hanging out in the hotel or going to see one local site or village before eating and napping each day because we had our new babies they needed naps and baths. . This trip evolved into a far more ambitious journey than we originally thought we’d be doing when we started planning a visit back to China – and I’m sure we’ll all be longing for naps before it’s over.

We suckered, I mean, convinced Catherine’s parents, her sister and our friend Anne to join us. So I’ve become the de facto travel agent booking tickets and hotels, finding drivers to handle our large group, arranging tour guides and planning activities. Since you don’t go to China every day we ended up adding this activity and that activity, oh and we’ve got to do that one as well. Hopefully our trip won’t devolve into planes, trains and automobiles – although we’ll be using all three modes of travel.

We’ll have guides and drivers pre-arranged for some of our cities, but for others we’ll just figure things out when we get there. Li Li and I have re-started Chinese lessons with a private tutor to at least get down pat a few sentences and phrases. Catherine will be the trip physician doling out medicines as needed and generally being the voice of reality.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates -t



It’s Alive

Yes, this site is still live despite the best efforts of Facebook to kill independent WP_20150907_17_02_08_Promedia. I’m fighting the power (cue Chuck D.) and reactivating the site. Obviously I need to pick a better theme but this one is a starting point since it was made in year.

So as some of you know we are going back to China in October and due to “Chinese internet conditions” aka “The Great Chinese Firewall” updates here or on Facebook may be problematic.

Meanwhile here’s a photo of Li Li which is the only reason people come here. More posts, updates and photos will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.

We’re starting to figure out this whole video thing

So, we’ve had a video camera since last year and we’ve taken videos but we were never able to do much with them. Catherine finally figured out how to upload them to Youtube and I’ve upgraded the back-end of our wordpress blog

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Here’s the video of Li Li singing happy birthday and playing her Ukelele

After a significant amount of painful trial and error I downloaded and learned how to use the plugins so hopefully going foward we should be able to post more videos. Let us know what you think. -t