cocktail hour in the laundry room: the dragon boat festival that wasn’t

Monday, June 22:  Good evening and big hugs to you.  I’m so glad you dropped by for another laundry room cocktail hour. Please, have a seat in my comfortable chair.  I’m so anxious to hear about your week.  Would you like a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or a cold Budweiser?  Usually I buy Chinese beer, but I’ve decided it tastes a little too watery for my taste.   I must confess, I already started celebrating a bit before your arrival.  Just a wee glass of wine, or two.  I’m hoping that will make me more relaxed, and more ready to hear all you have to say.

One of many lotus ponds on the campus

One of many lotus ponds on the campus

It’s plenty warm out here in the laundry room, but it doesn’t seem quite as humid as usual, so maybe we can bear it for a while.  The sun is shining, a rarity in Nanning, so we might want to catch some of the rays, even if they’re coming in at a low angle.  Do you agree it isn’t so bad out here tonight?  I’m quite enjoying it because I’ve been sitting inside in air conditioning all day. I’ve been huddled under a blanket, so it’s nice to be outside enjoying the summer evening.

a particularly pretty lotus pond on campus

a particularly pretty lotus pond on campus

I took some pictures with my iPhone this week during several walks I took around the campus.  They’re here in the post so you can see what my daily walks look like.  Well, not quite daily, but at least four times a week.  I had a bizarre thing happen this week, most notably that a young Chinese man on a bicycle tried to proposition me.  This happened quite regularly in Oman, and everywhere I’ve been in the Middle East, but it has never happened before in China.  I was quite shocked by it. I’ll tell more about it, with a picture of the perpetrator, once I leave China.  Don’t worry, I WILL tell you all about it eventually.

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

We should celebrate because it’s been a three-day weekend for the Dragon Boat Festival. I’m always happy to have an extra day in which I don’t have to work, even if I do absolutely nothing to celebrate the actual holiday.

The Dragon Boat Festival was on Saturday, June 20.  Here’s what China Travel Guide has to say about it:  This festival has been held annually for over 2,000 years and commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).  It also acts as a chance for Chinese people to build their bodies and dispel diseases.  Qu Yuan was a minister from the State of Chu and supported a fight against the powerful state of Qin.  Because of this, he was slandered by an aristocrat and exiled by the King.  He wrote many passionate poems to show his love for his country, and is therefore regarded as a famous poet in China’s history. In 278 BC, after finishing his last masterpiece, he drowned himself in the river rather than see his country occupied and conquered by the State of Qin.

On hearing of Qu Yuan’s death, the locals were in distress and fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats down the river. Other people threw food such as eggs and food like zongzi into the river to attract fish and other animals from destroying Qu Yuan’s body. Later, many people imitated these acts to show their respect for this great patriotic poet and this practice continues today.

Because Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Dragon boat racing and eating zongzi have become the central customs of the festival (China Travel Guide: Dragon Boat Festival).

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

Though the Dragon Boat Festival sounds like a lovely holiday, I didn’t do a thing to celebrate.  I’ve traveled on every single National Holiday since I’ve been in China, and this is the first one where I’ve stayed put. I no longer have the energy to fight the huge crowds that always travel in China on these holidays.  I guess I’m finally starting to feel like often I feel in the U.S. on the national holidays.  I never travel on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day if I can help it.  Sometimes I travel on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we always try to figure out how to get around the crowds on these holidays.

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

Graffiti on old buildings on the Agricultural College campus

On Saturday afternoon, my student Azura, the one who took me to the apartment restaurant several weeks ago, texted me: “Hi Cathy.  It’s Azura.  Are you at school or travelling to another city?  My parents coming school, and my mother made some different kinds of ‘zong zi’ for you. ‘zong zi’ is traditional food for Dragon Boat Festival.”  After some back and forth emails, Azura had her father drive her to my apartment so she could drop off the zongzi.

Zongzi all wrapped up

Zongzi all wrapped up

Zongzi is pyramid-shaped glutinous rice wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves.  In the north part of the country, people favor the jujube as filling, while the south favors sweetened bean paste, fresh meat, or egg yolk.  The zongzi Azura’s mom made have quail eggs and beef in them, and even some bones!

zings when opened

zings when opened

Eating the zongzi was the closest I came to celebrating the holiday. I’ve been on the go so much over the past number of weekends that I’ve been happy to stay inside all weekend, reading some blogs, writing some blogs, editing some pictures, and watching endless episodes of Revenge.  I also walked every day, and although I’m walking 3 miles a day at a fast pace and sweating buckets, in addition to trying to watch what I eat, I still can’t seem to drop a single pound.  It’s so discouraging!

lotus blossoms

lotus blossoms

Lotus pond

Lotus pond

So, tell me about your week.  What did you do?  Did you travel at all?  Did you enjoy the Summer Solstice? Did you go to any outdoor concerts?  Did you make any lists?  Did you plan any trips for the later part of the summer?  How is work?  Did you have an easy or stressful week?  Did you make a new friend?  Or did you have a conflict with anyone?  Did you have too high expectations in a friendship and did the person let you down?  Did worries keep you from sleeping?  Or did you experience ecstatic joy or pleasure?


