Dear readers, I am a fraud. I’ve been going on for quite some time now in this role, but I have to come clean.
Here’s my truth: I keep winning trophies at bowling. But my name is Debbie and I’m a mediocre bowler. My approach is a totally clumsy stride up to the line where I seem to consistently manage to add an odd twist to the ball just as it leaves my hands, sending my body into an odd contortion and sending the ball invariably off to the side or into the gutter. I stand there leaning like an idiot, hoping the force of my powerful thinking will help the ball get back on course.
And yet, the organizers of the International Friendship Bowling League insist on handing me these classy awards. I’m like that kid who shows up to the Saturday morning soccer games just because everybody does that on Saturdays and you sometimes get jelly donuts afterwards.
I don’t deserve these trophies. Look at them.
1. HIGH GAME WITH HANDICAP, WOMEN’S CATEGORY, INT’L FRIENDSHIP BOWLING LEAGUE, AUTUMN 2012, BEIJING, PRC, DEB BRUNO
2. HIGH SERIES SCRATCH, WOMEN’S CATEGORY, INT’L FRIENDSHIP BOWLING LEAGUE, SPRING 2013, BEIJING, CHINA, DEBBIE BRUNO
3. 3RD PLACE, INT’L FRIENDSHIP BOWLING LEAGUE, SPRING 2013, BEIJING, CHINA, OAKWOOD DRAGONS
I’m not sure why Claes, our esteemed captain, gave me the third-place trophy to take home. It might be because he has a little kid at home who might impale himself on it. In any event, I have this shameful collection.
But the other day Bob, in his ever-helpful way, suggested a new use for the trophies. He observed that all expats in China really deserve trophies for putting up with the various difficulties and challenges we face on a daily basis. So I’ve decided to repurpose my trophies, awarding them back to myself for reasons I truly deserve this time.
1. INTERNET ZEN: 636 days of Internet mafan, including a VPN that shuts out dozens of times a day, creating a Facebook “page not available” sign, a wireless system that cuts out 8 times a day, and the occasional inexplicable denial of the ability to search for, say, peach cobbler online.
2. TUMMY TROUBLE: Bravery in the face of ice cubes with as much bacteria as toilet water, New Zealand milk that may have botulism, pigs floating in rivers, chickens connected to bird flu, grilled meat that may or may not be rat, exploding watermelons, and bean paste ice cream. Not to mention appetizers that arrive 20 minutes after an entrée, waiters that expect you to order food within 10 seconds of sitting, and “napkins” thinner than the thinnest tissue.
3. TRANSPORTATION VALOR: Ability to cross the street as cars, bikes, dogs, people, buses, trucks come from every direction to impede your passing. Ability to hail a taxi and insist that the driver take you where you want to go, or within approximate walking distance. Ability to fight your way off a subway car as clueless Beijing-ren stand and stare at their iphones and ignore the fact that they’re completely blocking exit and entry.