When I was home this summer, everything was strangely familiar. It was a comforting feeling. No wonder a place is a called “home” for a reason. My parents’ house is pretty much the same, my friends are just the same, the streets look the same as I last saw them. The first time I left for China, I was heartbroken to leave my New York. My one and only home, I was so sad to leave it, and even made a list of things to do and see before I left. As I learned during my visit last summer, almost everything is still there, and I was reassured of that again this time.
So although I only had a few short weeks at home, I was not as afraid or sad as I was the first time. Especially since this time, I said goodbye to Suzhou, a place I will probably never live in again, but I know that New York is a place I can and will always return to.
I had always been eager to spend time working and living in China. I was sad to learn that Suzhou wasn’t the kind of place I was looking for. But what I was sad to leave behind were some incredible friendships and relationships there. Right now, I am facing another new adventure, I think of it as China: Chapter II. I am now living in Guangzhou. In a short time, I feel much more connected to Guangzhou than I ever felt in Suzhou. Maybe it’s the fact that my father’s family is from here, maybe it’s the fact that I know the dialect (Cantonese), maybe it’s the warmer Southern culture. I don’t know. In Guangzhou, I’m happy to wander the city, go to a nearby museum, hike up a mountain, go to a pretty impressive import store, or meander through Chinese medicine markets.
I feel at home. Whatever the reason for that feeling is, I’ll gladly add Guangzhou to the exclusive list that New York is on: Places I Call Home.
There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
– The Beatles’ “In My Life”