Liz met me at Logan Airport in Boston this morning and we got to catch up on the drive home. Sheâ€™d gone into Boston to play mixed doubles squash with Preston (B. Quick) â€“ a real relationship test, it seems to me! â€“ so this worked out perfectly, and so did the fact that she was tired from the match. Now sheâ€™s going to have to wait till Monday to start my Chinese language training boot camp.
The weatherâ€™s been miserable in the Berkshires, but as of today the sun is shining. Weâ€™re closing the office early, in fact, because itâ€™s so lovely outside. (Hm, has the weather really been as bad as they say, or was that just to make me feel guilty for gallivanting around Beijing?)
When I got to the office I distributed some ink drawings from Guangzhou and winter tea from Beijing, and we were talking about the fun of bargaining in markets in other countries. I told them how Tom enjoyed practicing his Chinese with the teenage girls in the Silk Market, explaining why his mother couldnâ€™t possibly pay what they were asking. While he bargained, I attempted to convey a lack of interest and eagerness to leave. The trouble is that if he caught my eye, both of us would start smiling or laughing. So I learned to wander away, leaving the field to him. After one particularly long, intense exchange, deal done at last, I asked him what heâ€™d been saying. â€œOh, I was telling her about your business and how times are tough in America, so weâ€™ve come to China to try and restore the family fortunes.â€ Thus the need for my new business suit. But I’m not sure where the silk dress fit into this scenario.