Every now and then you have an experience that fits into the category – quintessential Chinese experiences. Here are 2 examples.
You endeavor to find the particular historical library that has the records you need. Then you undertake to figure out how to get there. This may sound easy but it isn’t. You arrive at the library to find no library at all, just a big hole in the ground and some heavy equipment. After endeavoring to find out where the library holdings have been moved, you first need to track down someone to ask. This is not as easy as it sounds. You find that the materials have been fairly randomly distributed among other libraries and you are right back where you started.
You receive an email from a colleague who has asked you to give a lecture. The colleague informs you that your lecture will now be part of a conference – with an additional audience of 80 experts in addition to the 50 undergraduates you thought you would be speaking with. In addition, your colleague suggests that you meet with the chair of the department. You say that sounds good, and will be happy to meet at the conference next weekend. A couple of hours later on your way home from a very filling lunch followed by an ice cream you receive a text message: “we are having a lunch meeting. will call u soon.” Ten minutes later you receive a call informing you that 10 people are standing in your courtyard awaiting your arrival because you are the guest of honor at a departmental lunch meeting.