When we set out for Chengdu, we meant to use the city as a base for trips out to the sites in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and as a departure point to Tibet. However as result of two events, we didn't really see very much of the Sichuan province or any of the surrounding provinces:
On the second morning that we were in Chengdu, I got an email from my mother saying that my Oma in Holland was stopping her dialysis treatment and that she was going to a hospice and would likely pass away within a few days. I was really shocked about this as when I had last seen my Oma in August she had been doing well and we had even taken a shopping trip together. In the two years that we had lived in Denmark, I was able to get to know Oma better. I had been really looking forward to being able to visit her often as Anthony and I are going to be moving to Utrecht in March. The following morning I left Chengdu and arrived in Amsterdam later in the evening (European time). Oma was still quite lucid and was so happy that I had been able to see her one last time. My mom and I spent a few days by Oma's side talking with and reminiscing about good times. Unfortunately, Oma struggled for 12 days without dialysis (normally dialysis patients only live for 3 of 4 days without treatment). Although when Oma passed away there was another wave of grief, we were all in many ways relieved for Oma. The funeral was on November 15th and the ceremony was really beautiful - my cousin played cello, I read a Bible verse in Dutch (that Oma chosen) and my mom and uncle wrote a touching eulogy about Oma.
My mom, my dad and I spent the following day moving Oma's furniture (the stuff that Anthony and I were going to use for our new place in Utrecht). I flew back to Chengdu on Sunday night, arriving on Monday afternoon. I was to spend a few days alone around Chengdu as Anthony had his own issue to contend with...
For much of our time in China, I had been experiencing some intermittent pain and visits to several doctors had led to several diagnoses of different infections and several different antibiotic treatments. A few days after Marieke's departure, I again visited a doctor as the pain was not abating, and he recommended that I return home for further treatment, as it would involve a lengthy treatment of IV antibiotics.
I basically went straight to the airport and got the first flight to Vancouver, via Beijing (pretty pissed off that my travel medical insurance wouldn't cover it!). After over 24 hours of planes, buses and ferries, I was able to see a doctor at the Duncan Hospital and he declared that my infection was cured. Still, I should stick around for a few days to see a specialist. The specialist confirmed that I am now healed (also that I probably never had an infection, but rather a prostate stone...). So, I basically went straight back to the airport and caught a flight back to Chengdu (via Hong Kong, as it was much cheaper).
Our intended travels south of Chengdu have been postponed to another trip, but we should still be able to see Tibet - on our way to Nepal.