In four days, my family and I will begin a year of living and working in Xi’an, China. At the moment, we are frantically making last minute preparations and hoping that we don’t forget anything too important. Our visas arrived on Monday—the same day our oldest son moved into his first apartment and prepared to start his freshman year of college.
On Tuesday, we received our teaching schedules via email. We also learned that the college would provide two apartments for us (one on the old campus and the other on the new campus). And of course, we went to the eye doctor and picked up a year’s supply of contact lenses.
On Wednesday, we spent the morning cleaning out our house in Paola. It is on the market, and we hope it sells before we come back. We had one last lunch at We B Smokin, the barbeque joint at the Miami County Airport. (This is the one President Obama ate at when he spoke in Osawatomie in 2011.) From there we went for one last swim out at Hillsdale Lake and attended one last round of Wednesday night church activities.
On Thursday, I went to my office where I am not supposed to be because I am on sabbatical for the school year. The college painted and replaced the carpet for everyone in my office area, so I was able to put everything back in my office before leaving. We also made more than one trip to Target to buy last minute items to take on the trip. We have to be careful, though, because we each get one suitcase and one carry-on. That does not leave much room, so we are crossing our fingers that we made good decisions about what to leave (coats) and what to take (books).
Today is Friday. I am beginning to feel the weight of “one last time” on everything I do. I had one last run with my friend which I followed with one last soufflé from Panera. I am spending one last hour in my office, and later I will have one last dinner out with the dinner club.
The rest of the weekend will be full of one last times, but next week every day will be the first time for something. I’m not sure I can even imagine what all of the “firsts” will be like yet. But when I experience them, I plan to share them with you on this blog.
And for now…One last look at Hillsdale Lake. Goodbye trees, goodbye water, goodbye big sky.