Hi. Maggie here. This is a blog about China and how me, my little sister (Molly) and my mom get to live for a year there. Why? Because at the start of July 2011 we were given the amazing opportunity to travel there to visit preschools and teach them about western culture. We arrive in August or September and are supposed to be there for a whole year! You might think we’re impulsive, but you can’t deny this is the opportunity of a lifetime. For me, it means putting off my last year of college, some compelling job opportunities, and a my, like, two or three friends. My little sister will be postponing her first year of college and she’s not too excited about leaving behind facebook and her cellphone and her friends. But all told, we’re okay with cutting ties in Wichita…for a little bit. Personally, I think my mom has the most to miss. There’s my older sister Megan who we all think is her favorite daughter and her pug Sophie who snores and snorts and has moles and eyes that point in different directions. She’s leaving behind her piano students, her lifeguards, her pool, her band…but the biggest part of our lives we’ll miss is our family (you might say extended family, but for us they’ve never been far or distant or any other synonym for extended). And to top it all off although Molly, Mom, and I will be together in China, we’ll be in vastly different areas. My mom will be in Beijing, the heart of China, while Molly and I will be in Hohot, which is in/near Mongolia That is, according to our count, 647 miles apart. It’s not going to be easy, being away from family. Which leads me to our url: ilyfromchina.com. Recently we’ve lost a grandma/mom/sister/matriarch supreme who was much loved by our family. While I bet I could write an entire, endless, separate blog about her zest for life and teaching and the color orange and mushrooms, the part of her that applies to this blog was the fact that she worked with hearing impaired children and always signed cards with a drawing of the ASL (American Sign Language) symbol for “I love you”. It’s an important part of her that we like to keep going and that’s what this blog is about. No, not my dead grandma. It’s about spreading love and missing love and learning and living. In China.