They woke me up for breakfast, a veritable feast of leftovers. I think they’re still going to be eating jiaozi for a few days, which means they won’t forget me right away!
Xiao Zhang went to work but Xiao Li and I went back to sleep in her bed (and by bed, I mean floor). We didn’t get up until after 9, which was such a ridiculous hour for her that she kept bringing it up all day long. We went for a walk through town, buying ingredients and other things along the way. I bought a pair of split-bottom pants for some friends who are expecting a baby, and a super-hot pair of pink Louis Vuitton leggings. You know you want some!
We had a big lunch, our last together, then they took turns sitting and talking with me. I got a picture of Xiao Zhang wearing the TU shirt we gave him two years ago!
At 2, Mob Boss and his wife came to pick me up. We made a stop to get my train ticket (which they insisted on buying) and then they took me to the bus stop. We got there at 2:14 and the bus left at 2:15, but I refused to leave until I got one last picture:
Then I was on a bus headed to Yanji. It was just like last Friday – only the exact opposite. The power plant was the last familiar thing I saw, and I hated to watch it recede behind me. The trees still pointed relentlessly, but now they were pointing in the same direction as I was traveling, urging me onward and homeward. Even my mood was the opposite – no longer excited, maybe a little melancholy.
But I couldn’t be too sad. I had such an amazing trip, that even its inevitable conclusion can’t ruin my happiness. I was worried, before coming, that maybe I had planned to stay too long, that maybe everyone wouldn’t be as excited to see me as I was to see them. That did not turn out to be the case, though! I’m glad that I seemed to make my friends as happy as they made me.
They say you can’t go home, but apparently you can in China. See, I’ve decided that, while I have grown up in Fujian, I was born here in 东北 (the northeast).
After a two-hour bus ride, I arrived in Yanji. Yanji is the nearest big city to Hunchun, the closest place to find an airport, university, or McDonald’s. It’s also the capital of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and is even more Korean than Hunchun. I have some friends in Yanji, so I took a taxi to their place where I got to catch up with them.
Daryl and Brenda are great people to sit down and talk with. Their life is a crazy story, and one that they tell well. I heard about their oldest daughter’s adventures learning to drive a stick in China. They described Forrest, their Chinese friend who learned to speak English from watching Forrest Gump over and over. We talked about the cultural obstacles to Christianity found in Chinese and Korean cultures. They told me about the trials of designing an American-style apartment in China. Daryl, fluent in Korean but still a toddler in Chinese, showed me how he avoids taxi drivers’ questions by pretending to talk on the phone in Chinese:
“Wei? Nihao . . . . eng, eng . . . haode . . . eng, eng, eng . . . nage, nage . . . dui, dui, dui! dui, haode . . . eng, haode, haode, baibai!”
Hilarious – and spot on!
They took me to Gina’s Place, a Western restaurant, for dinner. I had garlic bread, chicken quesadillas, and cheese cake, all of it heavenly. Then, all too quickly, it was time for me to go. I had a 9:30 train to Jilin, and made it just in time to get on board, find my berth, and fall asleep.