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July 25, 2008

Yeye in China.

That’s what (almost) two-year-old grandson Drew has learned to say over the past month, although his actual mental picture of his grandfather’s whereabouts is uncertain.

I have had a great time but am ready to go home – wherever that is. I arrived in Beijing on June 14; hung out there on June 15 with Washburn U colleague (last year) Yongtao Du, who was visiting friends and family; interviewed a Chinese NGO official in Beijing the morning of June 16 and a professor that evening in Changchun, in northeastern China; flew to Zhengzhou to spend several days with friend Jianxia Zhao; took a train to Wuhan to spend several days with friend Honggen Yi; took an overnight sleeper bus (cramped!) to Nantong to spend a week with many friends from when I lived there (see photos); and finally took a bus to Nanjing for three and a half weeks of teaching at the Center for Talented Youth. The second weekend, I went to nearby Suzhou to visit nephew Ricky, his fiancé Shugar, and Wang Zhigang, the one former corporate colleague who had not been able to go to Nantong for a reunion dinner. The teaching at CTY has been pretty much the same as last year. The students are highly motivated and, thus, fun to teach. Hopkins-Nanjing Center Professor Ren Donglai was very helpful in finding me an article I needed (for my book manuscript) on Kuang Yaming, the president of Nanjing University at the time it made a joint venture agreement with Johns Hopkins University. I turned in my final CTY paper work (student evaluations) today, July 25. Tomorrow, I will fly to Beijing, where I will have dinner with and interview one or two Ford Foundation officials. The next morning, it is back to Kansas City, and five days later I will be driving a U-Haul truck (loaded by day laborers) to Joplin. - Norty