Middle of last month, I took a trip back to my birth place with my mom and sister. We bought the tickets way back in October of 2018, by the time we got ready for the trip, it felt new.
For visits to China, I always make a list of things I want to eat rather than things I want to purchase or see. There are so many things I crave that just aren’t available even in the bustling New York. Some of these things include 小馄炖 (small wontons, which is usually a pork filling served in clear bone soup with scallion, cilantro, pickled vegetables and spicy oil for garnish), 鸭血粉丝汤 (glass noodles with duck blood and intestines, it sounds gross but it’s amazing) and surprisingly Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds (the quality of fried chicken at these chains are so much better than the states). Of course I can’t forget about bubble tea. The trends of boba is forever changing and China has so many other chains that are not available here. I tried my best to try at least one different chain of tea for each day I was there. There were a couple days where I had three different ones, but even then I was no where close to trying out all the well-known brands.
One of the trends when I visited this time was the popularization of ancient Chinese outfits (汉服). I’m not sure how, but from what I heard it’s due to the popularity of some online game. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun walking around Laomen East Pedestrian Street (老门东), one of the more popular destinations within Nanjing with ancient storefronts and structures. It was like living out my childhood dreams of being in a period drama.
Every time I visit, there are parts that I don’t recognize at all (this time was being able to order boba through a WeChat by scanning a QR code). But some things stayed the same despite how long I’ve been gone, the bus lines, the dialect, my elementary school, and my elementary school teachers…
Who knows when I will visit again, but no matter what it will feel like home, just like New York City.