Lotus blossom under cover


lotus pond and tree

I know it’s been a difficult time in the U.S. with those senseless and hateful killings in a Charleston Church.  Why is there still such hatred in this world?  Why don’t people try harder to understand one another, and to love one another? I find people are becoming increasingly isolated.  It’s a difficult world we live in, so why don’t we all work harder to make it easier, and more loving?  A lot of people have written about this very American racist crisis, and I don’t have anything more to say except that people continue to horrify and disappoint me.  I think most people do have hearts, but we don’t read about them much in the news, do we?

Here in China, life goes on. My students continue to be kind to me, and they reinforce every day that they are the best thing about this job.  When I leave here, I will write about the pros and cons of working at SCIC, and I will also write about what I’m going to miss and not miss in China.   I look forward to writing that post after I leave the country.

I really didn’t do much at all this week except finish my last English Interest Course, “Road Trip American Style.”  This course is not much of anything except having the students watch movies. We watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Little Miss Sunshine, and finally, Chevy Chase National Lampoon Vacation.  The students seemed to enjoy the movies.  The classes are really a waste of our time and the students’ time, in my opinion.  Since they’re on Tuesday afternoons and our last class was this week, now I’ll be finished every day of the week by noon, except for Mondays.  We only have two more teaching weeks remaining, and then it will be exam week.  Thank goodness, as I think we’re all ready to be finished with this semester.

the shady part of my walk

the shady part of my walk

Besides getting totally hooked on the TV series, Revenge, I’ve also been watching Grey’s Anatomy and Mistresses.  I’m still plodding away on Sandcastle Girls. The book is good, but for some reason I seem to be too antsy to read much.  By the time I go to bed, I read about a page or two, and then I’m asleep.

I did attend a small birthday celebration for Nancy, one of the long-time teachers at SCIC.  Here she is with her huge birthday cake, which I was able to partake in.



There really is nothing else of interest to tell you about this week.  It’s been deadly dull, to be honest.  Maybe I should have traveled this weekend after all.  I get so bored when there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do.  Once I’m back in my home in Virginia, I’ll be able to find plenty to do, I hope!

I hope you all have a great week.  Please, I hope you have something more interesting to tell me than I had to report!  I need some saucy news! Anything new and adventurous will do.  I can live vicariously through you. 🙂

Peace and love to you all. 🙂

Categories: Agricultural College of Guangxi University, Asia, China, Chinese food, conversation, Dragon Boat Festival, East Campus, English Interest Course, Guangxi University, Holidays, laundry room cocktail hour, Nanning, Sino-Canadian International College (SCIC), Teaching English as a Second Language, Zongzi | Tags: , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “cocktail hour in the laundry room: the dragon boat festival that wasn’t

  1. If you call that week boring then I hate to think what mine was. Far too uninteresting to bother writing about! Those Zongzi are exquisitely wrapped, though the insides don’t sound very nice, but what a thoughtful gesture by your student’s parents. I shall look forward to hearing about your propositioning and your thoughts on teaching in China when you get back ‘home’. I put that in quotes because I’m not sure you think of the US as home any more. A base yes, but home? Your family are there though so you must be glad to be returning and to see them. But I wonder where your heart is?

    Take care Cathy, not much longer now, I am impressed that you stuck it out, I think I’d have been on the plane at Christmas!


    • Those Zongzi were exquisitely wrapped, Jude, and even a little bit of a puzzle to open, and I have to admit I didn’t care much for the insides. They were okay, but not my thing.

      As for the US being home, of course I will always think of that as being home. I do have my homebody tendencies and I do enjoy being home, although I do get antsy after a time. Where my heart is varies from time to time. It’s away and then it’s home and then it’s away again. I feel like a boomerang, but one that does always return home in the end. I actually would like to make my times abroad a little shorter. If I could get a one semester gig, or a 3-month-long volunteer stint, I’d like that much better. A year in China was good because there was so much to see, but I didn’t come close to seeing everything. That would take a lifetime. 🙂

      I’m getting used to “sticking it out,” Jude. After all, I was already in Korea and Oman. Neither one of those is the easiest place for a Westerner to live.


