If you haven’t guessed, we’ve been shocked into silence. If our 10 months is China vaciliated between being exhilarating and exhausting, our first 12 days at home have encompassed the spectrum from fantasy to nightmare. Our last post announced the death of our good friend and neighbor. Since his accident last week we have been busy dealing with our grief and providing whatever support we can to his wife and small daughter.
One of the things that has surprised us is how much our relationship with Dave and his family played into our ideas of homecoming. We were in fairly regular contact with Dave and Lexi – discussing which preschool to send out children to (so as to be able to carpool), planning outdoor adventures, and receiving intermittent emails in which Dave shared funny Montpelier moments. While we are grateful for Lexi and her daughter, we will miss Dave’s energy, enthusiasm and many talents. He was, for all practical purposes, the neighborhood super.
Only in the last day or two have had my head together enough to think about China and all the friends we are missing. I find the distance painful. The kids are already speaking less Chinese every day, a fact I experience as a loss and I think the kids feel that way too. I encourage them to play with one another in Chinese and I participate when I can (frequently feigning comprehension – a skill I perfected over the last 10 months). I think it will help once we hang up some of the art we brought back and try to recreate some of the food we used to eat.
One thing that I know with certainty is that there is really nothing in our lives here that was like our lives there. I am overjoyed to be home while I am sorry to be gone from Guangzhou (and vice versa).