Print Story Chapter 32 - Surprises, Softball and Sappiness
By slozo (Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 06:25:13 AM EST) (all tags)
well, the title says it all . . . read on . . .

As I continue to slog my way through the long daily schedule here in China, my body is slowly taking the brunt of abuse. Last week, I was sick most of the time, and frankly, it was really my own fault, as I continued to go out at night, stay up late and play the social butterfly role. The situation sometimes demanded this (I did have to gather a baseball team together and organise the proceedings somewhat), but as usual, I extended myself a bit too far. Unfortunately, this meant I was bleary-eyed, sniffling and miserable half the time, and for about three days, my raspy voice sounded like Brando's in The Godfather. I will begin to get adjusted eventually though, and in a couple of weeks time, I should be going to Beijing for a week's vacation. This, of course, means I will need another vacation afterward, as I will be out every night most likely . . .

On Thursday night, I received a really neat surprise, and was privy to one of the craziest good karma connections I have ever heard of . . . one of those "6 degrees of seperation" things. Here is how the story unfolded . . .

After work in the evening ended at 9pm, I met up with YJ and had dinner at the new Italian restaurant. This restaurant is clearly going to be my new favourite, as the prices are (for a variety of western dishes, good food and great ambience) outrageously low, and the food excellent.  I evn tried the house red wine, and the slightly oaky dry aftertaste complimented my rich and delisious cheesecake very nicely. For 6 and 12 rmb respectively, I couldn't go very wrong there . . .

After a relaxing and satiating meal, we had to decide if we should go home, or visit the Blue Bar and meet up with my colleague and friend Ian, who had a friend visiting from Canada. We finally made the decision to go to the bar, and we met up with the usual gang of miscreants there. I met James, Ian's friend, and as I shook his hand, he hands me a nondescript white bag with various items inside. As he does this, he adds, "Oh, and this is from Al."

I have never seen this guy James before, and to my knowledge no one knows I have a friend named Al in Canada, and I know none in China . . . baffled, I ask, "Who is this Al? I don't think I know an Al in China, are you sure you have the right guy?" With a big smile on his face, he replies, "No, I think I have the right guy . . . it's from Al in Toronto - you know, your old buddy!"

Dumfounded, I look through my goody bag as I hear the incredible story. James, a young guy in his early twenties who lives in Toronto, had a friend who lives on a certain street near downtown, across from where my good friend Al lives. One day, he visits his friend, and on the street (probably waiting for the bus), Alastair befriends them to take them out for a beer and a chat. Some time later, Al goes out to a concert with the two guys (James and his friend), and Al remembers that James is going to China in a few weeks. Thinking of his good buddy who is living in China at the time, Al queries James as to where he is going in China, thinking he may be going close to where I am. Usually, a foreigner will go to Beijing or Shanghai or Hong Kong, and if it's Shanghai, well, Wuxi is just a short hop away. To Al's astonishment, he replies that he is going to Wuxi to visit his friend Ian. Alastair can't believe his good luck, that this guy is going to the exact city in all of China that I live in, and they speak on the coincidences of life.

Al then makes a care package, and James visits his friend Ian in China. James has very little luggage, as he is going only for a 4 week holiday, so he thinks nothing of it. Alastair gives him all the info he can find from my stories on how to find me - bars frequented, restaurants, friend's names, and adds my phone number and address. But as it turns out by massive coincidence again, James' friend is my friend and colleague here in Wuxi! What a crazy, crazy, small world it is, eh?

The taxi dropped us off at the stadium, and we all walked inside the magnificent new dimensions of the Wuxi Baseball Diamond. Aaah, the fresh chalk lines in the dirt, the excited chatter of future softball fans, and the thrill of the grass . . . All of our worries melted away, as there was a large turnout, and the sun shone brightly the whole time.