      • But are you ever truly happy? Content? I always feel a thread running through your posts that you are not. You obviously enjoy the challenges that come your way and especially when you get the better of them, but I rarely feel contentment. Achievement, yes. Happiness? Not often. Volunteering would probably suit you, but I thought you said you needed to earn an income? So maybe that’s for the future. Unless you settle down of course 😉


      • Jude, I think I could ask the same of you. Honestly, I have no idea whether you’re content or happy as I rarely see much about your feelings revealed in your posts. It actually feels a little hurtful that over this year, I’ve probably received more negative comments and criticisms from you than anyone in all the time I’ve been blogging. I understand you don’t like China, despite never having been here, but I really don’t understand what I’ve done to you to deserve this psychoanalysis and criticism. I have to admit, I actually have become hesitant about even opening and reading your comments.

        As for my happiness or contentment, I imagine it’s the same as everyone else’s. I am actually content most of the time, happy some of the time, and not happy some of the time. It’s just that I’m really open and honest about it all, and am not afraid to let myself be vulnerable.

        Anyway, I would never consider leaving so many negative comments on any of my blogger friends’ blogs as you have this year. I try to be positive and encouraging to my friends, while being totally honest about myself and my struggles.


      • Cathy, it wasn’t meant as being negative. You are very open and honest about your feelings in your travels, and I think if you read back through some of your posts you will see that you have made negative comments about living in China yourself which come across as not being entirely happy with the situation and I was just reacting to those thoughts. I am sorry if I have hurt you, honestly not intentional and I don’t mind at all if you delete all my comments from your blog. I was only trying to show concern for someone I call a friend. A case of ‘foot in mouth’ – sorry!


  2. Cannot wait to read that upcoming blog! Strange to see English graffiti words on Chinese walls. I can well imagine how glad you will be to be home, though as you wrote, these are incendiary times. The internet has shrunk the world to a single neighbourhood, yet more and more younger people especially are feeling alienated, alone and highly prone to all the hate-mongering groups who offer them welcome and belonging. It is being said this latest shooter’s killing spree was prompted by him being rejected by a girl who chose a black man over him.

    I will miss our weekly visits to your laundry room for wine and a chat! Or cold beers on a simmering hot and humid day! I would like to suggest however you trade “Mistresses” for “Rescue Me”, as far as your binge-watching goes, though. Much better writing and storylines IMO.

    Until next weekend!



    • Mona Lisa, you’re right. It was totally strange to see that English graffiti on those walls. I am going to be so glad to be home and to see what’s around the next corner for me.

      It is sad that people seem to be becoming more isolated and critical instead of supportive toward each other. I am even encountering it on my blog, which makes me wonder why I bother. Some people just don’t like honesty, or feel they have to tear other people down, maybe because of their own insecurities.

      I’ll miss our laundry room chats too, but hopefully we can chat on the phone once I get home. Oh, I’ll have to check out “Rescue Me,” which I’ve never heard of by the way. I don’t even know what it’s about. That being said, I do enjoy “Mistresses,” but I’ve seen all three seasons and now sadly have to wait for season 4. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi again, these responses are making my day! I am shocked and thoroughly disheartened to learn that you have negative comments on your blog!!!! Seriously??? This is incomprehensible to me! Thank God and goodness, there are plenty of fans of yours out there to make up for these people who probably have never set foot on foreign soil and therefore have no idea what it takes to transport yourself and your life to a strange new land and basically, keep starting over from scratch. It is exhausting, lonely work to move, live and work overseas, despite the many more rewards you gain in both expected and unexpected ways, often years later. Nay-sayers be blocked unless they have first-hand experience. The world is NOT a rosy place 24/7.



      • There will always be some negative people, and even I can be negative at times, as can everyone, I think. I agree, the world is not a rosy place 24/7, and I don’t believe in presenting that kind of glowing picture anyway. You know me, I try to be as realistic as possible, showing all sides of an issue or a culture or place. Some people only want to present the positive sides of things, or they don’t care to share their personal struggles. To be honest, I don’t enjoy reading those kinds of blogs, but sometimes I do it just because people follow me and I want to visit them in return. I honestly would rather read and write about individual experience and struggles any day than just boring accounts of places (which I’m sometimes guilty of writing myself!).

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is a fine line you walk, that is for sure. Some of the responses you get from people you have visited in person ie other bloggers, I have not enjoyed their blogs as much of course when there was less personal involvement in the presentation. This is why I so love the Cocktail Hour blogs, when you write us each what feels like a personal old-fashioned letter!

