Some of my colleagues are leaving for month-long stints at a new research site tomorrow morning. As Sarah and I never have any idea what is happening, we were both a little sad to find out yesterday they would miss our last stint at CICAMS as a few of them really have been instrumental in our adjustment to and living in China. But, as a complete and utterly sweet surprise, they coordinated an office-wide card for me (and another for Sarah) that was signed with everyone we've worked with.
The card has the most well-intended, heartwarming Chinglish phrases ever written and will be a wonderful memory of my time at CICAMS--I plan on getting it framed and hanging it somewhere in our new apartment in NYC where I can see it everyday. I mean, how can you not smile when you read things like:
"May you happy and health! Happy everyday!"
"It's wonderful. I wish you every sucess in the future. You are worthy sucesses."
"May everything beautiful and best be condensed into this card. I sincerely wish you happiness, cheerfulness, and success."
"Happy every second!"
"A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near."
I don't want to sugarcoat this year--we will never forget how vulnerable we were as outsiders unable to communicate--but receiving this note is confirmation that we have met compassionate, patient people who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome here and, as a result, have transformed this crazy country into a home. Basically, Alison and I look forward to returning the good karma for the rest of our lives :)
PS Our favorite comment either reads "You are not done" or "you are not alone," depending on how you look at it.
PPS A few people wrote in Chinese about our wedding--so cool!