I don’t know the Chinese characters for this game, but the Pinyin is tiao4 san1 jia1. That roughly translates to “The Game of Three Groups.” This is the card game that my friends from the Beijing WTO group have taught me.
For the past week and a half, I’ve been spending my evenings with them exclusively. I even gave up a brand new episode of “Everwood” tonight just to hang out with them. (Since I watch that show religiously, the sacrifice means quite a lot.) So… saying that I love being around them doesn’t quite capture my feelings toward them. I absolutely feel blessed that they are around. They are so much fun — even though I can understand less than a third of what they are saying.
Could it be the incredible amount of ego-stroking that they provide? Could be. They never waste a moment to encourage me to flirt with the prettiest girls in their group, to complement my looks, my intellect, my accomplishments, my ambitions, my potential… etc. I mean, geez… how can a guy maintain any semblance of humilty with such an onslaught of praise? Everyday that I see them, I am asked at least once when I will go to China. Two years from now, after the Peace Corps, is too long for them. They ask me to sneak away with them when they return this Wednesday. Of course, we laugh at the impossibility. Little do they know how much I yearn for the impossible.
They have welcomed me and treated me with such great kindness. I mean, these guys are offering me a job at the 2008 Summer Olympics! They tell me over and over again how I must visit their homes, teach their children English, visit the cultural sites (for free), and find a wife (Chinese, of course). Haha… I laugh at the idea of how they may already be making a list of all the single women they want to introduce me to. It’s as if the model-class Xinxin is not beautiful enough, they want me to be acquainted with even more? Goodness, no wonder so many men have a difficult time keeping their stateside relationships while they’re in China. Fortunately, I no longer will have that problem…
I will miss these friends I’ve made greatly. Lordie, lordie… how I want to go to the Mainland so badly.