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Published: November 18th 2007
Heading to my all time favorite destination: home!
I didn't realize how much I love the Bay Area until being away for an extended amount of time. I love Shanghai too, and China is a fascinating place to be, but it doesn't compare to San Francisco. As much as I have loved seeing new places, meeting people, and being alone, I have to admit I am tired of riding buses, planes, trains, and figuring out where to sleep and where to eat. I am also tired of being so "on guard" all the time. I had to get a little fiesty the past few months - always ready to defend myself. I really admire people that have to travel for extended periods for work. It's exhausting!
A few things I'm looking forward to going back to: great weather, clean air, no mosquitos, fluffy bed, cheese, lots of food choices, sense of personal space, Peet's, using Bounce with my laundry, having an income/going to work, no internet censorship, safe crosswalks, and of course, my family and friends!
I'll definitely miss some people and personalities in China. I encountered something interesting and humoring or annoying everyday. The weather is cool in Shanghai now and it is starting to feel like winter. I love it right when it starts to feel cold and you know the holidays are almost here. I wish I could see a Shanghai winter, and be here for Chinese New Year. I'll certainly be missing the cheap goods and services once I get home too. No more taxi rides everywhere, no cheap massages, I'll have to clean my own apartment now too. 😞 I'm going to miss the street food vendors and snacks too. I love snacking. Oh, and I love the yogurt and chestnuts here. I'm a bit sad that I'm ending my whirlwind adventure. They say: Don't be sad you're leaving, but be glad you ever came. I sure am glad I did this! I don't know why I hesitated for months and months. My poor family and friends listened to my wishy-washiness about coming to China for about half a year! haha! Sometimes I wonder why they humor me.
I hope I can continue to learn Mandarin at home. We'll see how that attempt goes. I do feel a stronger connection towards Chinese people now. I think I appreciate being Chinese a bit more, and can relate a little better. I think I initially thought that I would come back "more Chinese", but I think I've realized I have a surprisingly "American" mindset. I bet I picked up some local habits - some I'll try to shake off, and some I hope I keep!
I've said this a zillion times - but I am so thankful to have this time. The time I've spent alone, with friends from home, with relatives, and with new friends has been so memorable. I was so lucky to have some visitors from afar. I can't believe I actually spent time with them here! Friends from home I saw or traveled with here: Michele, Christina (& her parents!), Anna, Joyce, Erick, David (TW), and Jie. Relatives: Grandma, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Charles, cousins in Taiwan, David in Beijing.
I knew I liked to travel, but now I really know I do. Just when I thought I was tired of going places, I hear about a friend's trip to Peru or my sister's trip to Italy and I get super excited again. It is such a privilege to be able to go places! I have appreciated all of the places I've visited. Cities (Provinces) visited: Zhujiajiao (Shanghai), Nanjing (Jiangsu), Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei (Taiwan), Macau, Putuoshan (Zhejiang), Hangzhou (Zhejiang), Huangshan (Anhui), Guilin (Guanxi), Yangshuo (Guanxi), Dunhuang (Gansu), Urumqi (Xinjiang), Turpan (Xinjiang), Kashgar (Xinjiang), Chengdu (Sichuan), Miyaluo (Sichuan), Songpan (Sichuan), Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan), Huanglong (Sichuan), Kunming (Yunnan), Shilin (Yunnan), Dali (Yunnan), Lijiang (Yunnan), Bangkok (Thailand), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Siem Reap (Cambodia). All the places I visited had something truly memorable - the mountains in Yangshuo, the water in Jzg, the rooftops in Lijiang, farmers in Dali, the culture and smells in Kashgar, the temples of Angkor....etc. I can't remember a single day where I wasn't happy to be where I was! I am guessing that going home and sitting at our Thanksgiving dinner table won't be far from the top of most happy moments of the year though! My sister and M appropriately mentioned The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Dramatic, I know. 😉
Yippee! Let the adventure continue in San Francisco, California.... home sweet home! 😊
Bye bye China!
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