Fierce when needed

In December 2007 -  we were heading to China to spend the holidays with Jiamei's family - her mom being very ill.

With Sophie, just 9 months old we headed out from Austin on December 17 - with a flight on American Airlines that required us to connect first through Houston - spending the night - and then to New Jersey the next morning and then Beijing.

After a pleasant night staying with Judy and her family in Houston we headed out to the airport early in the morning - just to be told that our flight to New Jersey had been canceled due to an ice storm on the east coast.  Being reasonable - while Jiamei was looking after Sophie - I asked on which flight we would be rebooked to be told that nothing was available until December 27 (9 days later).  I was stunned - voicing my disbelief and being told that the weather wasn't the airlines fault and that therefore we would have to take whatever they could offer.

With a long face I slinked back to my little family - sharing the dire news. After my sad story - Jiamei just said "you take Sophie" and headed over to the counter.  Things got very hot very quickly and oh wonder suddenly we were on a flight with another airlines that was leaving in 30 minutes connecting to Beijing via Chicago.  The airline representative that before had told me that there were not other options - personally rushing us through security to make the flight.

Never get between this Chinese lioness and what she wanted for her family .....

I miss your spirit and your fire ...



Kindness - whereever it is needed

In 2003 Jiamei had to face many difficult moments, loosing her job, facing some health scares and yes being arrested and put into jail - but nothing could put her down or stop her caring for the people in need.

In May, 2003  we left for a trip to St. John in the US VIrgin Islands for a week of vacation on a beautiful  island to take our minds of the challenges of her job hunting and the distinct possibility of her having to move away to New York to be able to stay in the US.

After some magical days with a gorgeous dinner on the beach she had organized to surprise me on the last night- we headed home - or at least so we thought.

Instead she got stopped by immigration (due to an error in her filing), told that she was a criminal, sent to Puerto Rico in handcuffs, chained in a prison transport and spent the night in a cell sleeping on the concrete floor watched by a camera.

Meanwhile, I had to watch that the woman I love being taken away and being told that I should continue my trip as I wouldn't see her again.

Frantically, trying to find her I flew to Puerto Rico as well,  and was finally able to trace her to a remote prison at the other end of the island.  When I finally reached the place, I was told that I had to wait to see her as she was busy. Later I learned from her that she had met a group of 8-10 Chinese girls in their early 20s in the same prison camp she was in - that had been arrested for trying to illegally enter the territory. Speaking no English, some of them had been held for months without even being able to understand their lawyers or even read the court documentation of their cases.

Jiamei had volunteered her help and spent the day translating and being an interpreter. So impressed was the ward of the prison that even though it had been only 1 day - he told me that she shouldn't not be in his prison, that is was clearly a mistake and that he would do what he could to help me get her out.

Racing against the clock, I made it back to the capital, posted a bond and late that night was able to close in my arms this wonderful woman, that was so skinny and shivering as I held her that night.

Even then she was feeling guilty about leaving these girls behind and continued to send Chinese Magazines to the prison for them to have something to read.  

Jiamei - you were such a bright light in this world and I miss you so much ....