And trust me, I've been doing a little jig since stepping off the airplane on Friday morning. There, meeting me at the airport, were a few of the readergirlz divas: Lorie Ann Grover, Holly Cupala, and Janet Lee Carey. I was so touched! And felt so loved!!! And my kiddos' best buddies met us at our house, carrying balloons and signs.
My Strata-sisters descended on Saturday to paint my house and unpack for me. They're part of my pro bono consulting group, StrataGem, which is on hiatus indefinitely. For about 7 years, we helped non-profit groups that helped women and children solve tough business problems...totally for free. And now these amazing, amazing women are helping me. They brought cake! They brought coffee! They brought love! This is probably the one and only time my closet will look like a boutique--my clothes are folded so meticulously.
As thrilled as I am to be home, I think so fondly of my friends back in Shanghai, like Richard and Stacey, and Meg and John. Here we are at my send-off at Sun with Aqua on the Bund...a fantastic restaurant...before we hit my first and only jazz club in Shanghai. The best sushi I have ever had. Check out the sharks swimming in the background. (And you must go to the Cotton Club if you visit Shanghai! Must! A total boozy, smoky scene with fantastic live music.)
In my packing haze, I misplaced my camera so I couldn't photograph the wonderosity that is my traditional Chinese chopping block. It's about 50 pounds--I'm not joking. A single slab of wood, a veritable tree trunk. John had remembered me talking on and on about them while we were in Dunhuang since I had just read Nicole Mones' fantastic THE LAST CHINESE CHEF. These chopping blocks are extremely difficult to source...but John found one for me! I can't wait until it arrives, making its way across the Pacific Ocean to me.
More than that, I can't wait for my Shanghai friends to visit me in Seattle. Make your way across the Pacific to me, my pengyous. Missing you!