So sorry for my long long delays in writing. I have been home for two weeks now and I am finally feeling like myself once again. The last two months of school were very busy and full of things to do and people to see and so I didn't have much time for writing, but most of all I was so homesick that if I had tried to write (which I did a few times) it would have come out as sad and depressing and whiny and not how I want you to understand China from me.
But now....I can look back (after two weeks of recovery) and really reflect on the amazing experiences and life lessons I had. I still have so many stories to cover: Tianjin, Hong Kong, YingDe, FoShan...and that doesn't even include an introduction to all the friends I made second semester and all the other funny stories. Ahh...yay. I'm sorry for the long wait, but truly it will be better this way now that I am home and feeling so comfortable.
I love my bed. I love my house. I love the news on T.V. I love country radio. I have barely left my house since I have been home and barely talked to my friends or extended family. I just cook and clean and enjoy the quiet and the peacefulness and the rest.
During second semester I made a lot of lifelong friendships, and I met dear Thomas...bless his soul I don't know how I would have survived without him...This sem I went to a lot of my friends' houses and on the weekends and we had a joke because when I was there all those people would just feed me so much and I felt like a cow. They want to "feed me, make me fatter, and kill me." Hahahaha...Going abroad has made me realize how truly valuable food is. In every way, it impacts our lives. It's our culture, our health, our way of life all put into one. For the past two weeks I have felt at home and enjoyed all of the food...and it's been amazing! Spaghetti, and cookies, and steak, and hamburgers, and pancakes, and kettle chips, and popcorn, and milk, and apples, and omelets, and beef stew, and oh it's been wonderful. Second semester I missed American food so much that I ate about a loaf of banana bread from the bakery everyday. It was the only thing that tasted like home. I would eat other things but I just never felt the content home-fed feeling no matter how much I ate. When your homesick, even the best Chinese food just isn't the same. Thank the lord for finding Xinjiang noodles and a good chicken place with some friends, because they were the only other things that almost tasted "home".
Really, being homesick is the most difficult and most enlightening thing I have ever had to deal with. For one, because it is so isolated. When you are homesick nothing and no one can make it better. I could laugh and be incredibly happy and still feel it. It was deep like a river, and even now two weeks after I've been home I have barely left to go anywhere. I sit for a long time and look out at the yard. Every bird that flies by the window is my friend. I play with my dog and never get tired of it. I spend hours cleaning the house and organizing and familiarizing myself with everything. I listen to the radio and I love the news so much now. News, talk shows, radio...it feels so good to catch up on it all again...flipping through the t.v. and finding old Seinfeld reruns...heaven. Just knowing that my family is in the house is good.
I like to wander. I like to explore. But truly nothing in the world feels as good as coming back home.
The hardest thing about China has nothing to do with China, the hardest thing was not being home.