During the 11 months that I was in China, the only people that I saw from before that year were my parents, the family friends that came over to adopt a son, and a high school classmate. In the year since I’ve been back, the only people that I’ve seen from my year abroad are those same people – my parents, the family friends, the classmate – plus ONE friend from China!
A few weeks ago, while I was visiting college friends in Tulsa, I got a call from an unidentified number. It took me a few seconds to figure out who was on the other end – Lester! He was in San Francisco, visiting family, and made plans to visit me in Minnesota once I got back home.
He flew in to MSP on Sunday afternoon. I picked him up, apologizing for the horrible weather we were having. Minnesota summers are usually so nice, but when we walked out of the air-conditioned airport our glasses fogged up! Flashbacks of Xiamen . . . Lester said that the weather was fine because it was just like the Philippines, but after several days of it I doubt he’ll ever believe that Minnesota summers are as nice as we say.
He had a hankering for IHOP (a tradition from his first trip to the US), so I treated him to greasy breakfast food for dinner the first night.
The next day, I took Lester to the Mall of America. It’s kind of the best thing we have in Minnesota, and a must-see on the tourist itinerary. I was pretty proud, but then Lester mentioned that the Philippines has the Mall of Asia. And it’s apparently bigger than the Mall of America.
The good news is, apparently the Mall of America is better. I mean, we have Lego Land! Lester was a big fan.
Plus I introduced him to the wonders of mall food courts, Wisconsin cheese, souvenir penny smashers, and Love Sacs!
In the evening, once it got cooler, we biked over to the Coon Rapids Dam, where the Mississippi River passes through. It was a beautiful night on bikes!
It was so good to see him again. We relived approximately every memory of our time together in China – dancing, being in the hospital, etc. Man, that year was great. Can’t wait for my next visitor!