After three years in Minnesota, Tian headed back to China on Monday. My brother Dan gave her a ride to the airport because I needed to be at our first day of teacher orientation for Breakthrough Saint Paul. When I said good bye to her that morning, it hit me that the next chapter was really beginning.
Zai Jian Tian
Tian’s packing list was fairly normal, but it also included oddities like a face mask, which she wore on the plane, and hand sanitizer. That’s because the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009 has really been taken seriously in China, and Tian was determined not to catch it. So she wore the mask for most of the two flights. And just like all travelers from the US and Mexico, Tian was screened on her way off of the plane in Beijing. Fortunately, no one on the plane had a fever, so she got to skip the direct ride to the hospital. But Tian did not escape the request to stay at home for 7-days, and she did receive regular calls from health workers every day. Tian’s concern was not unfounded – some students at Mounds Park Academy had gone home sick the last week of school with similar symptoms, but it still isn’t clear what they had. Fortunately, except for a mild case of normal jet lag, she has stayed healthy. She’s now living with her uncle, aunt, and cousin in Beijing.