Five years ago, not quite to the day, I was posing for this picture. We arrived at the Waiban in early September, after a week in Beijing and Xi’an. Chengdu, Sichuan — our home for three months. Living and teaching at the Sichuan Normal University.
It’s hard to believe it was five years ago… The fall my late stepmom was diagnosed with the cancer that would later take her life… The fall my amazing niece was born. I came in damaged. I returned damaged. But for those three months… those three months I had an escape. And it was beautiful and different. Exactly what I needed.
Beyond Sichuan Da Xue becoming home, China became home. And this morning, with the cool fall air blowing in, over my steaming bowl of rice, washing over my face. For a few brief seconds, I was home.
*That crooked old man in the front row, in the yellow shirt. That’s Frank Huang. A poet and translator. I still have a copy of ‘Dream of a Red Mansion’, a book he translated.