Author: Ryan

Dear Ginny,

Sorry I’m writing this on copy paper; it’s all I had! It’s hard to believe that I’m about to graduate from college because it seems like just yesterday I was a freshman, sick and considering dropping out. I am so glad now that I didn’t have to do that, and I thank God that you were the reason for that. Were it not for your help, guidance, and delicious meals, I would have surely digressed even more, so thank you! Because of you, I have not only made it through college, but I have thrived! And I’ve loved every minute of it. I will be graduating this December with a 4.0 GPA and some honors to boot! That simply would have been impossible without a healthy body in mind (aren’t they really the same after all?). With my major in Asian studies and minors in comparative philosophy in Chinese, I will be moving to China in a few months to teach English. After that, I will be attending graduate school (in Hong Kong, Toronto, or Edinburgh, Scotland). What an exciting time in my life! I welcome this incredible new chapter in my life, and it is incredibly fulfilling to be able to say that. Without health, I couldn’t.

For everything you have done for me, I could never adequately thank you; however, I have included a very small token of my appreciation. What it lacks in its value is hopefully made up for in sentiment, though! It is a hand stitched pattern made from Chinese silk that I acquired in the ancient city of Xi’an, which is where Chinese civilization began and where the famous TerraCotta warriors were discovered. The pattern depicts the Chinese crane…a white crane with a red crown, to be exact. This has great significance in Chinese culture. Called “xianhe” in Chinese, the red-crested crane is a symbol of longevity and wisdom. Legends state that the immortals kept such birds as friends, and it is even believed that when a Daoist Sage dies, he actually becomes immortal (through the union of his body “qi”  with “Dao”, ultimate reality, or the way of nature). This process of immortalization is actually called “jiahechengxian”,  or  “to fly on a crane into immortality.”  In fact, ancient Daoists utilized “Yin-Yang”  and “qi” concepts for the sole purpose of longevity and eventual immortality. Their naturalistic lifestyles and metaphysical insights shaped Chinese culture, Chinese medicine, and Chinese dietary practices, as well as paved the way for later systems like macrobiotics. Pretty cool!

As a symbol of longevity and wisdom, I thought the crane was a perfect gift for you. With your help, I’ve become healthy, and I’m on my way to a long, healthy life! Also with your help, I have made it through college and hopefully gained some wisdom in the process.

So, for all the help, encouragement, and amazing meals over the past 3 years, ”feichangganxie”! Thank you so very much! 

Happy Holidays and God Bless!

Ryan