(Fruit flies like a banana)*.
The two years I’ve spent in Guangzhou have rocketed by like an arrow with its britches on fire. I remember how, around this time last year, David used to shake his head and wax nostalgic: “I can’t believe it’s been two years. It feels like I just got here,” he once said. “Whatever,” I thought to myself, “I’ve still got a whole year left.” Then I must have blacked out because the next thing I remember is flying around my stiflingly hot apartment throwing everything I own into hastily assembled cardboard boxes, leaving sweaty footprints on the tile. That was last Thursday morning.
Backing up a bit, concerned readers may be wondering what I’ve been doing since the last post, since Berlin. Three things:
1. Watching soccer. If you’re thinking, “Wait, Gus doesn’t give a shit about sports,” you must be thinking of the old Gus, because the new Gus has read many Wikipedia articles about international soccer and suddenly finds it pants-wettingly exciting. Sadly, after leaving Kreuzberg, Berlin, a place with so many outdoor TVs you can’t not watch the World Cup, I quickly discovered that downtown Guangzhou is kind of a dead zone for soccer viewing. The one time Jon and I made a special effort to find a place to watch (the US vs. Algeria match), CCTV was only showing England vs. Slovenia. Jon called our failed excursion to the bars in search of the game “the most heterosexual thing I almost did this year.”
2. Final exams. Besides the Oral English final exam, I also gave final exams to my Wordplay and Juggling Appreciation students (those are two different electives fyi, not one wacky “Wordplay and Juggling Appreciation” classtravaganza). Last semester I only did final presentations (and last year hardly anyone showed up to the final exams due to my ignorance of their schedule), so this was sort of a watershed moment for me to see how much knowledge they actually retained. The results were mostly gratifying. One of my Wordplay students called my final “the funnest examitation I have ever had in nearly ten years of my school life!!!!!!” In the whole class, only one poor kid fell for the “schmalindrome” trap in the multiple choice section.
3. Packing. Holy geez. I gave myself three whole days to do this after Jon left, and predictably used two of those three days to not pack a thing. As alluded to earlier, that apartment gets kind of steamy when you’re running around at top speed, pushing boxes and furniture around, pulling textbooks off shelves etc. And it didn’t help that I realized around noon that 11:50pm was my arrival time in Singapore, not my departure time in Hong Kong. By the time I had distributed the last of my Old Kentucky Chocolates Peanut Butter Meltaways to pretty much any staff member (and two bewildered security guards) I met on my way back from the school office to drop off my key, I was fairly certain I was not going to make the plane. It was 3pm, and the flight to Singapore was at 8:15pm (usually it takes a solid four hours to get from our apartment in Guangzhou to wherever I’m going in Hong Kong). Sprinting between every connection with two suitcases and an ukulele, I made it to the gate exactly as boarding began. The twenty minutes spent waiting for my row to board also happened to be just enough time for my neck sweat (which had begun oozing more than seven hours earlier) to evaporate.**
By the time I started writing this, I’ve been back and forth to Singapore for a weekend in paradise with my long-distance friend Natasha, and have aptly celebrated the Fourth of July by playing a grueling four hours of Modern Warfare 2 (i.e. mowing down Russian terrorists on the steps of a firebombed White House) with my not-quite-as-long-distance friend Rory in Hong Kong. Now I’m on a plane to Chicago, land of my birth, where I’ll be connecting to Lexington, land of my home (of course, I can’t post this until I get home so it’s safe to assume that, if you’re reading this, I’m in Kentucky). So what does this mean for Cantonstinople, now that I’m no longer living in Canton? Nothing, for the moment. I may well keep writing for a bit over the summer, assuming I can occasionally pull myself out ot the oily-faced stupefaction sure to result from the exclusive diet of Krispy Kreme and Bourbon Barrel Ale I have planned for myself. Naturally, once I get settled in Beijing as a full time student again, I’m sure to have plenty of material for another personal blog (that is, assuming I can think of a title clever enough to match Cantonstinople (I mean, it was good, right? Somebody hire me!)) and of course I’ll provide a link to that blog here. But anyway, for lack of anything meaningful to say about the end of two years in the Easy Geezy, I’d just like to say thanks for reading and, if you happen to be reading from the United States of America (god bless her), I hope I get a chance to see you over the summer.
*Or in the original Latin: Tempus Fugit, Fruflis Banugit
** Bolting off the train from Guangzhou, I was among the first to get onto the escalators and upstairs to customs at Hung Hom station. I usually fill out the Hong Kong entry card before getting in line but this time, in a butt-chlenchingly reckless decision, I grabbed one off the shelf and filled it out while scooching my luggage forward with my feet. The card must have been completely illegible, but somehow they let it (and me) pass. I mention this otherwise unremarkable event because my place in the line was unexpectedly golden. If I had been first (or second, or third or fourth) in line, I never would have had enough standing time to fill out the card before reaching the customs desk, at which point I would have been sent to the back of the by-then anacondian queue of anxious travelers. As it happened though, I had maybe forty-five seconds of foot shuffling and pen scribbling before I was past the thick yellow line and out the doors to the taxi stand, at which there was no line. Thus, ironically, being too fast and missing the sweet spot could easily have cost me the twenty minutes I had to spare by the time I reached the plane departure gate, ruined my perfect flight attendance rate, and greatly inconvenienced my Singaporean hosts. Lady luck, you saucy minx you!