About nine players from my team showed up, most of them Chinese and some foreigners who had never played before. YJ was such a trooper, and I was very proud of her as she tried to hit the ball and field and throw. Three other Chinese students came out for the WEB Sluggers, and they all picked up the general idea of the game pretty quickly as well. My good friends from other countries in Asia soon started to get the idea of hitting the ball properly, and later in the day Jon cracked out a few hard hit balls. Catching the ball apparently takes a bit more practice, but it will all come together I am sure. The day turned out to be a lot of fun, and for the beginning of the following week I was sore from the short effort of physical exertion . . .

Next week, my team won't be playing the first batch of real games, but I will be there anyways - as umpire. That's right, I will actually be umping the first three games of the season, so I will definitely have to brush up on some of the different rules of our softball league (bases on errors, how many runs can be scored in an inning, etc). I think it will be a fun experience, actually, and with all of the new faces to the game of baseball, it should be a hoot to watch. I will be waiting (with beer in hand) for the first player to be thrown out because they ran in the wrong direction . . .

Well, as many of you know, I have had a girlfriend for quite some time now in China. YJ has been with me through a few trials and tribulations already with me, and every time she is tested, she comes through with flying colours. She has put up with inappropriate comments from Chinese and westerners alike in reference to our relationship, she has survived a long hard trip to Tibet with me, and she has endured my dark moods. Even though she also works just as hard as I do, she takes the time to cook for me as I get home late, and even helps out with washing my clothes when she can. Every one of my foreign friends love her, but it's not too hard - she is an exuberant, shining personality, and she is always kind, thoughtful and polite to others. Besides having a beautiful personality, she is also a gorgeous looking woman, so there is really no downside here at all. In short, she's an angel.

I don't want to embarrass her (too late babe, sorry!), but she is the most important part of my life right now, and I realised recently that I would be remiss if I didn't mention that. It's not as if we don't have our occasional problems - we are as human as anybody else, and of course being from two totally different cultures and having some communication problems puts added pressure on our union. Yet we have crossed every hurdle so far, and the road ahead looks clear . . . I love Yijie and she loves me, so what more is there to say?

And that's as sappy as I get, so soak it in while you can .  . . ;)

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Chapter 32 - Surprises, Softball and Sappiness | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
i'm glad you are doing so well by 256 (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 06:31:25 AM EST
but september is fast approaching.

is it uncouth to wonder what plans you and YJ have at that time?
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

Not uncouth at all . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:38:41 AM EST
. . . and this has been discussed at length between us both.

Marriage has been discussed, and we are on the same page really, with only myself not being 100% decided yet. I am very close, though. As it stands now, I will return home in September, and return for a short teaching stint in early 2007. Then I will get hitched and bring back my bride to Canada, where we will live happily ever after . . .

. . . as YJ says to me, "SEEMS like it . . ."

[ Parent ]
All cynicism aside by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:11:35 AM EST
(well, as much as possible) you'll regret the missed opportunity if you don't seize it.  Worst case, you get to join the ranks of "pre owned" HuSSians.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
wow! by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 12:12:44 PM EST
go to china for a year, meet the woman of your dreams.

that's fantastic news!
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
BIRD FLU by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 06:36:43 AM EST
Cut the cable, cut the cable.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Why would I want to cut the cable . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:43:07 AM EST
. . . when I can watch Yao Ming play a supporting role most games for the Rockets, and then watch him be called the game's first star?!?

seriously - WTF do you mean?

[ Parent ]
Topical UKian scare story by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:09:04 AM EST
HN51 infected immigrant pit bull/swan crossbreed paedophiles infecting us through blogs.  Surely you've read about that?

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Oh, THAT story . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 04:27:10 PM EST
. . . yeah, I heard about that - but I got the filtered down version from Yahoo news. You know - blocked in China and all . . .

In all seriousness though, I would like to hear any news that is being reported on the bird flu cases in China. From the news here (see: propoganda), there are a few deaths every week it seems, usually in the south-western provinces. But there could be hundreds dying, and I would never know . . .

