Herald-ry 2011: Another Family Newsletter Thundering With TMI

[This family report was written in early September, 2011. The author stands by his commentary, if not necessarily his publication choices.]

Good morning, all my relations! It’s a blue-sky Monday in Dalian, and Sarah Harmer is singing “I am Aglow (With Thoughts of You)” in the next room. It’s not only a sweet and lively tune, but it’s a good mask for the usual September sounds in our apartment complex: military training next door. Freshman college and university students in China spend their first few weeks on campus in a kind of boot camp, so we hear endless repetitions of canned marching songs, indefatigable shouts of “Yi! Er! San! Si!” (their counting is outstanding, though limited; I used to think the same things about my high school’s football teams during their early-practice calisthenics), the crow-like hollers of young women crying out their martial arts thrusts and, of course, the Chinese national anthem. This morning’s alarm was megaphoned instructions a little before 6 am, and canned trumpets doing some sort of reveille. HELLO!! Sam was out the door by 7:30 for his third day of school, and Diana was teaching Oral English at her university by 8. So now it’s just me and Sarah, and a mad wind whirling about and through our 9th floor apartment. I can see the Bohai Sea between the cupolas of the apartment buildings across the street. I’ve just received the sweetest email from one of our dear friends here. It’s a good day.

Oh, the beds we’ve slept in!  Canada was a glorious, homely and instructive place to be this past summer. We had two brief visits to our house on Presland Road,

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