Wally

That was a Game of Thrones reference, in case you’re unaware. To pick up where I left in the previous post, let’s finish this interesting interview. In the first post, I left off where I asked him why he came here.

Me: So what’s the second reason that you came here?
I wanted to learn something new, add something interesting and unique to my CV. Coming here has been a great opportunity. I might not be fluent in the language, but I have had the privilege of living with Chinese in close quarters, I have learned so much about their culture, and all of that can help me in the near future.

While I’m thinking of my next question, Shania Twains You’re Still The One starts playing. Remember I said he was a man with many layers? When I first saw him, I thought he was someone serious, who didn’t know how to let loose. But then I bumped into him one night, we were in Revolucion. I think that was the FIRST time I’d ever actually had a conversation with him. Yes, we’d spoken before, one or two sentences, but that night we really talked.

Not only does George AKA Wally have a serious side, he also has a very playful side. Honest and Respectful as well.

Why do I call him respectful? After we returned to school, it was around six AM. I didn’t want to jump over the fence, so he said he’d stay out with me until the gates opened. Part of me thought, “So, should I start the countdown for when he says something inappropriate and hits on me?” I know, I know, this is wrong. But after being here two and a half to three years, most of the foreign guys here are asshats. They come here without their wife and kids, then they sleep with anything that wears a skirt. I swear, most foreign guys here, put a skirt on a vacuum cleaner and they’d flirt with the vacuum cleaner, I’m not kidding.

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George AKA Wally at our graduation dinner with some of his classmates.

Well, Wally sat with me for an hour, we had a very pleasant conversation and he NEVER ONCE hit on me!

From that day forward, my respect for this man grew.

Me: Before you came to China, what was your impression of the country?
You always read how China is overpopulated, so I thought there wouldn’t be room to walk. Everywhere you’d turn, you’d bump into someone. But that’s not true, there’s plenty of room to walk (laughs). It’s a very modern country, everything is very advanced. I almost feel like I’m the Asian Europe.

Shania’s song ends, then I’m surprised again when I hear Norah Jones. Hmm. This young man is only twenty-seven, but he has a very ‘grownup-old-man’ taste in music. Which is good, if you ask me. It means that he’s sensitive and not an apparatus to cover one’s ass.

After my first-hand experience with him and the many great things Kob has told me about Wally, I can truly say that he is a unique individual. To say he’s ‘interesting’ would be an understatement.

Me: Can you share some of the obstacles you’ve faced during these ten months?
One of my biggest obstacles was the language. I never thought it possible that in such a modern country, many of them still don’t speak English. Finding someone who speaks English is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I’m saying none of them speak the language, but it’s so difficult to find one who does. Chinese isn’t an easy language, there are five tones, as you also know. So it also was an obstacle for me to use this language to express myself. The second obstacle was adjusting to life here in China as a Brown man. The views some Chinese have of Africans… I don’t know, I sometimes felt like I was in the Stone Age.

Me: I know that learning and speaking Chinese is not easy
That’s true. I was in a class with people who’ve been speaking Chinese since they were little kids. Or they had to learn Chinese before they came here. So they were already able to carry a conversation and understand the teacher. But I can’t lie, they are amazing and they helped me a lot.

His classmates seem different, for they didn’t laugh at him, but they helped him. That’s interesting.

It’s not that they didn’t laugh at me, they did. But I quickly realized that they don’t mean harm, it’s a cultural thing. That’s their sense of humor. And I’m also not a person to pay attention to negativity. I’m in a new environment and I have to adapt to my new surroundings. I’m flexible that way.

My respect for him grew by the minute. I wondered why I’d never taken the time to have a conversation with him before. He’s really one of a kind. But I look at it this way: we played the part we were meant to play. I am glad I did realize what a gem he is. Better late than never.

Me: What are some of your most memorable times here in China?
I liked it when we went to Fuzhou and the different trips they took us on. But to be honest, all of my unforgettable moments involved my classmates. The way they received me with open arms, treated me like a real brother, that is something I will never forget. What I will also never forget, is that they asked me to be part of their play. I had a super small part, but still… it moved me.

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Wally participating in the Thai students their performance. He played a monk.

This surprised me as well! I also had to perform during our graduation dinner, so I was there during the rehearsals. When I saw Wally get on stage, I thought, “Oh, how nice of him. He’s standing in for a Thai guy who’s probably doing something else, or maybe even hasn’t arrived yet.” But I was wrong! George really was part of the THAI performance! This was new to me because my experience is that they keep to themselves.

The Thai students must really respect him.

Me: Tell me something you will take away from your time here in China.
Having the opportunity to make friends with the Thai students and spending so much time with them, I have learned that we can be much nicer to each other. We humans often treat each other like dirt, we take one another for granted. It’s an ‘every (wo)man for (her)himself mentality.’ But the Thai and some Chinese I’ve met, they really do care about one another and help one another. It was a beautiful thing to see.

After this conversation with him, what more can I say about him that I haven’t already said? He definitely is someone to be respected. And guess what? People do respect and care for him. Just look at the following pictures.

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Wally and his classmate

 

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Wally and Guitar, the photographer. In case you’re wondering, Guitar isn’t his real name. He was given this nickname because he liked to play guitar when he was a kid.

 

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Wally and another classmate. She’s told me her name… but yeah… I forgot it.

Respect and love for this young man! Thank you for your time, my brother. Sending well-wishes and hugs to you and your loved ones! <3