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Monday, June 23, 2008

Black/White and/or Orange Champagne Goodbye/Birthday Party

From amazement to adaption to normal and at times incredibly annoying, but overall an absolutely great experience!!

5242 pictures taken, 3585 cycling kilometers, ±800 times of eating out, 441 days away from "home", 275 hours of teaching, 135 days of traveling, 3 apartments, and zero bike crashes.
That is about what I did in China :-)

Last Saturday Shosh and I organized a party to "celebrate" our leaving and my birthday. Just like Sander and Susan did half a year ago we labeled the party: Black & White Champagne Party. However since Holland was playing later that night we decided that people could/should also wear orange. Besides our foreign friends I invited all my students and Shosh invited her six most favorite ones. And the turn up was great!!! I never expected so many of my students to be willing to leave their campus at 19.00 only being able to return at 7.30 the next morning. Between these times there are no buses between the campuses and taxis are way too expensive for my students.

As good Chinese people ought to my students showed up way too early... I told them to be here at 21.00 and the first ones arrived at 20.15! The foreigners did it exactly the opposite way: I told them the party would start at 20.30 and they started arriving at 21.00. Once again a beautiful example of cultural differences :-)
Besides talking, drinking and having a good time we took many, many pictures. And as usual they give a much better impression of the evening than anything I could write. See for yourself.

We planned to leave our place around midnight and go to The Hump to party on and watch the game. But it got a little later and Marc was just about to surprise us with one of his goodbye presents when it happened: the police arrived. Just before 0.30 they were at our door telling us to end the party... And we did, but not without making a little fun of them such as offering beer, inviting them in and so on (which we probably only got away with because we are foreigners a.k.a. laowai/waiguoren).

As everyone knows the Dutch team sucked that night and lost hopelessly from the Russians. I have to admit that I missed most of the game because I was sleeping on a couch in The Hump. At least I saw the Dutch goal and the extra time... after the game we said our goodbyes and arrived home at 7.10. And then it struck me... where is my camera?? The entire evening everyone had been using it to take pictures, but I couldn't remember taking it to The Hump. Texting my students and other people, asking them who knew where the thing was, but no one had a clue. Really pissed that I lost the camera and all the pictures I got out of bed after an hour and started cleaning. It wasn't till 15.00 that Marc texted me with the simple message: "do you know that I still have your camera here?" What a relieve!!!

Yesterday and today are again days of packing things, giving away things, exchanging Renminbi into US Dollars, picking up suits... but we are doing fine. Everything is going as planned and I am positive that tomorrow we can get in a taxi to the train station without worrying that we forgot something.

The next post will almost certainly be from the United States where we'll arrive in Tacoma some time on Thursday evening after a 27,5 hour train ride, another 2 hour train ride, 12 hours in a plane and 6 hours in a bus ;-)

China... Goodbye!!!
Birthday Boy Ruud

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