Here we are, back in Shanghai again. Everything smells and feels so comfortable here, I used to think maybe it was because this was my home for 23 years before I stepped out of my comfort zone to the big wild world but I am not sure, since Michael is obviously falling in love with Shanghai as well. I don’t know why, if you take a walk on the streets of Shanghai, it’s chaotic and some of the back alleys are not that clean, but somehow it’s so attractive, within that dazzling craziness among pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, cars and buses, there’s this unbelievable organization and unspoken coordination, that every time you put your feet off the side walk, you are afraid of your life but somehow you always survive.
Traveling is hard, it doesn’t matter how many times you have done it, the only difference is that if you’ve got experience, the situations are less overwhelming, yet you still brace yourself before the long journey of a 20 hour trip, to be accurate, this flight via Air Canada is 24 hours from door to door. I am just thankful that we are here safe and sound and we can leave the discomfort behind. I am also thankful that my friends on both sides of the continents are so wonderful, Nora helped the night before packing and babysitting, she also got up at 3:45am baking plenty of croissants for us to take on the flight, chocolate ones were extraordinarily delicious when you stared at your food tray on the plane. I never get too sentimental when I say goodbye to people but at RDU, surprisingly I had to hold my tears when I said goodbye to Nora, even though I know our friendship will last for many years to come, no matter how often we see each other wherever we are. She’s one of the rare find, the very few people left on earth who just give all they have to help and love others unconditionally. Same with our other friends in North Carolina, David and Johanna, who came and hang out with us all the time, Welkin who often delivers her own delicious home-made healthy eats, and Joe who always has these deep conversations with us that are good food for our brains, and seeing Bonnie, our lovely companion cat throughout my most difficult years all the way to the birth of our boys, she lives so happily at Elissa and Herb’s house, playing outside and her fellow pets, and I am so happy for her, I also saw Elissa, who saved my life probably but seriously by taking me to her doctor for a necessary D&C last year, also Kathy and Bonny, who were truly my inspiration, of course there’s Dr. Gil, who we visited and had great spiritual connection again, without these friends, I really don’t know where and what we would be! I can’t list everyone we saw on this 2.5 months trip who filled our great escape with fun and excitement. I am we got the opportunities to see many of our friends, even though we do have our regrets like not seeing the twin club since we were afraid that the babies would catch the cold from a twin who will be at the gatherings but we did get to meet Ken and Zhenyan for the first time, along with their adorable 16-month old twin boys, who gave me great advice after the birth and left me lots of awesome winter clothing for Lin and Li. I really don’t have anything to complain, life is such a wonderful adventure but people you meet along the way are what make life so worthwhile to live.
Well we are happy here in China as well, Liang Xin and her husband came to the airport and picked us up, before the luggages left RDU, TSA checked one of our suitcases but left one zipper open, all they needed to do is to spend an extra minute to zip it again but they didn’t. So when it arrived Toronto, the security there taped up the suitcases so we couldn’t even recognize it when we got in Shanghai. Even though we skipped the long line, thanks to the boys, when we got in immigration control, we ended up spending one hour at the carousel waiting for all of our 6 pieces of luggages. Anyway, we were lucky to get home without too much of a struggle. When we arrived, my aunt already made dinner and the house was really clean, we all felt so good to be home.
Since we have only a few months left in Shanghai, our plan is to take the boys to all the places in Shanghai and really spend time to tour Shanghai and possibly some nearby cities, to visit friends and do some sightseeing. We also think we might fly to Hong Kong and Hainan Island if we have time. It was a wonderful trip back to the states, it was great seeing Michael’s family, Reohrs, Ellen, Tracy, and our friends in North Carolina, we really wish we could stay in Shanghai for at least another year but the radiation is still a big concern for us. What a shame!