Today is my one year anniversary of leaving China. I miss it more than I ever thought I would and some days, I dream up little scenarios that would take me back. The last two years have been strange ones for me. One spent in the middle of nowhere China, never sure quite what was going on around me. The next, readjusting to life post-China, never quite sure what was going on inside me.
So, in honor of China and Kaifeng, the city where I lived, here are some pictures. These are the images that pop into my head when I think of China.
Old men and women with fantastically wrinkled faces, sitting and waiting in alleys.
La Mian – pulled noodles. Most of my dreams about returning to China revolve around this fantasy: return to Kaifeng and find a noodle master who will take me as an apprentice. There, I will perfect the act of pulling noodles (it apparently takes 12 years to really master the skill) and perfect my Chinese.
At every table in restaurants and night markets you’ll find spice troughs. All the salt, MSG and spice you could desire to flavor your noodle bowls.
Said noodle bowl. I dream of these noodle bowls. Bowls full of spicy, meaty broth, fresh cilantro and noodles.
Streets in China.
This picture is really awful, my apologies. But if you want to know how we spent most of our afternoons and nights, this is it, right here. Max and I would get on our bikes, put the boombox in my basket and bike to different parts of the city, listening to music. There really is nothing like biking through the chaos of Chinese streets while listening to Kanye West or Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.”
I can’t even tell you how much I love this picture. If you want to know what it’s like to be a foreigner, a laowai, in China, just look at this picture. Note the Chinglish shirt Max is wearing. The ridiculous Beijing 2008 stickers. The nationalism. (This was right after Max and I, along with two other friends and my parents who were visiting, all got roped in to be the token laowais in an Olympic promotion video.)
Wo ai ni, Kaifeng. (I love you, Kaifeng.)
For a few more pictures, check out my flickrrrrr.