So it was a quick trip to the States; many apologies to those I didn’t have a chance to call.
My welcome back to China has been very China-like. Just today, for instance, I gestured to my ayi that I was running out to the store. She handed me an umbrella even though there wasn’t a cloud in the (polluted) skies. Odd, I thought. I guess it calls for rain.
As I walked down the sidewalk in my shorts and t-shirt, I realized she was trying to protect my not-so-porcelain skin from getting even browner. She wanted me to use a parasol. Totally sweet, especially when I feel the absence of a father who would have insisted I carry a flashlight in the dark and a high-pitched dog whistle on my runs when I was back home.
But since I was going to be carrying a load of kitty litter and other household goods, there was no way I was going to also balance an umbrella, just as I carried the flashlight in Athens but never turned it on.
Anyway, I grabbed some jian bing lunch outside the grocery, extra “la,” or spicy. Yummy. Now, where was the waste bin? Oh, there it was on the other side of the bike lane. I crossed over and tossed out my bag, and started to cross back over. Suddenly there was a loud beeeep and I came within a fraction of an inch of being mowed down by a guy on a scooter going the wrong way down the bike lane. He looked annoyed to have to swerve, and I found myself saying, “Sorry!”
These moments pretty much sum up the good and the bad of China. Give me a couple more days here and I’ll be sporting a parasol and looking both ways when I move in any direction at all.