Saturday, June 26, 2010

LA and Shanghai

I just arrived back in San Salvador after a two-week whirlwind trip to Los Angeles and Shanghai. Honestly, I had been a bit antsy to get back, because I don't like to be on the road constantly, but I was ridiculously sad to say goodbye to my parents in Shanghai nonetheless. The older they get, the more heavy-hearted I feel when I leave them after each visit. (My mom especially misses me when I'm gone...) Unfortunately, for financial reasons, I see my parents at most once a year. ...Maybe some day things would change and I would live at a closer proximity to my parents, but until that happens, visits home are almost as difficult as not being at home, because my mom counts the days until I would have to leave again. :(


Anyway, en route to China, I was able to see and quickly catch up with some high school friends (Cat, Helen, Danna, and Jenny) and to visit my sister, my cousins, and my grandma in Los Angeles! My short stay in LA was busy and fabulous. Since I only go back to LA once every couple of years, it was so good to hear how everyone's life is moving and changing ever-so-rapidly. I miss my California girls and my sister already... Seeing them and missing them made me reflect that we each pay a steep price for our wanderlust -- or any other life that we choose to live.

In Shanghai, I went with my parents to briefly check out the Expo 2010 (aka. World's Fair), for which the entire city of Shanghai had been transformed in preparation. But I also spent a good deal of time home with my parents, besides going out with my parents to eat and to go to the hospital. (--Long story, but I am on a two-month herbal medicine regimen until my "moisture diminishes", my "heat lowers", and the root cause of my recurrent infection is cured. It was actually my idea to try herbal medicine this time, because I had been sick for well over a month with a common recurrent infection, and Western antibiotics seemed to be of little help. I figured I've got nothing to lose in trying the alternative. Although, I had to ask my mom to sit and wait outside during my examination/consultation, and that was pretty awkward... But, really, I think it was definitely the lesser evil of the two possible awkward situations; she didn't even expect me to say that I am on birth-control pills, despite knowing that I'm 28 and that Geoff and I obviously live together!) At home, my parents and I watched a lot of TV, talked a lot, and I learned a lot about the history and attitudes of the mainland Chinese people. Consequently, I felt more connected with Shanghai than I had felt during my previous visit...

I also took some time in Shanghai to check out its swing scene! This was my second try at swing-dancing in Shanghai, because Geoff and I had gone two years ago to the only small bar that had hosted a weekly swing dance. This time around, the venues have changed and there were definitely more dancers. In fact, I got to meet various cool international folks who are currently living and working in Shanghai; they helped me to appreciate Shanghai as an increasingly international -- and metropolitan -- community. I had super fun dancing, and (even though I got a little out of breath) I was surprised to feel how quickly I was falling back into the rhythm of the music.

Now I am home! :) Am ready for some serious downtime before we head out again (to Peru, in mid-July). How funny is it that we always want to get away, and then as soon as we do, we start to miss home?

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