Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Yan Ke Graduates!

One of the great, largely untold stories of our lives in Beijing is all of the time we have spent with Yan Ke, our Chinese teacher. Actually, at some point, a while back, it became woefully incomplete to refer to Yan Ke solely as our tutor. He has really become one of our family's best friends.

I can't tell you how many nights there have been...The four of us...In my office...Working together through the "long march" that is Chinese grammar. These have been some of our most cherished, everyday times that we have spent in Beijing.

And it hasn't been all work and no fun. There have been field trips to the botanical gardens, the Sackler, and Mateo Ricci's tomb. Just last night, there we were, the five of us, chilling outside at this xiao fandian that, improbably, serves the specialties of Yan Ke's hometown way down there in Hunan.

It all started out last fall with a simple quest to find a Chinese instructor. Back then, never could we have imagined the pride we would feel, less than a year later, at seeing Yan Ke all decked out in the colors of Peking University, getting the chance to celebrate together all that he has accomplished.

We do have one warning, though, for you, Yan Ke...It is not going to be very easy getting rid of us!



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