Not so long ago, in a place that often feels like a galaxy far far away, a little girl appeared at our door.
Emily was sweeping and then carrying the dust mop outside to beat and sweep again into a dustbin. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a quick blur. Hearing her startled reaction, I came to the door. There was Emily bent over a tiny little dog.
The small dog was a reddish-brown poodle, with large intelligent eyes. Hope was so small and underfed that she looked like a puppy. She looked like a puppy that hadn’t been cared for, not for a long time.
We put out a bowl of water for her and started quizzing some of the building’s workers and passing residents. They replied with variations on a theme, “Just ignore her. It’s not your problem.” Their shrugs were almost audible.
Wyatt and Emily showered the little girl, and the name Hope was chosen. After her shower, I toweled Hope off and held her while Emily used a blow dryer and comb. The messy little pup was now clean and fresh. Hope was almost immediately at home.
That afternoon and that evening we watched her closely.
The next morning Wyatt, Emily and I went to Walmart. We bought a chair cushion that became Hope’s bed, and some dog biscuits and chicken sausages. I ordered some dry dog food online. We were worried about the effect of heavy meat on her shrunken stomach. That night Hope slept in with Wyatt. The next few nights her seat cushion bed and towel/blanket were placed beside our bed, on Emily’s side.
Emily gave Hope a haircut and combed out her hair.
Between meals, walks, belly rubs, and the occasional mess, we grew very attached to Hope.
We knew we had to find her a home. We must return to Indonesia each summer, so I can renew my permanent residence. As with last summer, we were home for two months. This summer it will be for a minimum of six weeks. We can’t depend on people we barely know to shoulder the responsibility.
We started to canvas the neighbourhood for Hope’s previous owners. We weren’t optimistic, but we were hoping that this lovable, intelligent fur baby might have a family that was missing her. We found no one. Then we put a notice up in our school’s online groups. Someone close to the school wanted a dog. We asked our Chinese co-workers about this woman’s character. Emily went to meet her to judge for herself.
On Friday morning I took Hope for her walk, brought her back to the apartment, rubbed her belly, and left for school with Wyatt. That would be the last time we saw her. While I was at school, Emily cut and shaped Hope’s hair and gave her another bath. Hope would meet her new family fresh and happy.
Yesterday we said goodbye to Hope.
Hope is the name we chose for a little poodle that wandered literally into our home, and into our life.
Emily met the woman and they discussed Hope’s situation and agreed that Hope would have a new family.
This is not an easy decision, and I keep asking myself if there’s another choice. I know there’s not.
Hope’s new family sent two photos of a very happy fur baby enjoying her new home.
We will miss you, and we were so happy to share a few short days with you. So long, and good luck. Have a safe and happy life.
Regards, your family
Y’all need to start limbering up. Kirk Fu is coming.
Oh yeah, it is.
That’s right, kids! Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual is heading to bookstores on March 3, 2020, from Insight Editions, with words by me and awesome art by Christian Cornia. The book is being distributed by Simon & Schuster, and wouldn’t you know they’ve loaded up some preview pages to the book’s page?
Oh yeah, they did.
Go to the book’s page and tap on the “Look” button in the upper lefthand corner and you’ll get to leer at six spreads from the book, showcasing some fun examples of Christian’s work. Here’s a couple from one of twelve signature Kirk moves you’ll learn about in the book:
(Click to biggie size these.)
Head over to the Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manualpage on SimonandSchuster.com to check out the rest of the preview. Just be…
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Wuhan has a new teacher-training course
Inclass and online options available.
Coming soon, a new TEFL course in Wuhan, Hubei province.
Details to follow
May the year ahead be one of realized potential, renewed hope, and a few moments where you laugh so hard time will stop so you can catch your breath.
Surround yourself with positive people and a positive outlook. Build positive energy with your attitude, your posture, and how you treat yourself and others.
We may not create energy, but it can be channeled and directed for amazing purposes. Dare yourself to embrace possibilities.
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We just spent the week in Beijing.
We returned home last night by high-speed train (6:14 to 22:30 pm).
Emily and Wyatt had to renew their Indonesian passports so we had to make the trip to Beijing. Unfortunately, there is no online option. We took the hard-sleeper to get to Beijing. Three berths stacked on either side of a small compartment, Emily in the bottom bunk, Wyatt in the second bunk, and me kissing the ceiling. All good so far … then the family shows up.
Two little boys, their mom, and their grandparents. Luggage is strewn on the floor. The noise level escalates. Grandma immediately lays down. The kids take the middle and top bunk. It’s about 8:30 pm. We are finishing our takeaway meal and hoping to sleep the hours away. Hope and sleep are both fleeting on this journey northward.
Now, what is happening with grandpa and Mom? Surely they don’t intend to sit outside the room all night? Surely not. At 10:00 pm the lights go off and they snuggle into the middle and top berths, thankfully they choose the correct ones.
The noise dies down except for sneezing, coughing, and intermittent conversations.
Now in the hallway, we’ve got a steady procession of old-smokers making their way to the bathroom, their passage heralded by hacking, throat-clearing and the uncertain shuffling of feet – following by the gentle horking and spitting for which older Chinese seem to have a knack.
I sleep for a few hours, and the kids start up. Then the two grandmothers begin to talk, as we discover there is no mother in the equation. She may have wisely jumped from the train. 2:30 seems an ideal time to have a conversation. This goes on until one of them nods off and then the kids wake up. This is followed by climbing, almost falling. Oh why did I feel the need to interrupt the plummeting children?
At about 4:00 am one of the Grandmothers decides it’s a good time to catch up on some family photo-taking and begins snapping pictures with the flash. I showed her my own phone for a time-check and she seemed to get the point.
We arrived in Beijing a bit before 7:00 am and the tour had sent a driver for us. Beijing has changed considerably since my last visit in 2004. Some amazing new buildings, lots of plants and trees. enough shrubbery to keep the Knights of Ni happy.