Screenshot_2015-05-14-16-49-37Doug and I studied Mandarin for a few months before our trip and it really paid off! I was able  to figure out right away that this restroom was closed. Feeling proud and self satisfied ; )

Screenshot_2015-05-13-09-13-20This is one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill. We spent our last night here at his place.  He braved the Los Angeles traffic to pick us up at the train station, took us back to his lovely home and treated us to a delish Thai dinner. Thank you, my friend.

The other picture is of Doug and I and my cousin Clare. I wouldn’t be writing this or going to China if it weren’t for her.

I also have to thank Doug for being willing to take ten weeks out of his life to walk across China with me- during the rainy season no less. I love you very much. How did I get so lucky?

Screenshot_2015-05-13-08-59-48I have to begin this post worth a disclosure.  This trip was not my idea.  It was my cousin (first-once removed) Clare’s. I met her for the first time ever at a family reunion last September. Talk had turned to our uncle and she said,  “I wish someone in our family would finish the walk for him” and I asked Doug if he wanted to do it and he said yes and the die was cast.  We started planning that night.

A few months ago, Clare asked me if she could give me something to take to China and leave somewhere for our uncle.  She didn’t yet know what it would be. She figured the thing would find her. A week and a half ago she found this when she took her old prescription glasses to the donation center at her local public library.  A paper, logo stamped bag from the tourist imformation center of the little town own our uncle was born and raised in. Even now, St. Martinville only has a population of 6,100 people. I’m choosing to believe that this wasn’t just a random event. This means something. The magic has started. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this bag once I get to China but I think that if I ‘m quiet and I listen and wait, it’s place will find me just like the bag found Clare.

elliotDon and Debbie

I gave postcards to strangers and keeping with the spirit of my uncle’s mission, they each gave me one dollar. I want to say thank you to Elliot and to Don and Debbie. That little gesture was touching and believe it or not, it  gave me a deeper connection to my uncle. I can’t put a price tag on that.

Humanity prevails!