Zai jian, China!
Today the kids and I leave for Seattle. Permanently and prematurely. This isn't the ending to the China experience that I had planned. Or wanted. Or dreamed of for myself and the kids when we set out on August 17th.
However hard this ending has been, here are all the things I am most proud of...
- Our attitude! I am so proud of my kids and myself for having such a positive attitude about moving to another country. Another country whose language we don't speak or understand. There were some rough patches--like people making fun of us or staring at the kids for being mixed race. Strange, unfamiliar things often appeared on our plates or unwanted at our table. But we made our way through it all...and mostly with big smiles.
- Our created communities! The kids made so many good friends in China...as did I. The people here--both locals and expats--have been nothing but wonderful and welcoming and so incredibly interesting. I am personally thankful for all the good people who have taken care of us--from Stacey and Richard (Seattle buds) to Emily Minor (wonderful blogger) to Yucca to my college BFF Shelli to my neighbors Barbara and Pam to Zhang Shifu and Sue Ayi. To new friends like Meg and John who remembered a story I was telling them weeks ago about a real Chinese cutting board...and then sourced one for me!!!! I am especially grateful to awesome kids with enormous heroic hearts who befriended my kiddos: Sophie, Martha, Olivia, Colleen, Matthew, Orion, and Mason.
- Our sense of adventure! We might not have known more than a handful of words to start, but the kids and I ventured all around Shanghai together--from ancient water towns to city parks to neighborhoods. We ordered local food at dives. We negotiated like pros at underground markets. We rode the subway. Heck, we rode camels on the sand dunes in the outermost reaches of China!
We leave China with our heads high. Our hearts full of love for all the good people who have surrounded us with care. And our minds ready for our next adventure.