        I am very very glad SO glad I met you online and then for real, and while I tried very hard in Oman to not impede or invade your space because you had an established life esp with Mario on the weekends, I was thrilled when we were office mates and when you did invite me out – yes, that visit with Beg was one of the highlights of my miserable time in Oman, the cat situation being just too emotional for me to deal with in the end, never mind inhaling all those chemical fumes from that horrible building site next door to my apartment. It was awful how I was treated at the end, with that stupid Indian doctor in Muscat calling Khalfan from the hospital where I was admitted, BEFORE A SINGLE TEST WAS DONE, informing him that I “probably had brain damage due to stroke” as the reason for my loss of balance. Before a single test was done! The damage was done even though the tests did not show ANYTHING at all as I had a lesion on my lower spine and not my head or neck which was MRI’d. How fast do you think my contract was backdated? One week. My contract was backdated and I was told that I would still have to go to work from 8-4 every day even though I had no contract and no classes. Nightmare. And then they would not give me a leaving date to go home nor revise my request to give me my 6 weeks leave to go home and get well and come back. No, out the door. Warwick and Irena and Bev and LJ were so supportive, but once I left, I never heard from Bev or MJ, though MJ did write me a brilliant reference against UNizwa rules of doing so. I was sworn to secrecy but as she is gone now from there it is okay. It was fun though looking back, and like you I sure do miss the ability and opportunity there used to be to take off and teach somewhere. I have though of you going to Russia though, how about that as an option as there is no money anywhere anymore, though Japan is opening up again if you go the Westgate or convesations school route. What do you think?? xx


      • It’s interesting what you say about the cocktail hours and the amount of sharing in my blogs, i.e. walking a fine line. Sometimes I don’t want to share too much especially if it involves my family and my children; when I share about my struggles with them, I’m stepping into their issues with privacy. I would like to write more meaningful posts always, but especially when I’m simply traveling, like to Myanmar, I don’t really have that much to say. I’m just enjoying the experience, and there’s not much to add to it. That’s why I think I’m not really meant to be a travel writer; I want to simply enjoy the experience without having to be aware of putting it all into words later. And often there is no emotional issue going on with me while traveling, because that’s all fun for me. Now writing about the struggles of LIVING and WORKING abroad, that’s a different matter, because there’s a lot more to say. In that case, you’re interacting with colleagues and locals and you’re trying to negotiate life in a foreign culture. There’s a lot more to write about there.

        Like you I don’t like reading about boring descriptions of places without some kind of emotional revelation; I know I do write those posts, but it’s because I honestly have nothing to say! I don’t enjoy writing them, but in those cases I want a record of my trip along with pictures. So there are different purposes for each of my blog posts; some are interesting only to me as a record of my travels, while others are interesting to others if there is some emotional revelation or some interesting experience.

        It was great to have you as a friend in Oman, and the times we shared were very special. That time you and Beg and I went to Jebel Akhdar on Valentine’s Day was a really fun day. I don’t know why, but Beg deleted me from Facebook right after I left Oman; he’s deleted me several times during the time I’ve been acquainted with him and I have no idea why. I thought he was a friend, but apparently not.

        It’s a shame you had to endure all those horrible experiences right before you left Oman, but at least you made it out of there with your health and well-being intact! You mention MJ, who I don’t know; are you talking about LJ? Anyway, you know how I felt about her! I don’t want to go back to China, I do know that for sure, but I might be open to something else. First I have to get this renovation done and make sure Adam is on track. There is no point in considering leaving until those things are straightened out. Even after completing the CELTA, which was a LOT of work, I’m still not sure I want to teach again! More about that in an upcoming blog post. 🙂


      • PS once that renovation work really starts and the weather warms up, I know you will shed those pesky few pounds. I read that using a corset (“waist trainer”) with clingfilm wrapped about your middle underneath it can do wonders sweating away the muffin top! Hahahaha! When I was MUCH younger I used to wrap myself up with that stuff before exercising and it did work! Like a mini-sauna!! Hahahah! xx


      • Yes, I totally understand the differences between what is revealed and what is kept private and what is just recorded for posterity. For sure there is more going on at the time you are just travelling but I understand that luxury of just revelling in the personal joy of having something that belongs only to you which you do not want to or need to share.

        How odd about Beg! Why would he do that? I am sure he deleted me, but he did reply when I asked him to fill out one of my Masters thesis questionnaires about being a non-native english speaking ESL teacher. He kindly declined saying he was too busy. Only Nermina filled it in, and I got some help with that from ERno. I was sad as it would have taken all of 15 minutes for him to fill it out but at least he said no in an email and did not ignore me. Yes, that was a thrilling day, and I am so thankful that you invited me – you would have been a great salon hostess in the days when such things were common, bringing disparate souls together and making it a night of conversation and enjoyment to remember!

        I imagine MJ is LJ, as there is no one else it could be that i know of. I was shocked Bev wanted nothing to do with me after I left except when she drove wArwick down to visit with me when I was back to pick up the cats in Muscat for a few days. I treasure that gift, and I treasure that visit, because I would have loved to have taught in Muscat.

        The esl world is all about teaching children now, that is true, and if I had to I would at least try to teach high school, becuase really, the Omani students were definately junior high school level in mentality and awareness, so what would be the difference? But so far, I am surviving here, thank God, and I am grateful there and hope to just get my pension secured which would take me to my old age pension which would be the time I could finally exhale. Today I have to finish up my end of the report for my own doctor and for social services, and I am not sure why I am dragging my feet but it is painful to go over so much misery and trauma and I hope this is the last time. But my life depends on it, so after I finish here I will have lunch, and get the document out and just get it done. Today I have nothing to do, at all, which is great as I can work on this and mail it off.

