Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not A Terrorist --Really

When we visited Canada, we were welcomed with open arms into the country at the crossing between Washington and Vancouver. Why are you here? How long are you staying? Have a great trip. I can't say enough about the beauty of the land...or the hospitality of the Canadians.
Our return was another story.
At the border, I got in what was called a Nexus Lane. It was closest to the Duty Free shop where we stopped so my son could use the restroom, predicting with great clairvoyance that we might get stuck waiting for a half an hour.
Or More.
The Nexus lane, as it turned out, was a fast lane--like FastTrak--on the highway. Who knew? At least FastTrak sounds like what it is. (I thought Nexus was the name of the Duty Free Store.)
I didn't think it was a big deal. I mean at the end of the lane was a border policeman. But this man went through the roof. I had violated the rules and was subject to a fine of up to $500, did I know that? I said I had no idea. He didn't want any of my "excuses." I should have known better. He was writing me a ticket right then and there. He fastened that ticket to my windshield like he'd just bagged a carload of terrorists and sent us all off to  "the building."
I felt miserable. Had there really been signs? Why had I ignored them?
Then again, it was a mistake for goodness sakes. I hadn't done anything with bad intent, no matter what the man outside thought. There was no reason go beat myself up.
I did anyway.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. How could I have been so stupid? To the tune of $500.
The building was like every immigration building I've been in, full of foreign-sounding people and disgruntled officers. Except for one. The man who took our "case" seemed nonplussed that we were even there, chitter chattering about what souvenirs we had bought and where we lived. Didn't we have a border crossing near us? He gave us our passports and sent us on our way.
Perhaps he'd want to trade places with the bulldog outside. Although next time I'll know. No Nexus Lane.

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What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You