15. Favorite city?
Well, before I went to China this would have been a pretty easy one—New York (though San Francisco is definitely growing on me…but I must explore it more before I feel comfortable enough to call it a favorite). After my trip, though, I have to say that I’ve fallen completely in love with the big cities over there, and after wandering around Xi’an at night and experiencing the more local culture: I think it’s definitely up there. But like for SF, I would have to go and stay a bit longer in order to really solidify that statement (orrrr I just want an excuse to go back).
Anyway, being all for travel equality and whatnot, I have to say that each city undeniably has its own charm. I feel blessed to have been able to travel so many places in the United States, and for the small selection of foreign destinations I’ve also been to. Hoping to, in the near future, exponentially increase the number of countries I can say I have visited, but in the meantime…good ol’ Berkeley is doing the trick for me :).
Just some thoughts…
It’s been a week since my flight out of San Francisco and into Shanghai. It feels like I’ve only been in China for a day, time is passing so fast.
In Beijing as of today (technically yesterday now, I guess?) and it’s been rainy the whole time. I’ve fallen in love with the misty, foggy weather, though it hasn’t been that long, nor will it last…something really ethereal about exploring this unknown, huge city in less than perfect conditions. I have decided that every leisure trip I take from now on needs tight scheduling per my personality, yes, but also time to just wander around and see what local life is like. Thankful my parents are a mix of passive and gung-ho.
Yesterday and the day before was spent in rural Xi’an, where my dad grew up. It was sobering. Placing a real visual to the stories he always tells my brother and I was unreal. I know that a large number of ABCs have similar farming/poor family backgrounds, but I really can’t believe the conditions my father was raised in, and how far he’s come. I have the most amazing dad in the world…and I can finally begin to sympathize, still can’t even start to empathize, with everything he’s gone through.
Most candid, though, was meeting my grandfather and just dad’s side in general for the first time. Too much to say about this, but I guess I can mention that my ye-ye has the cutest eyes. I wish mine were as smiley as his. And my cousins are really the sweetest, hard-working kids. YB is a year older than my brother and is practically an older brother, and YY is the age of my seniors from this past year, which acted as a jarring but intriguing comparison. Despite language barriers (all right, I know my Chinese is horrible, but the Shaanxi dialect is something entirely different), I still felt what Cory Booker calls the “conspiracy of love” (have I mentioned anything about his commencement speech for Stanford this year, yet? Awe-inspiring, even for cynics).
I need to go to sleep though, so just a few more things…