#35 谢谢啊!

Frequently, the athletes in a winning competition will thank God for their success. No one in the losers’ locker room ever blames God. I would. Or I would blame Emma (long story).

Ideally, the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament will conclude with the ethically-challenged Kansas Jayhawks beating the University of Dayton (Go Flyers!) in a close, exciting championship game. The Jayhawks would, presumably, thank God. The University of Dayton would blame God. Or Emma.

It is an interesting theological issue to ask whether a theist should blame an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omnibeneficent being for COVID-19. Or whether that theist should, instead, blame Emma.

COVID-19—in addition to killing people, quarantining people, and threatening to ruin enough economies to pose a genuine overall threat to the world economy—is pretty goddamn inconvenient. It made me leave China. It prevented me from visiting Taiwan and Berlin. It cost me a bunch of time. It cost me a bunch of money. I blame Emma.

With that said, I have been remiss in not saying thanks to the staff at the US Embassy for all the help they have been. I didn’t want to leave China (don’t tell anyone), and I was not the only Fulbrighter who registered an eloquent and insightful objection (something like “Noooooooooo!!!”). But it was not their decision, it is safe to say, and they were outstanding at providing information about health, safety, travel, etc.. As I said in a very early blog entry:

I’m pretty dubious about the political appointees in the State Department and related areas, but the permanent staff members I met, including Field Officers, were as good at their jobs as anyone I’ve met.

That evaluation is not only true after working months more with them: my respect probably increased. So this is my very inadequate way of saying thanks. (特别感谢, Taozhen!)

We have come full circle. My first couple of entries were made in the US, probably Ohio (“We’re 75% Vowels!”). Then I headed to Beijing. At various times, I worked with some of the following folks, but I kind of forgot to take pictures of all of them.

Steve, Sophia, Kerry. The odds of me getting all these names spelled correctly are slim. But there is beer. Really, really good beer. 很好喝!
Supper with China Fulbrighters and Staff.
Beijing Embassy. This woman was very nice, very smart, and either has a PhD or is close to having one. Have you figured out yet that I don’t know her name?
Beijing Embassy. Good luck at Fair Hahvahd™, Yin Dan!
Meta-violation, Beijing Embassy

Then I headed to Suzhou. 上有天堂,下有苏杭。

Since most of this whole blog is about Suzhou, no pictures are here. Plenty are already available.

I arrived in a China that looked like this (and this is the China I know):

中国人太多了

I left a China that looked like this:

现在没有人

And now I have nothing but poignant and overwhelmingly positive memories of China, of my half-Fulbright there, and of the people I met. And of this, possibly the single-most ethnically-diverse food I have ever encountered:

I have one last blog to offer after this one, which will be in Chinese. Otherwise, I ain’t got that much to say.

So I shall close with this fine picture of a famous Hungarian prince named Chuck.

OK, it’s really Iris. Who is not Miao, I’m pretty sure. But this captures her somehow.

Published by Kurt's Fulbright

B.A (English, History, Philosophy), SMU (Dallas TX); MA, PhD (Philosophy), The University of Chicago. Author of "Necessity and Possibility: The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason."

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: