Sunday, October 16, 2011

At Last, an Answer to the Ageless Question . . .

During yet another phenomenal weekend spent with Chinese friends (and fellow foreign friends, too), I at last remembered to ask about a question which has intrigued me, and many others, I'm sure, for years.

As any American child knows, any time that you dig a deep hole, people ask if you are digging to China. Or, if you are a child similar to the child that I was, digging all the way to China is your actual intent.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have wondered if Chinese people do the same thing in reverse.  When they did a hole, do they say that they are digging to America?

So, yesterday my friend Kathryn and I, while out on a stroll with Maggie, decided to answer this ageless question.  Maggie was quite amused to hear about our childhood adventures of digging to China.  But, sadly, she informed us that the Chinese do not do the same thing in reverse.  She had, in fact, never heard of such a thing, delightful as she found it.

And so, dear friends, the answer is no.  But perhaps that is subject to change -- Maggie really liked the idea of digging a hole to America!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"