The Chinese ‘goodbye’ means ‘see you again’

The Chinese 'goodbye' means 'see you again'
Suzhou, China

Suzhou, China


With the exams finished and passed I mentally check out of Suzhou well before I can check out of the dormitory. I say my goodbyes: To QiRui from nearby Wuxi, previously my flatmate in Singapore. He introduced me to his wonderful family (over a lot of beer, food and tea) and his industrial hometown. To Sean from Hubei province, a student of mine who was also agent (for my music and teaching activities), bandmate, Chinese teacher and friend. Together we managed to fill a mammoth 2 hr gig slot at local bar the Bookworm with just a couple of days notice, and, with salsa dancing Elise from France, many other open mic nights there. To Sherry from Changzhou. We met twice a week throughout the semester and her limitless patience helped me to finally produce the language I encountered in class. In return I clarified passages from challenging academic texts. To Kasper and Arik, constant companions during classes and lunch five days a week. To Simon and Elyssa. Together we would switch between French, German and English at will but (barring one upset) usually manage to see eye to eye. Elyssa was one of a group of us eating the canteen’s spicy chicken dish three-four times per week. To my Russian classmates Kristina and Liza and their friend Katya for KTV/club nights and the opportunity to see 2017 in wearing a Stitch (as in Lilo and Stitch) onesie listening to the Russian national anthem. To Misha, a Belorussian who gave me a stand up comedy open mic slot and an audience of fellow English teachers I could relate to. Between all of this there is a large dose of China’s chaotic, challenging but immensely rewarding day-to-day life. I will miss it…I think. Yes, I will, definitely. A bit.


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