Wednesday, July 31, 2013


10:55 a.m.: take off from Dalian
1:10 p.m.: land in Seoul
4:30 p.m.: take off from Seoul
11:15 a.m.: land in San Francisco

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


A little bit short of five years. I have no words of wisdom or lists of bests and worsts, though all were solicited from me today. I'm putting my daughter to bed. I'm kissing my wife. I won't see them for a couple months after tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow's going to be one of those weird twofers: two mornings, two sunsets.

"Tim, can you come here, tell me a story?"—Eileen.

So I'm going.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Yesterday we taught our last class. No more ESL. Everything's packed and ready to go.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


We ordered the tickets today: Hanna and Eileen will arrive on October 12!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


We think Hanna and Eileen will arrive in the States on October 12.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Week Left

It seems impossible. Hanna and Eileen have their visas and can go shortly after I do. The immigration process seemed really difficult before we actually got into it, but it was more time consuming than difficult. Hanna had to go to her hometown a couple times and then to Beijing to drop off documents, Shanghai for the physical, and Guangzhou for the interview.

Everybody always throws themselves a party on the way out, obligating a celebration, and though we've tried to avoid any noise of our own, several people talk about parties and all the stuff we should do before we go. A couple people have even told Hanna how she ought to feel at this moment, right before she goes to a totally different way of doing things. Their expressions suggest that anything but excitement is a bad emotion, one that she shouldn't feel. The question is never "Are you ever going to come back?" but only "When are you coming back?" I don't know how to answer. They point out how easy life is for foreigners over here—financially, they always mean, as though that ended it.

I'm reading Tristram Shandy for the fourth time (since 2007, I've read it every odd-numbered year). I just finished book 6, and I'm thinking about all the digressions I still need to get into, all the things I didn't write, especially since the beginning of last year. What function will this online space serve?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two Weeks Left

Hanna's and Eileen's visas arrived today! They can leave China anytime before December.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Three Weeks Left

Hanna and Eileen had their visa interview in Guangzhou today. They passed and will be able to move to the US in the fall! The whole application process for their visa went faster than we expected. I expected a year maybe or at least six months. We dropped the first documents off in April (though we had to do a lot of preparing before that—getting birth certificates etc.). Our conversations and days have been so filled with thinking about immigration. Perhaps we can rest now that it's all over, at least on this side of the world.