In talking to my father-in-law, it became clear to me that I did not tell everybody that I am back in the USA. I came back on Wednesday, 02/05/2008.
I want to say for the record that the trip was under God's care. For example, just getting on to the plane was a feat.
I had found out my need for a plane ticket and passport on Friday night. My passport had expired, so I called for an emergency passport. There is an after-hours duty office in Washington, D.C., and she arranged the next available appointment for me, 7 A.M. Monday.
My father died Saturday morning my time. Still, I needed to get there A.S.A.P. for my mother's sake. Cathy helped me pack, I took time off from work and drove to L.A. to arrive before 7 A.M.
That's when I saw my first clear sign that God was watching over me. The L.A. passport office was closed! It wasn't a holiday; they were closed for training. However, the will-call window would process my passport since it had expired (they would not process new and lost passports for a couple of other people).
Then there was another difficulty. I only had a Chinese death certificate. The agent dissappeared with my dad's death certificate and came back less than 10 minutes later; it just happened that one of the employees (who they did not expect to be there) is Chinese and could read the certificate.
Next hurdle; they wanted a ticket to show proof of travel. I explained that I did not want to buy a non-refundable ticket that weekend (and, given that they were not actually open, they said they understood). The agent was so very kind; she gave me her cell phone number so I would not have to navigate the phone system. So, I was able to call China Airlines and got a ticket faxed to me, and I got my passport in time, before the passport agency closed at 11:30.
Getting the governent to renew an expired passort when they are not open for business? That's a acti of God. :-)