        At least you will have the CELTA, it is insurance and it will pay for itself somehow, that is for sure.

        AS for Alex, well, it seems to me you have already done sooooooo much for him, but he does not seem willing or able to take his life to the next step. Have you considered the tough love approach? As hard as that is, he is not a child. If he does not find a job and an apartment as of x date, then he will no longer has a comfy bed and a full fridge and a free roof over his head courtesy of mom and dad. I think that is how that works. We were so different at that age, even at 18 we were chomping at the bit to get our own homes and jobs no matter how shitty the jobs, especially if we were in school / university still. And how much fun did we have with no money?! We made it work and it made us all very hard workers who wanted to be free and adult as quickly as possible. I am sorry Alex’s situation does not seem to be so straighforward if he has issues with depression, but so do most people at some point in their lives. I just cannot understand with the opportunities and examples you and Mile have provided, never mind the fact that you went off to do your own thing after your kids were adults already, how he cannot seem to find his way. I am sorry you are having to deal with this, it must be so difficult when you have children and you have to say no as a way of helping them not hurting them. Please forgive me if I have overstepped any boundaries here. I just hate to see the guilt you have mentioned in the past weigh you down. This is a time for you and Mike to be reconnecting, not “still parenting” an adult child. But this is a different world, and kids today and young people did not grow up in the world we did. Sad to say. We had the best times I think, before cable and the internet and outsourced jobs blah blah. I would so not want to bring children into the world we have now. Never mind Trump and Hilary….!!!!



      • Sorry I mixed up Adam and Alec again!! Brain freeze on that one! My apologies!!!


      • Forgot to mention that “Rescue Me” is about firefighters in New York after 9/11. Denis Leary plays a firefighter whose cousin died during 9/11 and now he is having an affair with his cousin’s wife and his guilt about that is a big part of the show in the early season. The show is about so much more than that, about the family ties real and constructed between the firefighters and their real family members, and about the profound challenges of their dangerous and courageous work. But again it is about so much more than that, and so brilliantly written. I am just glad I found a show not about inventive serial killing techniques, murder and generally horrible people for a change. I am tired of crime shows and really was starving for great written human drama with pathos and humour and yes some sex thrown in because that is part of life (for most people anyway!). The first episode should have you hooked. I am sure one of the reasons I did not get that online marking job is because I was so caught up in Rescue Me I did not want to devote more than cursory time to anything else. In the end I had to totally binge watch (22-24 episodes per each of the seven seasons!) it just to finish it as my life was on hold because I could not tear myself away. I have never been as addicted to any other show like I was to that, except maybe the Sopranos but I had that on DVD and was not working at the time. This I watched on a Netflix type of streaming channel. Just the idea of “Mistresses” is a turn-off for me, but if it is well-written maybe I will give it a chance. It is amazing what you will watch when you are starved for choice, which is the opposite of what we have here. I got Netflix again yesterday and have no idea what to watch, except for “Wild” with Reese Witherspoone as I had read the book. The film was kind of disappointing. x


      • We watched the first episode of Rescue Me last night; I wasn’t totally hooked but maybe it will take longer to get into. I’m sometimes slow to get into TV series. It took me a while to get into Downton Abbey but then I was hooked big time!! Same with Breaking Bad, Mad Men and many more, which took me a long time to get into.

        I agree that “Wild” was a little disappointing. I’m looking forward to seeing some new movies in the theater this week: “Learning to Drive” with Patricia Clarkson (of “Cairo Time” – one of my favorites of all time!) and “Grandma” with Lily Tomlin. I also want to see “Walk in the Woods,” but have to wait for Mike for that one. We’re going to a play Friday night at the Wooly Mammoth Theater downtown. We went to see “Destiny of Desire” at Arena Stage on Saturday night; it was fun (a take-off on Latino telenovelas) and it we had an excellent Indian meal beforehand. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • How lucky am I all these replies to read and respond to!! I tried the first three episodes of Breaking Bad while in Oman, but I never got into it. I have not started Mad Men past the first few episodes only because I am afraid of having to interrupt my life and responsibilities because of getting too caught up, as I did with Rescue Me. I literally could not function until I finished it and there was something like 144 episodes one hour long each almost. I am now into Sons of Anarchy, which is like the Sopranos, another binge TV series I loved, only with bikers.