[ Parent ]
How would we know? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 11:53:26 PM EST
The filtering works pretty well both ways.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
You can punch it in Google . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #15 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 01:34:03 AM EST
. . . and you will get a hundred news reports. No, YOU guys won't hear it on the news unless it's a total disaster, but you can find the info usually . . .

I can type in a hundred variations into Google, but still get one article out of a hundred - written in Chinese, and totally devoid of information . . . the rest will be blocked.

[ Parent ]
How would Google know? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 02:13:40 AM EST
Who's going to tell them?  See what I'm saying?

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Oh, I hear you . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #19 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 09:46:19 PM EST
.. . but thre is also the beauty of independant reporters getting stories picked up by organisations like Reuters. Many of these stories will never be seen or heard in China . . . it's not always the government who reports everything . . .

[ Parent ]
So, by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:18:01 AM EST
Not mentioning specifics, do the Chinese chixxors put out at all?  Are they similar at all in sexual mores to their western sisters.

You're going to have a tough choice to make in September I think and that's not one I envy.

In general, chinese chicks . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 07:41:17 AM EST
. . . hell, you'll have to find out for yourself! Bwahahahahaha !!!

[ Parent ]
Re: surprises by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:47:56 AM EST
On my first overseas trip, the very first day I landed in Amsterdam, I'm wandering around the city and bump into some guy I knew from school. For a minute I thought I had dreamed the whole flying to Europe thing.

hi by sobeinom (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 12:29:02 PM EST
Seems like an interesting experience, have a friend going to HK monday, and maybe I'll go one day too.  Small word :-)

  • "As for the above statement, I'll ignore it just for my well being."
  • A suggestion. by calla (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Apr 20, 2006 at 08:33:05 PM EST
    Get your wedding invites done in China. Something bright red with beautiful gold characters.


    Would you have a wedding in China and a wedding in Canada?

    See, THIS is why . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 01:39:12 AM EST
    . . . I hate mentioning the word "wedding" within five miles of a female . . .

    It's not for sure yet, just very close . . . (slozo adjusts collar) . . . just really close, that's all . . . (beads of perspiration run down side of temple) . . . is it HOT in here?

    uh, maybe . . . but for YJ to get out of China, she would HAVE to marry me first (in China) . . .

    [ Parent ]
    Not rushing you. by calla (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:05:46 AM EST
    If you decide to do it, getting Chinesse invites would be cool. Also have a wedding that family and friends in Canada could attend.

    IF you decide that maybe want to get hitched.

    [ Parent ]
    yeah, all kidding aside . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 09:48:13 PM EST
    . . . I agree with that plan.

    Just feels . . . strange talking about it . . .

    [ Parent ]
    That's because you are a boy. by calla (4.00 / 1) #21 Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 09:54:15 AM EST
    Marriage usually takes away your right to spread your DNA around.

    That's a scary thing for you guys.

    [ Parent ]
    So... by molasses (4.00 / 1) #22 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:20:26 AM EST
    this means you're taken?


    Oh well, I'll just have to hold onto my little Slozo crush until the next HusiStock and congratulate your girl.  :)

    I'm happy to hear you're doing well.  She sounds wonderful!

    [ Parent ]
    Very sweet of you to say . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 07:21:00 PM EST
    . . . thank you.

    I really look forward to another Husistock to tell you the truth, as it has been an interesting year for me on this website. It's been a pleasure to get to know many nice people here, and I think of you as one of my good Husi friends ;)

    How's Rizzo?

    [ Parent ]
    Ditto, my friend, ditto! by molasses (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:57:07 AM EST
    It would be awesome to do another HusiStock.  How does your sister feel about that?

    Rizzo is good.  Things are good.  I should write an updated diary; I guess I'll do that next since I have a few minutes to kill (so rare!)


    [ Parent ]
    Chapter 32 - Surprises, Softball and Sappiness | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback