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Neil Yaun prides himself on knowing a little about everything, despite no formal college education. He is self-educated, with a love of Chinese culture focused on their history and traditions. Growing disillusioned with the direction America is taking and his negative experiences with American women he is seeking a new path in China. He plans to teach English in China. This blog is about the journey to China and all the pitfalls along the way.
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There and Back Again part 1: The Return    

By Neil Yaun
2733 Views | 2 Comments | 5/15/2013 3:14:07 PM

Definitely not a hobbits tale.

Last September I decided to travel back home to visit my family in America. Home sickness was wearing on me and I knew it was time to get some air from life in China. I wasn’t tired of China nor had China lost its shine in my eyes, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about living here is that eventually you have to take a holiday from your day to day life, just like you would no matter where you live. I’d been here for two years and it was time to get back and see my friends and family who I knew missed me a lot.

I was excited about getting to enjoy some of the creature comforts that come with being back home. I love Chinese food and the foreign restaurants in Guangzhou are great but there were some things that I just can’t find here, like a big heaping plate of good old American barbecue, one of the highlights of western culture. I’d say as far as foods that I miss since I’ve been in China, that would have to be the one I miss the most, because most of the time I’d just head out to the backyard and break out the grill and cook up my own culinary masterpieces.

Another thing that I was looking forward to was to sleep in a nice soft American bed. I admit I’ve gotten use to the rock I call a bed but I was itching to lay down on something that didn’t make my back creak and groan like an old wooden ship. These were just a few of the things on my wish list for when I got back home. I was also hoping to find my friends doing better than when I came to China. With the economy in the toilet I was afraid about that part of the trip. The trip back home would prove that my fear was quite founded.

I was going to be gone for three weeks, which was going to be a strain for Windy as up until this point I hadn’t spent longer than a few days away from her. It didn’t help that some of her family and friends kept whispering that “he might not come back.” After I put her fears to rest I prepared for my trip by picking up some Chinese gifts for my friends, which consisted of moon cakes and baijiu. If you want to give your family back home a taste of China nothing says China like the kick in the mouth moon cake gives with its egg yolk at the center or the lovely hangover that baijiu leaves as a testament of Chinese fortitude.

After the grueling twenty-three hour flight I was picked up at the airport back home by my two friends N and L. I finally got to meet N’s new boyfriend who turned out to be the fly in the ointment on my trip but more about that later. I was wired after getting back and was starving after trying to avoid most of the airline food on the trip, so my friends took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant. I used to go to this place at least once a week and I always had the same waitress. It was no different this time, and I got to share a bit about where I’d been for two years.

She had a hard time believing I’d been living in China. The look on her face said that I was crazy and then when I convinced her it was true, she gave me a pitied look like I was a POW returning from being held prisoner for two years. I assured her that my life in China was not what she thought it was and then at the end of the meal I gave her a nice tip, which felt extremely weird since I hadn’t tipped in all the time I’ve been in China. She really enjoyed my extra treat for her. A nice crisp wu mao that she immediately began showing to her co-workers.

Her reaction was a definite indicator it was going to be a long trip, because even though I had some great China stories to share with everyone. The thought of having to explain away everything that people in America see on television about China was not something I really wanted to have to do on my vacation.

My first week there was mixed in emotions. On one hand I was happy to see familiar faces, but many things I saw were much worse than I had imagined. The town had changed a lot and not in a good way. There were so many businesses closed that I had frequented when I lived there. It seemed that the stories I’d read in the news were misleading because they had said the economy was looking better, but from my first glimpse of my home I was feeling a pit in my stomach that made me feel like I was going to regret leaving my beautiful Chinese girl back in China.


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(Showing 1 to 2 of 2) 1
#2013-05-19 12:40:24 by destiny1 @destiny1

希望听听你的故事,祝你幸福快乐!

#2013-05-20 03:42:39 by AloneWithoutYou @AloneWithoutYou

Looking forward to this series. Thanks.

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