        I am dreading the end of Downtown Abbey on March 6. I cry in every show, the gentleness of these people and lives has become personal now for so many of us. There will be mass hysteria I fear after the last show ends! 😀

        I am sorry I sent you a wrong version of In the Name of Love. I forgot to tell you can watch it on your laptop by going into your Control Panel and simply changing the region code. Such an archaic stupid restriction in this day and age. The VLC media player is such a tiny simple platform to download which plays everything without having to go into Contol Panel, that was another option. I was really wanting to know what you thought of the 1962 Shanghai feeling of the film. xxx


      • It’s so funny that you wait until a bunch of comments and replies or blog posts have accumulated and then you read them all at once. I guess I do that too! Anyway, it took me a while to get into Breaking Bad, but I loved it in the end. Maybe if I gave Rescue Me more time, I’d like it too. I’ve watched so many good series lately, and now am sad to see Downton Abbey coming to an end next week. I also watched Island at War, Madam Secretary, The Time in Between (based on the book The Seamstress) and the amazing Danish series Borgen. I think you would love that one!

        No worry about the movie In the Name of Love. I ordered it on Netflix and watched it; Mike and I both loved it and the atmosphere of 1962 Shanghai in the film. I assume you finally did get my Christmas card and all the DVDs back? I sent them well before Christmas. 🙂


      • Hi there!! Oh yes!! Didn’t I say on your fb page that I received everything ages ago? Maybe you missed it as I may not have put your name in the reply which usually is a way tomake sure someone sees your message. I loved that movie, so simple and pure and those cheongams!!! Beautiful!!! So glad you could enjoy it with Mike.

        Right now I am at a loss with the streaming shows as I do not have netflix. I have two other ones, a Canadian one with no movies but tons of US and British shows, but no Sons of Anarchy which I loved but can no longer get with the services I have, that was fantastic, like Sopranos, my very favourite show, only with a biker gang. But fantastic writing. Yes, REscue Me took time. And Downton, well we all miss that. I am not into any of the replacements for Masterpiece theatre, I am not yet into Grandchester, but I do recommend the following British series for you:
        – Broadchurch (the UK version)
        – Wallander (both the UK and Swedish versions)
        – Vera (with the amazing Brenda Blethyn from Little Voice movie where she won an oscar)
        – Moone Boy (brilliant and sweet)
        – Call the Midwife
        – Morse (really old show set in Oxford!)
        US shows:
        – Nurse Jackie

        For now, I am really into Vera, which is about an older female police detective sargent or whatever they are called in the UK, she leads the crime task force on the Northumberland Coast. The scenery is terrific, the stories very well written, but then again I adore British crime shows. I watch something called AcornTV which streams only British TV shows, for $4.99 per month.

        So far I have not watched Madam SEcretary. I am back into Grey’s Anatomy and the new Shonda Rhimes show, The Catch, which started last week. You would like that I think, very clever show with a twist in the first episode which I had to find online as I had missed it. It is not at all like Grey’s Anatomy which is ending this year finally. Borgen I have seen but stopped as I want to watch the whole series. I would move up there to Scandinavia in a heartbeat. Cold and dark, with silent people and a lot of snow. Shame about the 100,000 Muslim men there now though and their families or whatever the number is. Tragic what is happening to Europe. I got my German passport last week in the mail, but really doubt I will ever get to use it even for travel. Let alone work. xxxxx


      • Just saw your reply below – yes, I agree some shows take a while. I could not get into Breaking Bad after three episodes but Mad Men was easier for me. Rescue Me is definately worth the effort to get past the first few episodes though now that you are back and your CELTA course is done, you may be too busy to sit back and binge watch! I do hope you enjoy the movie I sent you, In the Mood for Love. There are two DVDs, plus the other two movies one French and one German. It is a big deal to be able to detach when you are overseas, less so at home but still important. xx


  3. Good evening Cathy and how nice it is to be here for another cocktail hour – a white wine for me please. I agree – it is quite pleasant here on the balcony, especially as work is finished for the day. How odd to see English graffiti – it seems quite out of place! The best thing about my week was the wedding party we went to on Saturday with all the wonderful dancing. I danced every dance and by the end of the evening my feet were feeling very tired. I’m looking forward to your ‘tell all’ posts about life in China. 😉


    • A white wine it is for you, Elaine. Cheers! Yes, I agree that English graffiti did seem out of place on those old buildings, especially as so few things are written in English here. Oh, that wedding party sounds fun! I would love to dance the night away. I haven’t done that in ages. I’m sure you’re feet were sore, but I’m sure it was a very good sore! 🙂


