Start saving your pennies

It looks like I will be starting a column about living in China as an expat for soon, hopefully even before the New Year. The Journal is a sub-only site, so you freeloaders better start saving your pennies now. It will be a slightly less personal, more tightly focused version of the blog (minus all the bald heads).

I am very excited about this. After years of making boring people sound interesting, dumb people sound smart and indifferent people sound engaged, I can do the same for myself.

Any real joy I may feel, however, is wiped out by some really rough news here. My friend Tom’s wife has been feeling sick with a lot of vague problems no one here could put together. She went home to Seattle and is in the hospital getting a battery of tests and the results are not good. Again, I am probably pushing it in terms of their privacy as it is, so I’ll leave it there for now. But Tom and his two daughters, aged 3 and 4, are leaving here tomorrow morning for Seattle.

These are two of the kindest, most compassionate, salt-of-the-earth people I have ever known and it’s all really dizzying and quite devastating. Trust me that they deserve to be in your thoughts and prayers. We had some plans to go out tonight but cancelled them to have Tom and his daughters over for pizza. He is struggling to hold it together and keep a brave face for them and we are doing what we can to assist. It’s one of those situations where you are aching to help out but there’s not a whole lot you can do.

Ta ta for now.

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