In the evening, after CL had taken LJ home, XYJ treated me to a sumptuous steak :)
One thing that really struck home to me while speaking with XYJ was the timing of this trip. The Lord’s timing is indeed perfect! It was the third time I had applied for voluntary redundancy before the company agreed to let me go. It suddenly occurred to me while speaking with XYJ that if they had given this to me earlier I would have already been out of work several months before the Surrey graduation celebrations, whereas finishing at the end of March has been short enough not to think about getting another job and gave me just enough time to plan the trip, meaning that I was able to attend that celebration.
Furthermore, if I had tried to do this trip ten or even five years ago, it would have been so much more difficult, perhaps near impossible to do what I am doing. The technology / phone apps I am using to communicate with friends, and to navigate around was not in place, and neither was so much of the transportation infrastructure. For example, only the first line of the Hangzhou metro system opened in 2012. Furthermore, the high speed rail links I’ve used so far to travel between cities did not exist before 2010.