As many of you are aware, I am wrapping up my time in China in less than a week. As I walk through the places I have haunted for the past two years, I am bombarded with memories of the things I love (and sometimes hate) the most about my life in China.
I love the feel of the streets around my apartment complex on a warm summer evening, the vibrancy of the people wandering through the market or examining goods hawked on the side of the road or stopping to drink Qingdao beer and enjoy shaokao at the street side barbecues that pop up all over the place in the summer. I love the dancing nainai’s in the guangchang, and I can sometimes even laugh at the kid squatting to pee over a drain or in the middle of the sidewalk.
I love walking through my market and choosing my own fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables. I love asking my meat vendor for a jin of pork, which she promptly hacks off the hunk of meat dangling from a hook on the ceiling. I love that there are goat’s in a van that give you the freshest milk possible.
I love the silly grins of my kids as we sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider for the thousandth time, and for the thousandth time it’s still hysterical.
I love riding Bus 230 on a clear, smog free day, rounding the curve that connects Heilongjiangzhong Lu to Haier Lu, and gazing at the jagged majesty of Fushan.
I love practicing my Chinese with taxi drivers and people on the street who are endlessly curious about me and where I come from.
I love sitting in Pacific Coffee at Damuzhi on a sunny afternoon, sipping my meishi kafei and reading a book.
I love being able to meet up with good friends after work, trying food from all over the world, walking on the beach, or any of the ridiculous things we do. I love the freedom of jumping on a bus or into a taxi whenever I want to go somewhere.
I love coming home in the evening and muddling through a conversation about life in Chinese with my roommate Fang Fang, cultivating a friendship that has been so meaningful to me despite the language and cultural barriers.
I love the fellowship I attend every Sunday, the amazing people I’ve met, and the community and support I’ve received there under the banner of Christ.
I love how much I’ve grown in the last two years, from learning how to cook healthily, to learning how to deal with disappointment, to learning that “have you eaten yet?” is a form of greeting in Chinese, not an actual question.
I am so thankful that I have been able to experience the things I have, to immerse myself in a new culture (as much as a foreigner can), to learn a new, complex, and amazing language, and to gain friends from all over the world.
As I prepare to leave Qingdao, I’m struck with a sense of nostalgia and loss, but also excitement for the future, because I know God provides for me wherever I go.
Don’t worry, this is not the end, as my friend Tamsyn and I will be backpacking Thailand and Cambodia for five weeks! I hope to update my blog as often as possible. Till next time!