Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Their return, topped off with porridge

Despite still feeling queasy in the tummy and weak in the knees this morning, I went ahead with my plan to go to the airport to welcome back Dan and Stef. It's a good thing that I have been feeling worse at night than during the day for the past two days that I've been ill. The bus trip there went without incident.

Their flight was slightly delayed and Stef was put through a rather thorough luggage check before being let through. So I ended up waiting for an hour or so. Not that I minded. Gosh, they had tonnes of luggage! So much so that we ended up in a cab that looked more like a mini-van (I had never seen such a hybrid of a cab before). Dan told me they weren't planning on going home for two years, i.e. until their work is done here, so they had to bring enough "supplies" back to last that long!

Both of them seemed to have lost weight. They told me they had simultaneously fallen ill just after returning to Shanghai in early January, given the nearly 40 degrees difference in temperature with Sydney in summer. Perhaps that explains the weight loss.

I told them the full story behind my two weeks' (possibly longer) extension and we all had a good laugh (it was 苦笑) over it. I suppose only people in the research line will fully understand the frustration I felt over it, so having been able to share the story with them felt uplifting for me.

I also told them about my little bout of illness and how I craved for a little porridge (funny how I always connect porridge with being ill). Just as the cab reached their apartment, they insisted on inviting me in and making me some porridge. So I did.

My appetite isn't fully back yet and I only managed a small bowl. But that was the sweetest tasting porridge I've had for a long long time. Thanks guys! I'm still touched by your little gesture as I type this.

It's really good to have both of you back.

52 days to go.


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