I finally got down to SZ for a weekend. I stayed with a friend (Toni) in the middle of the city, which was convenient for getting around. I arrived on Thursday and left on Sunday and everything in between was a whirlwind.
I saw quite a few old faces, including Roy, Carrie, Teresa, Dylan, Toni, some other CTLC friends, and the Korean family I used to tutor. Iris and Anthony were both busy.
First stop upon arrival was to see the family I used to tutor. Becuase the daughter attends an international school, they had a fall holiday the same time I visited. We had a homemade lunch in their home and then spent some time at Starbucks. I'm happy to report the dark cherry mocha is back on the seasonal menu. I'm sad to report that the Koreans are moving back to Korea in a few months. Hopefully I can squeeze in another short visit and see them one last time.
Then I went to see Roy... and drink Starbucks. We chatted for about two hours, just catching up and talking about the teachers at my old school. Roy is still busy as ever at my old
school and wondering what he wants to do next year. Sometimes little news is good news.
I went to Carrie's for dinner and to meet her son! He's about 3 months old now and quite big. He seems like a happy baby but he was pretty tired when I got there. I gave him the English name Zachary since it sounds quite a bit like his real name. And Carrie agreed that it was good for him to not be John, Jack, or Sam like so many other boys. After I finished oohing and ahhing over him and spending some time with my Chinese mother and Carrie's other son, Carrie and I went out for dinner. We went to a restaurant that she described as serving dry hot pot. I'm not sure if that's what it's really called, but anyting smothered in chilis is good in my book!
It was quite late by the time I got to Toni's but we still managed to stay up until the wee hours catching up. After such a hectic but fun day, it was good to unwind.
I spent Friday with Toni, eating a leisurely lunch, trying another Starbucks specialty
Carrie and her son
He's so big for three months old!
drink, and enjoying the lovely weather. At dinner I went off to meet some other friends of mine and she went to Dylan's birthday party. (I had already made my dinner plans well before Dylan announced his party.) After dinner and late happy hour drinks I did end up at Dylan's party after all. It was good to see a bunch of friendly faces I hadn't anticipated seeing this visit.
Saturday I got up and made my way across town to Teresa's home for lunch and to meet her new son. Teresa's son is 6 months old and full of smiles. I held him and he kept grinning at me and laughing. When Teresa tried to take him to feed him, he wasn't having it, so I held him while she spooned a rice, fish, and veggie mush into his tiny mouth. (There's really not jarred baby food as Americans know it in China.) After he ate, we (Teresa, her husband, and Teresa's mother, and I) all sat down to a specially prepared seafood meal. Teresa's mother is quite the cook! We traded lots of laughs and jokes even across the language barrier. But then, smiles are universal.
Me and my Chinese nephew
I gave him the English name Zachary.
After stuffing myself I waddled to the metro and went to meet Dylan for coffee. (Yes, coffee again.) I hadn't had much of a chance to talk to him at his birthday party, so it was good to have a bit of one-on-one time with him.
Toni and I went out for a late dinner. Both she and I were exhausted and fell into bed early. (Perhaps we've had our fill of really late nights for the weekend.)
Sunday I was up and out the door early to meet another Chinese friend for--you guessd it--coffee. She worked at the same school in SZ as I did and left at the same time. Both of us left because we wanted new challenges and a change in our career paths. It's fun to get together with her and see how things have changed for her, how they've stayed the same, and to compare where our dreams are taking us. Of all my Chinese friends, I think her thinking is the most western, so it's interesting to compare our experiences.
On my way back to Toni's, I was tripped in the subway station. The girl in front of me just
My Chinese mother and Zachary
I love that she's making him wave. Some things are universal.
sort of stopped and shifted to the right. I didn't have enough room to stop (China is rather crowded) and as a result, her right foot caught my left foot. I flailed across the subway platform like a cartoon character out of a movie, finally losing my balance and landing on my foot, knee, and hip. When I looked up, and older gentleman was looking at me to see if I needed help and the girl who tripped me just stared at me looking confused. I rose quickly and ran out of the station before my face turned red and I realized how much I'd hurt myself.
Toni and I had a nice lunch at a Muslim noodle shop near her apartment before I took off for the train station. I like taking the train and watching China fly by. It always brings a smile to my face to realize I'm here.
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