At my insistence, we went to Starbucks this morning.
I needed to rework our entire itinerary for the rest of our stay in China because last night - once I finally had a chance to catch my breath and clear my head - I was overcome with regret!
Regret that while we were at my grandfather's village on Saturday, we did NOT also visit my grandmother's village, especially since 老老爺 had offered to take us! Granted we had our reasons. But Mom herself keeps saying that this may be her only trip to Qingdao, given her age and the 30-hour flight from her home.
Since we still had four more days in China, I insisted that we go back to Pingdu and visit Wypoh's village even though we didn't know anyone there. The tourist attractions are negligible compared to this.
Last night, I went online to try and find anything I could about it. This link was helpful, but finding it on ditu.google.cn was better.
Actually it was ASTOUNDING to see a satellite view of the actual village! I stared at it for a long time in disbelief. Wypoh first told me and Mom about 李家樓 years ago and how everyone is surnamed Li (which still blows me away) but satellite maps weren't available back then, and it never occurred to me to try to find it online until now. If only she could see this today. I was also surprised at MYSELF for finding out as much as I did, given my limited Chinese. You go girl... !
Back to this morning at Starbucks:
First, I asked Mom to Skype Aunt Alicia back in Taipei to ask Wygoon for whatever information he had. Meanwhile, I emailed Uncle Rex to see what he knows since he's been to Pingdu before, though not 李家樓.
Next I reworked our itinerary for the rest of the week while I had Mom call Mr. Jia to HUMBLY explain why we wanted to go BACK to Pingdu... poor guy! I also had her call Gupoh to see if she could accompany us again, and for HER to contact 老老爺 to see if he too was available.
They know our family history and they know the area.
Even if they can't go with us, Mom and I can go on our own and ask around. If everyone there is related to each other - as I've been told - someone should know SOMETHING about Wypoh's family. Worst case scenario is to visit the local municipal office. The government keeps track of everyone, yes? Surely they can help us.
One of the logistical challenges was that Gupoh lives out of the way. It would take an extra hour to pick her up before we even left Qingdao proper. So once again I'm studying the map to find a convenient spot for her and that was on our way. Out of respect for elders we SHOULD pick her up. I felt bad, but she totally didn't mind.
Three hours later - JUST as I was about to wrap things up - Mom got a headache from the flurry of activity and said, "This is too much trouble. Plus we don't even know anyone there! Let's not go."
Oh... my... word...
I was sooooooo not happy...
I tried my best to convince her otherwise. But at the end of the day, if my 71-year-old mother really doesn't want to go, what could I do... ? There was the REAL possibility that we would get all the way there and trouble all these people along the way, only to find nothing.
Deflated, I finally gave in and said, "Fine Mom, if you really don't want to go, we won't go." Then SHE felt bad after seeing how disappointed I was (because I was! Very!) and said, "Ok ok, let's go."
It was 1pm by the time we left Starbucks.
So much for writing in our journals!
The story continues...