>Plastic surgery on your nose is a nose job. So what’s plastic surgery on your hand?
And so concludes columns Mom and Dad can be proud of.
I don’t know when I’ll leave China, but the columns end before that indefinite future date. I suppose this means I should offer some sort of closure. I will, later, but first, I have exciting news.
Let’s go back to September when I first arrived. In September, I had a conversation with our foreign affairs office.
Me: When will you hook up the cable TV?
Them: Next week.
On April 21, 2009, they hooked up the cable.
If you’re coming here to teach, you will learn patience, if you don’t already know it.
Chinese bureaucracy runs like a great red grapevine. The senior official decides on Monday afternoon, so he tells the guy below him. That guy tells the guy below him on Tuesday afternoon, who tells the guy below him on Wednesday morning, all in time for the woman working the office to tell you about an event that weekend. On Wednesday afternoon.
Notices seem last minute because they are — both for you and the woman giving it to you. Friends may do this too, for the same reason. One afternoon around 3:30 p.m., I asked June what she was doing for dinner. The usual, let’s meet at 5 p.m. Cool.
Shortly after 4 p.m., she called me to tell me her uncle is in town, and we’re having dinner with him and her brother. When we got to the restaurant, her brother suddenly had to leave and meet his classmates. Jesus rang, 100 minutes later, and asked me to join him for a big, special dinner. Something going on with him and the disciples. I politely declined, but such is the dance.
Another thing to be aware of: student loans. Whether you went in debt to finance a degree with job prospects or a humanities degree, it is unlikely that you will make enough in China to start paying back. That’s if you want to pay it back.
Attentive readers may be wondering where that closure is. Okay then.
Since this column appears at the end of the spring semester, I want to address all you new graduates.
Many of you believe you have your lives set. Some will start careers. Others will go on to professional school, law school, medical school, pharmacy school or graduate school. Among this group, there are a select few who actually want to go, with a clear idea of what they want to do and what their purpose is. Much fewer than you imagine.
And then there are others who will go simply because they have nothing else to do or their parents expect them to. While taking on a six-figure debt so Mommy and Daddy will have something to brag about isn’t the wisest choice, I can understand it all the same. I know full well what your parents want. They don’t want you to be what you want to be. They want you to be what they never were, and if they’re not open about it, then they secretly harbor this feeling, and it will come out in subtle ways.
I wish I could give you some great advice, but I can’t. Sorry. Everyone’s paths are different, but I can tell you part of what led me here. I had just finished a great semester one year ago. I was supposed to go to France and teach English for seven months, vastly improving my French language skills and then return to a great graduate program in the States.
It didn’t work out. I was devastated.
Now? I’m in a far better position. I do not regret not going to France, and I do not regret coming to China. If you’re looking for some kind of closure, then you’ll have to be satisfied with that.
I do not regret it.