The Last Night

Well, here we are. The last night in Changsha.

It’s something I’ve always known would happen, obviously, and admittedly some days I yearned and yearned for this day to come. Compared to many, I actually didn’t get too homesick during my stay here, and sometimes actually had the opposite–California was the last place I wanted to be. Five months ago, I was on a plane headed towards Beijing..and in less than 48 hours I’ll be on a plane to San Francisco. Tomorrow morning I fly to Beijing, then the next morning I fly back to SF. Honestly it’s pretty crazy for me to believe.. yes, I’m packed now, I’ve said most of my goodbyes.. but it’s still incomprehensible. I feel so at home here. My host family has turned into as much of a real one as my parents in the US. My friends here, though I’ve only known them five months…I really feel like it’s been my whole life. And in a way, it life in China. Maybe my whole life was leading up to this, my first fifteen years were only the first chapter in the story of my life. I thought “so much” had happened to me in my life, and then I came here. And I began.

I’ve grown so much as a person through this experience. I barely recognize the girl I was when I first came here.. sure, a lot of me is the same I suppose but honestly I feel like a completely different person. I’m a person I love. I finally feel confident about myself and who I am..

Today it snowed a lot (it started yesterday) and it was so so beautiful. My mom woke me up just to see the snow falling outside my window, Sabrina’s school blanketed in white. The whole city looked really pretty..though it made transportation take longer and my feet cold, I loved it. And this is saying something, because usually I really don’t like snow at all. Ahh I don’t know if I can even put my transformation and just how I feel into words..

What I Learned in China: what love is, how to restrain myself, what I can and cannot stand, how to communicate without language, who my friends are, what Chinese culture is, how to wear two layers and never be cold, how to make instant noodles taste better, how to sprint one hundred meters, why respect is important, what America is like, what Chinese people dress like, how to haggle, when to speak, which kinds of people that will change and which kinds that won’t, how to eat really spicy food, what it feels like to move, how to survive while being illiterate, not to complain, live in the moment, how to let go, the virtue of indifference, the way in which jealousy taints relationships, how to wash my face, the plot of Gossip Girl, why I’m thankful I was born in the US, ways in which living in the US is a disadvantage, what it’s like to be around drunk people, that who I always wanted to be isn’t all that different from who I already am.

I hope I never forget the way I feel right now.


8 thoughts on “The Last Night”

  1. Dear Miranda – Great post. Glad you loved your time in China. Hopefully you’ll get to visit there again someday. It will be glad to have you back home. Hope to see you soon. Annette

  2. Annette Lai shared this post tonight on facebook. I’ve known your father thru radio for many years. I remember when you were BORN!
    Your words show wisdom beyond your years and remind me so much of my time in Japan/China/Europe when I was your age. I don’t even know you but I am so glad to read your words.. these 5 months will stay with you forever and will completely rule how you view the world from now on. Somehow I know that you will always quietly give thanks for the opportunity to experience what you have just lived and know that you are one of the few lucky ones who now know: To truly be a patriotic citizen of the US, you gotta get out and see the rest of the world as they see us. The word “patriotic” takes on a whole new “upside down” meaning now, doesn’t it? Good on you!!

  3. Love your cmments and love the way you express yourself. I am so happy you were able to have such a wonderful experience at only 15.

  4. Mary Lee, Carol and I have been reading your blog posts. It’s been wonderful to be able to keep up with you on your journey. Thank you for making that possible. We’re looking forward to seeing you when you get home.
    Aunt Mary Beth, Mary Lee and Carol

  5. Hi Miranda:

    Your Grandma forwarded what you wrote on your blog and I’m impressed.
    You seem like a good writer; and what a wonderful experience to be able to have at your age. Welcome home!

  6. Being 80% Chinese and 20% American, I completely understand what you meant by “what I learned in China”. I am utterly impressed by the depth of your writing and touched by the sentiment. In a few months, your life in China may seem like one in the distant past – some details will have faded in your memory. But I am sure when you read this again, the essence of your experience – what really has impacted you, will come back to you, fresh.

    I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for completing this journey and maturing so beautifully.

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