I’m sorry, I’m an American

Our youngest daughter Jennifer Lynn has been in Shanghai for about 10 days now; she will be there until next May for her year-long study abroad program. She hasn’t Skyped with us yet because it’s a little awkward to carry on a video call when your roommate is trying to sleep. So instead, she finds a hallway in the Jia where she can get Internet and calls us. Jia means “home” and when I Googled it, it said that the Chinese character for Jia shows a pig under a roof.  I hope that the college students living there don’t take that personally.

It’s amazing to me, that she can text and call from China and it’s free using one of the apps like WeChat or WhatsApp. I come from the generation when making an out-of-state call – let alone an international call – could could rack up lots of expensive long distance minutes. I learned the hard way when I had to reimburse my mother for the hours I spent on the phone with my boyfriend who lived three states away.

But now, the reception is better when Jennifer calls from China than when our other daughter calls from Southern California. And so far, there haven’t been any ugly surprises on our AT&T bill.

Jennifer’s most recent communication with us was a text message with a photo showing how good she looked in the jacket she had just bought. Last week, I was getting text messages filled with exclamation points about missing paperwork, blocked Internet connections and inaccessible emails. The photo of the blazer is a good indication that the glitches have been worked out and that she is tackling other important aspects of life…like shopping.

But I’ll let you read it in her own words. The title of her  is the most useful phrase that she learned in Chinese:



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