  4. I think this evening I’ll have red wine, Cathy, since the evening is not too hot and humid. I love the evening sun, the beautiful golden glow of it. Your uneventful weeks seem to outdo my eventful weeks – most of my weeks are quite calm and quiet. I spent the solstice mowing the lawn of a friend who has been away for a week and will not be back until Friday of this week. Then I did a few things (very few actually) around my yard and house. Slow and easy seems to be my motto. I am reading a book now, Message from a Blue Jay, and have not made up my mind whether I’m enjoying it or not. It’s certainly not pulling me in because I don’t have the urge to go back to it frequently. My TV viewing has become lazy, I think – I seem to want inanity lately. And that’s just fine for summer fare. My next Netflix DVD will be Selma, however, so a little more meat to that one. I’ve streamed a few episodes of season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax and it’s pretty good. I think my mind is just not settling in one spot for very long. Not to be a downer, and this comment is not meant as a criticism at all, but truly it seems you get the itch to travel after being in any one place for a while. I think you will find Virginia refreshing and enlivening – for awhile. Then you will be ready to take off again. My thought only but you seem to have the “grass is always greener” syndrome. I think my wanderlust is satisfied for now, at least, and I am quite content to spend my time at home. Now I must go, with the hope that I have not offended you. That would be so unkind and rude of me, I hope you did not take it that way.


    • Ok, Carol, red wine it is, since it’s a pleasant night. I’m glad you enjoyed your quiet uneventful week; I think I will be happy to have those once I return to Virginia. I have no obligations except to help my son move and to attend a CELTA class in Washington starting near the end of September. It will be nice to have down time.

      It was so nice of you to mow your friends’ lawn and I’m sure it felt great to get things done around your house and yard. Are you liking your book better yet? Maybe it just has taken a while to get into. Oh, I wonder how you liked Selma. I haven’t seen that yet, and I would like to watch it when I return home. I’ve also watched Season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax and Mike tells me that Season 2 is on now in the U.S. He’s taping them all for me so we can watch them together when I return home.

      As for your comment, I do agree that I get the urge to travel after being at home for awhile. I am a nomad, that is true. I will always have the urge to travel, but I also have homebody tendencies and I will always want to come back home as well. I think your “grass is greener” analogy is a little limited in describing my complex personality, as no one analogy can describe anyone’s personality. We are all complex beings. I don’t think I’m going to find something BETTER on the other side of the fence, but I do expect I will find something DIFFERENT. I would say I love to travel and I love to come home, I love adventure and challenges, but I love quiet and I love being peaceful and even lazy at times. I love the new and the old. I’m driven and I make lists and I challenge myself to do things I used to never dream of doing in the days when I was younger and more afraid. I’d say a better analogy might be I “don’t let the grass grow under my feet,” if we’re going with the grass metaphor here! I’m a doer, and I want to keep pushing myself until my physical body doesn’t allow me to do that any more. After all, I’m not getting any younger.

      Who really knows another person, after all? Who even knows themselves?


      • Oh, Cathy, I didn’t mean to imply that you were not complex! My “grass is greener” analogy was certainly an over-simplification, and I meant it only in the context of your urge to go, to see, to do. Perhaps I should have said that you get “itchy feet” and there is a great big world out there to be explored. What book was I reading? Oh, I think it was “Message from a Blue Jay” – yes, I finished it but I could not say now what the message was. I’ve since read “Making Toast”, very good, and am on the final book in a series of three by Mary Alice Monroe, the Summer series. Easy reading, entertaining. I liked Selma, a closer look into things I remember reading about/seeing on the news when I was a young woman.


  5. hown can you be bored with so many interesting people attending your cocktail hour?!! count me in, even tough it is said to avoid alcohol for many months after the dengue/chikungunya virus attacks, i think one cold beer in a bottle would not negate myhealing process. am feeling much better, so make room for me, and don’t worry – i am past the contagious stage!


    • Ok, Lisa, one cold beer in a bottle it is. I hope your healing process is coming along well. And I’m glad you’re past the contagious stage. Hooray! Happy healing. 🙂


  6. It’s not bad that you kick back and relax. You’ve been on the go so very much that I think some downtime is in order.

    I went to Ginter yesterday but left about 11 am because it’s so hot and humid. Today is triple digit heat index and tomorrow is actual triple digit temperatures. I’ve been walking at Deep Run about 7 am and even then it’s nasty out.

    For my entertainment, I’ve been rereading the J.D. Robb books. I started with the most current one (#40, Obsession in Death – 2015) and have been reading backwards. I’ve been doing this over several weeks and am currently at #20 (Innocent in Death – 2005). I owned them already and hadn’t reread them for quite a while. I love her style and the characters.

    That was sweet of Azura to bring your a treat for the holiday! I’m glad you took some pictures to share it with us. And that picture of your friend, Nancy, is a hoot. She was a good sport about the picture and the hat.

    Have a good week!



    • Hi Nancy, I think you’re certainly right that I do need some downtime. I have been on the go so much in China, I’m utterly exhausted and can’t wait to be lazy for a good long while.

      Oh dear, sorry to hear about that heat and humidity in Richmond. I don’t look forward to returning to the Virginia summer, but it’s really no different than what I have here in Nanning. I am so ready to experience fall weather as soon as possible.

      I’ve never heard of J.D. Robb, so I’ll have to check her out. I’m glad for the recommendation! Thanks!

