Long time since last post, I know. But this is what happens when you're too cheap to buy a VPN and you're stuck behind the Great Firewall of China (unlike those stupid Mongorians!).
So... we're back! We'll buy a VPN once we head back to China February 2011, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying basking in the glory of the freedom of information back here in America (notice my little Youtube link up there? Not to be taken lightly anymore, friends!).
We flew into LAX about two weeks ago and stayed down in southern California for the week for a friend's wedding, then flew up to SFO on Monday. Do we miss China? Hmm... not yet! But I have to say there are some aspects that I certainly do miss. So here we go, Little Fish's top five things I miss about China after being away for less than two weeks:
1) Public transportation. Do you know this face? It's not constipation. It's not gas from gorging on Mexican food after being away for a year (although that did happen).
2) My students. I know, it sounds crazy, but I really do miss my students. God was so good to me this semester and gave me the most amazing batch of students a teacher could ask for. They're the absolute best, and I know I'll miss them forever.
3) Joohee & Joosun. Joohee & Joosun are my friends' kids who live in Beijing. Over the last few semesters, we've gotten really close and I miss these two little rascals so much. Even though their mom and dad tell me that I'm going to be a great mom someday, I have to say that I love being Auntie Grace to them and I'd hate to give it up any time soon. This is one of my favorite videos of Joohee demonstrating how to use a hula hoop.
4) My apartment. Sure, the paint was cracking and coming off the walls. My TV only played three channels that used English. And my sofa was just my spare bed stuck in the living room. The internet connection sucked and my kitchen was just a closet with two gas burners in it. But after living there for two years, it is a little strange knowing that I won't be back. After all, there were some good times had in that little apartment of mine.
Like this time, when Jason fell asleep on my sofa and I went a little nuts pwning him with some black make up that I don't use anymore.
Maybe I took it a little too far...
This is Christmas dinner 2009. I made it all in my tiny 2-burner kitchen and it was pretty tasty!
This is a throwback to the first student party I had in my tiny place. We baked cookies and made paper snowflakes and paper chains to celebrate Christmas. It was very successful, as evidenced by the huge mess that was left behind.
5) Enjoying the simple pleasures. Back in the comforts of the USA, little things like getting a fresh cup of coffee at McDonald's, finding a decent pair of shoes, cold soda or beer, baking fresh bread, or finding a good movie on TV just don't hold the same value that they do in China. Of course, it's all a matter of perspective, and making sure to not get jaded by the amazing privilege we experience here is going to be a daily struggle. But the changing mentality that I've gained is something that I hope I will never take for granted.
I have to admit that it was a struggle for me to come up with five measly things that I miss about China, but I'm sure this list will grow over time.
'Til then, here I go to have brunch with some of my most favorite people in the world!