February 25, 2009

Atlantic Place

The arcane art of letter writing has been all but destroyed by advances in telecommunications.  Now, with a simple clickety-clack of the fingertips, I can send out a message to millions.  The slow (but surprisingly satisfying) process of scratching out letters on paper, of dragging a ball point pen across ruled sheets, has been supplanted by high-tech low-brow text messages.
But at least one heart still beats that believes there's something more to be found in the inky business we call snail mail.  Something visceral in the way that your lowercase a's look stooped and hunchbacked, that your capital Q's look like 2's because you learned to write in the old days before they realized that was a dumb way to teach kids to write.  When I hold your letter, I can see you wiping your palm on your pant leg.  I can see you licking the envelope and wincing when the horrid taste of the glue moves across your tongue...
And, lest it be said of me that I am a Luddite, we also have a Skype address.  Just search for Yaardley.  That's Yaardley as in "Knock his bloody head off, Yaardley!"
See you in the mailbox!

February 21, 2009

By this time next week...

...we'll be onboard a Boeing 767, somewhere over the Pacific. A few hours later, we'll touch down in Beijing.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Who are we? In all likelihood, you know exactly who we are, but I'll flatter myself in thinking that random strangers might actually stumble upon this blog. So just in case...

My name is James Frey. I'm the one with the bad hair. My wife, Jessica, is the cute blond next to me. Our boys, Ari (cheesy grin) and Jude (distracted by something other than the camera), are aged 3 and 1, respectively. One final demographic note is that our last name, Frey, rhymes with eye. Think fry as in fish, not fray as in rope. (Sorry, maybe I'm just touchy about this subject...)

I could go into a lot of detail about what we'll be doing in China, but I won't for two reasons. First, I'd be blowing all my material for later postings. Second, I'd probably look like a real idiot in retrospect, because inevitably nothing will play out just as we think it will, and I'd have to fill this blog with all sorts of retractions and amendments. So for now, let's just keep it simple: we're going to Beijing.

Thanks to the incredible hard work of our friends in Beijing, we have an apartment all lined up for us already. It's quite a bit nicer than we were expecting. Three bedrooms, one of which will serve as an office most of the time, and a guest room for when people visit. That's you, dear reader... even if you are a total stranger! (Once more flattering myself with imaginary readers.)

Something you will definitely find on this blog in the future are pictures. This, of course, is no hardship, as it's always fun to share strange and new sights with people. But this will also be a way of satisfying the grandparental demand for a steady stream of photos of the boys... We'll also be sure to put up pictures of our neighbourhood! Maybe even a shot of me snacking on deep-fried scorpions!

But for now, I'll end here. More to come...