Dear John

The first thing on my mind is how AA is working in California. I know a couple of people here in Michigan who have been in AA but I’ve only seen them enough to say “Hello, haven’t seen you for two months. How are you?” They compare our governors on how hard a lockdown they are demanding in their respective states. Also, I would think you know as much as anyone about what has been going on with AA.


I know you like coffee. I found a place in Changsha, Hunan that was called Sugar Coffee. I loved going there. One day, I went there and there was a sign on the door: Closed until 5 PM – No Coffee. It was about 2 PM. I wondered how that would go at a Starbucks in the US. Sorry, We’re closed – No Coffee.

The person who brought me to Changsha vititing her mother at the hospital

After watching them make Coffee Americano, I wondered if I could do it myself. I worked in a shop that was a upscale woman’s clothing shop that was a formerly a Wine Bar. The bar was still intact while not in use. I went to an area where they sold machines for shops and found and bought a coffee grinder. Very proud of myself, I searched out a Starbucks (no easy task) and bought coffee beans. I needed an espresso maker to complete my setup. I was describing what I wanted to my boss when she opened a cupboard and said, “Like this?” She had one under the counter all the time! I would come in for work. I taught my English classes upstairs over the shop. I would make my coffee and take it upstairs.

Don’t ask if acupuncture hurts

Sometimes, the owner would ask me to make some for the customers. I would make it weak with two cubes of sugar and they would make a show of drinking it but I don’t think they liked it. I had an endless source of hot water to mix with the espresso. One of the workers learned the simple process, grind the beans, make the strong espresso, mix with hot water in equal parts. They may still be making it today.

acupuncture does hurts

I want to thank you for helping me so much when I first came to Beijing. Without your help, I could never have got to a place where I could be totally immersed in the middle of China with almost all my life surrounded by Chinese people for about a year. I learned so much. People went to the hospital. I went along and saw it from the inside. My friend got acupuncture treatments and I said something about how much did hurt? “You’ll find out,” she said. She had someone give me a sample. I saw their medical system from top to bottom as my friend kept trying various treatment for Bell’s Palsy. Of course, there is no treatment but that doesn’t stop the Chinese. We even visited a village shaman who had a poultice to cure it! It is the black patch on the side of her face. This was in her hometown where her family were farmers and orchard owners. I ate what they ate, except for the pig’s blood dish. I drank what they drank except for baijiu, which I could never stomach.

I write you these things to you because I tell these stories and people just look at me. Your experience gives you the background and context to understand. Next time, I’ll tell you how I survived Covid-19 last month. Don’t forget about how this has affected the people in AA. I really want to know.

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