Yesterday I finished writing Last Train to Kingston, the first in a series of murder mysteries set in my home town. I’m taking a brief respite before I do the initial edit and add in photos. I thought you might like a sneak preview at some of the settings in the book.
So, this is my first post in a few weeks and I decided to write once more about my friends in China. https://aroundzuzusbarn.com/2015/06/27/skyping-with-milanda/
I met Shengdong at our church one Sunday. He was with his five-year old daughter, Milanda. He was on a year sabbatical from his university in Xiamen and would be studying at our own University of Rhode Island in Kingston. Although his wife Mary had to return to China to work, they decided that Milanda would remain here with her dad.
We became close friends and Milanda spent many days with me, learning how to bake and to garden; reading and practicing English. She was a joy and when it came time for them to return to Xiamen, it was difficult for all of us. But we promised to keep in touch and through emails and Skype, we have kept this promise during the past three years.
Every Saturday morning (Saturday night in China), we bring each other up-to date on our week’s activities. Upon hearing Milanda’s voice, Roxie usually makes an appearance. She sits in front of the computer waiting for Milanda to come from behind the screen to give her treats and brush her as she did so often all those years ago.
Milanda also wanted to show me the intricate movements performed in her recent dance recital. We agreed that if I tried any of the complicated moves, I would probably break something. She explained all about the makeup application and hair styling involved. I would have loved to have been there to see her first performance, even though she has been showing me the steps every Saturday morning for the past few months.
Today they went to a party and she made sweet dumplings dyed yellow and green with vegetable juices. Placing the container in front of the computer screen, she took each dumpling out to show the colors. The picture quality has been very tiled during our last few skype sessions, and the audio often breaks up, but we make the best of it. She and her dad had crafted paper lanterns at the party. His was a cow on a blue background and hers a rooster in bright pink. She’s a promising young artist and sends me her special drawings and paintings for gifts which I cherish.
She proudly showed her prizes from the party: two red toy monkeys named Roxie and ZuZu in honor of her old friends here in RI. She has a teddy bear I sent her one Christmas. It wears a straw hat and is holding garden tools. She calls it Clare.
This morning we were able to visit for a while in spite of the static and the tiling and when we had to say goodbye, I promised to send her an e-card this week until we could talk again next Saturday.
Fragile connections from one continent to another. Simple conversations among friends. Smiles, laughter, and sharing the week’s experiences and the past’s memories. What a beautiful way to begin a winter’s day.