Expectations, Disappointments and Appreciation

Tuesday, March 5, 2013- Changzhou

A note on expectations, disappointments and appreciation

I began Monday in great anticipation of a visit to a real silk factory.  I expected an opportunity to see the process of silk making from hatching the eggs, feeding the silk worms, spinning the cocoons, reeling the silk from the cocoons, making the thread, weaving the fabric, dyeing and printing the final cloth.

“Can we go to the silk factory?” I asked.

“Yes, yes” said the driver.

“Yes, yes” said the interpreter.

So off we went.

We drove through the city of Suzhou, stopping at a busy shopping district.  We got out of the car and walked around through the shops selling silk scarves, silk clothing.

“Thank you,” I said, “But this is not quite what I am looking for.  Can we go to the silk factory now?”

“Yes, yes” said the driver.

“Yes, yes” said the interpreter.

Back in the car we go to another shopping district – more shops, more walking, more scarves, more clothing.

“No, no,” I said, “Silk factory?”

“Yes, yes” said the driver.

“Yes, yes” said the interpreter.

And on we went to another shopping district.

By mid-afternoon I realized that neither the driver nor the interpreter understood what I was looking for when I said “silk factory”, and much as I tried to explain it, “silk factory” was not going to appear.

So my choice was to move forward with either disappointment and bitterness, or to move forward with appreciation and happiness.

I realized that I choose how I want to remember my history.  Each day and in each situation I can say to myself, “How would I like to remember this?”

I will remember this day with appreciation of a driver who negotiated tiny, winding streets full of pedestrians and obstacles in order to bring me close to the silk shops.

I will remember this day with appreciation of an interpreter who stopped many, many local people to ask them where to buy the best silk, and who then negotiated the best possible price for me.

I will remember, with appreciation, an afternoon spent wandering around the streets and alleys of Suzhou – the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the textures of the city.

I will remember all this each time I see my beautiful silk scarves and feel their cool, silky smoothness against my skin.

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