Sunday, December 06, 2009

A rather large village

Daniel Zhang is a Professor of English at the University of Shandong at Weihai. He did some graduate work at our university last spring and needed to document it after his return to China. He requested a transcript from ETSU, but after nearly two months, it had not come. I was not surprised when he told me this in an email. Ordinary mail goes to China by ship and can take several months. The winter I spent in Weihai, I requseted an absentee ballot for the fall 2006 Congressional elections, but it did not arrive until April 2007, months after I had returned to the US.
I learned from the registrar's office that Daniel's transcript had gone out a few days after his request. Obviously, the transcript was lost-- or moving very slowly. The registrar's office released another to me after Daniel faxed his permission, I sent it out via priority mail. FED EX is faster, but it would have cost over a hundred bucks.

Just now, Daniel notified me that he'd finally received the transcript. It took three weeks by US priority mail. Daniel writes:

When we email to each other, I feel as though we were in a village, but this transcript experience brought me back to the reality that we live on two continents.

This is the paradox of international friendships. The global village is rather large.

Above: Post offices on opposite sides of the world.

Below: Pictures taken on an auto trip last March with Daniel Zhang and his family.

No comments:

What does tomorrow mean? It is 5:30 pm here, but at home it’s 5:00 in the morning. I leave Weihai tomorrow and make a stop in Beijing. ...