Zài Jiàn Jo E. Ellen
Adios, ma’as-salama, zayt gezunt, da svidaniya, sayônara, au revoir, Tschüss, lehitraot, adios, arrivederci and buh bye. My friend and colleague Jo Ellen has returned to the US, her four-month teaching/cultural experiment complete. I will miss Jo, she was funny and a good listener and someone to commiserate with during those frequent very rare times when China becomes preposterous. She was also a fresh pair of eyes, a reminder of all the cultural “weirdness” that one forgets about, or just gets used to over time. Jo returns to her grandson Logan, her dog and cat and the land of fresh milk, Proctor & Gamble and ESPNHD.
Jo E. Ellen
While it is true she will be missed, there are some advantages. I now have a direct pipeline home! Oh I get stuff sometimes from family and friends but most folks just can’t imagine how a simple package of “stuff” can have such a postive effect on the pysche! She’s been here, so she understands! It will be nice to have access to things like size 13 shoes, big socks, and a variety of other clothes and “stuff” (Orville Redenbacher) I just can’t get here. I was also able to move into Jo’s apartment on-campus. It is a newer, more-recently updated version with the identical floor-plan of the apartment I was living in on the floor just above Jo’s. The sofa (futan) is much more comfortable, the one in my old apartment was harder than the sesame seed bun on a Liuzhou Big Mac. I did have to get some footprints off the wall, not sure what that was about.
Once, when comparing notes on street food, I remember Jo saying that she loved these Egg McMuffin like things (clearly I am on a McDonald’s kick). I am fairly certain she never took a real good look at the rusted steel griddle, let alone the vendor’s hands. The secret ingredient is hiding under those nails somewhere. Bon appetit Jo!
The expat community here is not very large, in fact there are only around 200 or so documented “laowai” in a city of about 1.5 million. Losing someone you feel comfortable talking to is difficult. Before Jo got here I would sometimes go weeks without speaking to another native English speaker. I’ve already begun drinking. OK, I never stopped drinking, but you get the idea. Of course I still have my buddy Ken. He is here for the duration and he too can make me laugh. He also drinks beer. Often. So that’s good. I’ve recently met, on-line, a couple from Kentucky, I think they are Cardinal fans but I have decided to give them a chance anyway. They are here studying Chinese. My pal Jim may be returning soon as well, so all is not lost.
One more week of school before my big holiday. I am soooo looking forward to it. I’ll stay here in Liuzhou during the break, teaching private classes at home, and while I’m at it, hopefully make enough money to hop down to Hong Kong and buy a new computer.
I hope to have updates soon on some business developments as well as my plan to help the rural Shatang school children, stay tuned. I am already amped for the UK – Louisville game later tomorrow. I’ll be up at 6 AM to “watch” the ticker on ESPN.com.