I’ve got a head full of memories of times with the SUS team. Some of my favorites are ones that happened early on; I was so nervous to meet Leon, my partner, until we exchanged gifts and names and handshakes abound. I was so enamored when we all jumped rope in coaches’ driveway after a shared team dinner, the more daring of us eschewing our shoes for better aerodynamics so that we could all jump through the same rope, one at a time. Andy, Doris, Simona, and Lydia invited Silas and I over for dinner once, before they even really knew us. It felt like a family.
There is something different about Andy, though. I don’t know why it is that I feel closest to him; I contemplate this. He is still willing to make me dinner (I live with him now) for some reason, but all the SUS kids were like that: so giving, and so easy to give to. I learned a lot from them that I feel that the West side of the globe really lacks. Always quick to loan out a spare buff, never letting another skier race alone, and always offering an open ear despite disparate languages. The SUS skiers are selfless. I called them kids, but really, they were more mature than I was. (And older, too, anyway.)
Everyone’s English improved immensely from the first time I met them to the time we said goodbye. Andy still teaches me Chinese, but I think he sees more potential in me than is really there. I am illiterate in the Far East. Sometimes I wonder, during conversations with mutual friends, how much he really picks up. Every time, though, he is ready to chime in with a Chinese-icized American witticism, and I’m so happy with how much we have been able to show each other. I almost feel guilt around him. He does so much for me, and I’m at a loss for ways to pay him back. I have to go, the water’s boiling, it’s time to throw the noodles in. I must dry my eyes, though; this recipe doesn’t call for salt.
Lan Jia Hui