Dear Reader, my family left for China to visit family for a few weeks. Fortunately, they made it to China without incident. They were in transit for about 21 hours from Washington, D.C. to Shanghai via Chicago. Although taking a trip to China right before heading to South America isn’t ideal, it’s better than flying from Paraguay to China, a 31-hour nightmare journey via Los Angeles. The 14-hour flight trans-Pacific flight from Chicago to Shanghai is the longest my wife and son have ever taken. My wife said that they were tired but that they both made it none the worse for wear. Relatives in China are happy to see them. My son did very well considering the long flight; he rotated his time between watching children’s DVDs, reading books, sleeping, and wandering the airplane. He loves airplanes and was happy when I told him that he would fly on the "white" airplane versus the "blue" or "grey" ones. I asked him whether he would rather fly back to Seoul to see his friends, and he responded that no, he would rather go visit family. That’s quite a change in attitude–my little boy is really growing up!
In the meantime, I am an empty nester. Several friends have told me to enjoy temporary "bachelorhood." OK. I do appreciate the peace and quiet, although it feels too quiet, and it feels strange having no one else around. So far, I’ve been a homebody. I ran some errands in anticipation of our trip after I dropped my family off at the airport, but I’ve stayed home for the last day and a half brushing up on my French. (I will retake my French exam on Thursday to get my score on the books; I hope to improve my score from 1/1 to 1+/1+.) I worked out a system where I write dialogues. Microsoft Word automatically corrects the grammar because it recognizes French. If I don’t know the vocabulary word, I look it up using an online dictionary and then add it to my language database. I’ve also been looking up the same German and Portugese words and adding them as well; German, because I will retest in German at the end of the month, and Portugese, because I will study Portugese next year. Improving my language scores to 1+/1+ in French and German and testing in Portugese next year will allow me to qualify in the future for jobs in French-, German-, and Portugese-designated assignments.
It’s not too exciting, I know that. I might sneak away and catch "Pirates of the Caribbean" at the cinema later this week.