Wednesday, April 20, 2011
My China Connection
Our small apartment became grand central station on the weekends, with Xiangming serving as study-partner, sociological expert and wok-master. I not only learned a bit of Chinese, broadened my friendships and ate well, but I was also blessed with Xiangming's friendship and his own gifts as a scholar and writer.
Upon graduation, Xiangming served for years as professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more recently has assumed a deanship and chair of sociology at Trinity in Hartford, Connecticut. Through the years Xiangming has become the foremost sociological expert on Chinese cities and culture, and has sent me his own books. He's a great writer in his own right, though I don't understand a wit of his vast knowledge . . . still, I am proud to say that I have his autographed books on my shelf. We don't speak often enough, and I miss him terribly. I can't imagine my Duke experience without him, and he has added more to my life than he will ever know.
Xiangming, if you read this . . . here's to you, my friend. You, indeed, are one of my oldest and dearest friends. May all of your research and writing bring you both happiness and joy, and Becky and I fully intend to spend time with you and your family in Beijing some day. You know both nations, perhaps, better than anyone on earth . . . and I'm glad to call you my friend.
Posted by Todd Outcalt at 6:12 PM