      It was really sweet of Azura to bring me the special holiday treat. And Nancy is always a hoot! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m afraid my weekend was as quiet as yours! I had a little shock of sauce though – I visited blog of a new follower and my eyes popped out after a couple of lines of erotica! I can’t imagine what drew her to my blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crazy about that new blog, Gilly. I think people like that join our blogs not out of any interest in our blogs, but just to draw us into theirs, for shock value or they’re just trying to drum up “business!” I find that really annoying!! 😊


  8. Desperately searching my tired brain for sauce, Cathy, but I’m going to be another disappointment to you 😦 Zumba and then a meal and a natter over a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in our marina was the height of my weekend excitement. I’ve had a couple of good walks this week but that’s pretty normal, right? No-one ‘hitting on me’- phew! And now I’m off to read a bit more of this endless book and fall asleep in the bath! I need a sunny day so I can spend time in the garden just reading. 🙂 Fat chance at the moment 😦 Take care, darlin. I’ll come back if I find some gossip!


    • Too bad you don’t have any saucy news for me, Jo. I guess I just need a good book to give me some excitement. I’m still plodding through Sandcastle Girls and though it’s interesting in an educational way, the story just isn’t grabbing me. Your meal and wine at the marina sounds marvelous, and of course nice walks are always wonderful. I see on Goodreads that you’ve now finished that endless book. You must have found an afternoon in the garden to read. Enjoy your week, Jo! 😊


      • I chipped away at it, 20 pages by 20 pages, Cathy! Quite cross when I got on the bus to Dad’s the other day- takes about an hour and I planned to read- and a neighbour sat beside me. Of course, I had to chat 🙂 🙂


      • Haha, Jo! Chatting is always easier than reading. Sometimes it’s more fun and sometimes not, depending on who you’re chatting with!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Cathy, I went to Albany NY on Thursday for my second weekend training in Psycho Drama with Michael Traynor JD LCSW TEP at Mary Sise’s office in Latham, NY.
    Mary is the head of our Healers’ Internship Training that I am doing with my teacher Sai Maa. It was wonderful to be with the other members of our group and we talked about a third year in 2016. Yes I will sign up and I am really looking forward to it.
    I was able to clear 3 major issues with myself through the Psycho Drama. It is really an amazing technique. Today I am working in my garden and ding some continuing ed.


    • It sounds like a fascinating workshop, Sue, and I’m curious about the Psycho Drama. I’d sure live to read about your personal journey, but maybe that’s not something you care to share. I hope you’re enjoying your gardening and studies! 😊


      • Hi Cathy I hope you will call me, 304886 2399 it would be fun to meet and have some tea. Come to Shepherdstown!!


      • Hi Sue, I will most certainly give you a call soon. I would love to come out to visit in Shepherdstown. This coming weekend (16-17) I’m going to a women’s retreat run by Annette Naber from but I’d love to come to visit sometime after that and before my CELTA class begins September 21. 🙂


      • Hi Cathy, how is your schedule?
        I am busy during the week but free most weekends.


      • Hi Sue, I’m pretty busy for the next two weeks as I’m going to Richmond this week, we’re meeting with a number of contractors and then I begin my CELTA course on September 21. Then I’ll have no life until after October 16. I’d love to try to get together sometime in early November if you find some time. 🙂


  10. I’ll join you all for cocktail hour, but instead of an alcoholic beverage, I’ll have an enormous hot chocolate, because it has been so cold here this week! Now I know that temperature is a relative thing depending on what you’re used to, but for us, weeks and weeks of 15 degree days (that’s 60 degrees for those who operate in Fahrenheit) are a bit much to put up with. Looking on the bright side, our winter vacation begins at 3 pm Friday afternoon and Mr ET and I are heading north to a week of temperatures in the mid 20s! Yippee, roll on holidays.


    • Ok, hot chocolate it is for you, Carol, although I imagine you’ll be sweating buckets while you drink it in my laundry room! I’m so surprised about your 60 degree temperatures in winter. I’m a big fan of cool weather, so temps between 60-70 are wonderful in my eyes! I guess you’ve now escaped to warmer climes in the north, so I hope you’re having fun!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are in far north Queensland and it’s a balmy 26 degrees (84F) as opposed to 17 (66) at home. As I write this we are sitting poolside sipping cocktails!

        Many parts of Australia do get cold winters and ours is considered quite mild compared with the southern states.


      • Both of those temps seem reasonable, and lovely, to me, Carol! I’ll take 84 or 66 or even the mid 50s, especially over this 90-100 degree heat here in Nanning, with humidity generally over 80%. It’s miserable! I’ll take the cold any day. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like the warmth but the humidity can be very draining.


      • I’m not a fan of humidity or heat! I’m glad you’re enjoying the weather YOU love though! 🙂


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