Next week we have the entire week off to celebrate the October national holiday. Everyone travels during this time, and we will be no different. Brian is meeting with some people from Ningbo (near Shanghai) and traveling to Xi'an to see the terra cotta soldiers. Then they will continue traveling north into the desert where portions of the Great Wall are still standing.
Derek and I are joining Jackie and Frank and traveling to Shanghai where his brother lives. We'll stay there a couple of days and then go to Hangzhou, a beautiful city thought of as heaven on earth. We will visit some other small town too, but I'm not really sure what the exact plans are because Jackie is making all the arrangements. All I know is that right now we are not sure if we will take the train or the bus. If we take the train, we will probably have to get standing tickets - which means we will have to stand for about 20 hours on the train. Hopefully, we can make other arrangements!
Some people have asked me what they can send me as gifts or "just because!" So I've jotted down several things I would enjoy receiving (in addition to real mail from ya'll!). All of these things would be greatly appreciated and well used by everyone here, and they are all things that if several people sent duplicates, it would be okay. So, without further adieu:
Any kind of mix: cookie mixes, brownie mixes, muffin mixes, stuffing mixes (for Thanksgiving), etc.
Any kind of seasoning packets: taco seasoning, gravy packets, etc.
Peanut butter (smooth and Jiff chunky - per Cindy's request)
Granola bars (chocolate chip, honey oat, oat and raisin, etc.)
Pop tarts (non-frosted and frosted)
Shortening (like Crisco)
Candy for Halloween
Peppermint Sticks (Mom - soft ones if you can find them too)
Hershey Bars or other good chocolate (chocolate here is either not good or expensive)
Icing for cakes
U.S. Maps (wall size and small)
Posters of U.S. scenes or other things I could hang on my walls
Magazines, Newspapers, Books or any other media (we crave the written word!)
Macaroni and Cheese (Easy Mac, etc.)
Instant Oatmeal (variety pack)
Cream of wheat
Halloween decorations (We plan to make a haunted house and invite our friends and students. It was a BIG deal last year - a couple hundred students came through the haunted house they made then - and we want to make it huge this year. But we don't have a lot of supplies. I know there's not a lot of time left before the holiday, but there should be enough time to get a package here. It might take about 3 weeks.)
Please feel free to throw in other things that you think would be useful here. Some things you don't need to send (because they are here): Oreos, Skittles, M&Ms, Ramen noodles, peanuts. If you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail.