My dad is finally leaving for China tomorrow morning. I don't think it's quite hit me. I bet it will tomorrow and the days to come when I call his cell phone and he doesn't answer, or I go home and he's not there. We set up Skype on all the computers, so we all know how to use them and we all have webcams, so I think that will definitely help. Plus my dad is planning on sending out e-mail updates complete with pictures, so that's something to look forward to.
I bought him a travel passport pouch and recommended he bring No Jet Lag with him. I heard of No Jet Lag from Cynthia at Journey Juju. She's a frequent traveler, and recommends it, so I thought why not? My dad's definitely going to need it--he's got a full day of traveling ahead of him. He flies from DIA to San Francisco, then from there to Soeul, Korea, and then finally arrives in Dalian, where he will spend the rest of the year.
The other night when I went home, my dad showed me all of the paperwork he has to tote around--it's crazy! I thought it was bad enough when I went to Paris and I had to lug around extra copies of my flight and hotel intenaries, but this is nothing to compared to the paperwork he has. He has medical forms, work visa papers, and all sorts of other stuff. Not to mention he's going to be toting around notecards. Why notecards? Well, in a surprisingly smart move, he printed out key phrases translated from English to Mandarin, and pasted them on notecards. So when he needs a cab, he'll just show the driver the right card. Same with the other essential questions. I'm sure he'll add to it too. I never realized how difficult Mandarin is to speak. My dad has taught us a few basic phrases, but I can only imagine how hard it is to actually speak full sentences. I heard basic pronunciations online of simple sentences and I was completely lost, even on the slow setting. Luckily I have a few more months to try and learn something in Mandarin.