It’s hard in some ways to believe but today is our one-year anniversary of arriving in China, our China-versary. (Joanna, for the record, counts both an Asia-versary as well as a China-versary. She’s one of those people who do those sorts of things. You know who you are.)
Just a year ago, we were flying with a terrified cat into Tianjin, where we were welcomed to China by Mr. Dou, the Wall Street Journal driver, and taken to our apartment in Beijing, where I immediately locked the poor cat into the bathroom. Good times.
It’s been a year of adventure – biking off bridges in Vietnam, hiking the Great Wall more times than we can count, and eating dim sum in Hong Kong, Kobe beef in Japan, goat cheese in Yunnan, and enough Peking duck in Beijing to fill a lake of quacking ducks, just not Donald, Joanna’s temporarily adopted pet.
I’ve met incredible characters – a doe-eyed bull named Optimus Prime, a 93-year-old dynamo named Eleanor who shows me around Beijing, a poet who made me think about postmodernism and surviving the Cultural Revolution in a new way, the sexy leader of an Italian designer clothing company, the skater Apollo Ohno, and my sweet Leah, the baby born here who lifts my spirits every moment I’m around her.
|Me, Eleanor, and Karla at Tuesday Trotters|
We’ve celebrated birthdays at Maison Boulard, made deconstructed ravioli for Chinese guests, entertained some of our best friends in the world who were brave enough to take on China, had Thanksgiving, Passover, a Yom Kippur break-fast, and a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras dinner. I belong to a book club, a bowling league, the Beijing International Dragonboat team, the Tuesday Trotters, the Friday Morning Group, and the International Newcomers Network, not to mention the Australia New Zealand Association, membership in which allowed me to dance on the Wall. (And yes, this is starting to sound like my Roll Call farewell email, so I’ll keep in mind that not everyone enjoys the cataloging.)
I’ve flown that long flight home three times already, each time falling in love anew with America as I remember what is wonderful about our country. But I’ve also finally become a Beijing-ren, happy to be here, happy to see where the next adventure might lead.