I don't think of myself in general as a courageous person, but this trip has forced me to deal with a few phobia issues:
1. I can get on escalators almost casually most of the time.
2. I am fairly nonchalant about using the public facilities
3. Last night was a special dinner for the president of the University where the training is taking place- in a posh hotel, big round table with a lazy susan of thirty or forty dishes in the middle. Jim was sitting between me and the president, and a new dish came around. The president leaned over and said to us,
"You must try this special Xian dish. We call it mouse legs."
Split second decision against the allergy excuse ("Oh I'm very allergic to mice?") It might work but I had already used it on things I am actually allergic to, and it sounds thin. Plus Cecily would never let me live it down.) So, I dished some up and ate it. It was delicious. Also it was just mushrooms, so maybe it doesn't count, but I feel very macho about it.
Jim wasn't paying too much attention because he had been chosen by the chief professor to play the "Gambei!" game on behalf of all the Americans. So he had to stand up and match this guy drink for drink, and down three beers in quick sucession. This is the genteel academic version, limited to three and using beer instead of the usual grain alcolhol.
So it seems like they are having fun.
(Anticlimactically and disappointingly for us all, in case you missed it, there were no mice. There were only mushrooms.)
Confidential to my family: I think I succeeded in guilt-tripping Jocelyn and Michael into coming to Christmas! Congratulate me at will.