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.
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):
I left a China that looked like this:
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.