Joe got out the calendar today and calculated that 100 days from today, we'll be on a plane to Shanghai. That definitely motivates the transition activity! My father-in-law Frank suggests that we should adapt "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" as our theme song. We spent yesterday (a Saturday) in teacher improvement/professional development/pick your favorite euphemism. I started with a class on a particular type of creative software and, as one of my activities, chose a picture of Nanjing Street in Shanghai, which is the Times Square-type shopping street. Just seeing the picture made me feel lighter than air, and I was a bit obnoxious about making my colleagues look at the picture to see where I would be soon.
However, 100 days makes us realize how many things we still need to do. We've got to schedule our last medical exams so we can get all our necessary prescriptions filled. I have my regular stuff, but we were also cautioned to take an ample supply of antibiotics with us (Cipro was the recommended drug) to help with some of our "internal adjustments." (If you don't understand, all I can say is try eating some melon in Mexico, but that's another story entirely.) Joe's doctor suggested running a few blood tests and such just to make sure nothing will pop up. We already have dates with our dentist and eye doctor, both of whom are simply thrilled for us. It's nice to have such support, and our dentist even keeps electronic records, so we just get to download them to our computer and show them to a Chinese dentist if necessary. We will also get to visit a Chinese doctor for a health check when we arrive, and my email buddy Wendy says we will at least be diagnosed with "fatty liver," regardless of our actual health status.
We are continuing to read books about China and watch movies as well. For the movies, we started with "The Last Emperor," tried "Farewell, My Concubine" (lasted about 20 minutes on that one, but couldn't take the impromptu finger amputation), and saw "Raise the Red Lantern" last night. Stories about Chinese life seem to have unhappy endings. I've been reading "Red China Blues" about a Chinese-Canadian journalist who lived in Beijing during the early seventies, when she wanted to be a Maoist and then again in the late eighties. Her description of the events leading up to the massacre at Tienanmen Square are absolutely riveting, especially because she saw the whole thing from her balcony at a Beijing hotel right on site. We are also trying out some recipes from our Shanghai cookbook: Curried Beef is coming soon.