After two and a half years in Hong Kong and Beijing, I moved back to the U.S. last week.
I’ll miss a lot about life in Beijing: the thrill of seeing my corner of this old Chinese city evolve at lightning speed; multitudes of men rocking hot pink shirts like they’re white button-downs; the total embrace of public napping; lovebirds in matching outfits; learning to think in another language; great friends; dragon boating in Houhai; Chinglish; the Chinese people’s bemused disregard for official rules; everything being possible and negotiable (see previous); and lastly, the expat penchant for partying any night of the week.
The husband and I flew to Toronto on an Air Canada flight packed with Chinese Canadian families. Immigrants in cultural flux, most of the parents spoke Cantonese or Mandarin while their kids gabbed in English. (Note to U.S. travelers to China: Air Canada has more leg room and better service than Continental. Wish I’d known about this about six transcontinental flights ago.)
In a sign of how far away we now were from China, that night we ate dinner — cheesesteak sandwich and iceberg lettuce salad — in a chain restaurant that had humongous moose and deer heads mounted on the walls. The next morning, we arrived in New York City.
And then, all of a sudden, it was over. Like a dream.