Xi'an is incredibly special to me - birthplace, eternal hometown, the best food I’ll ever eat in my life. Maybe it’s because my parents have so many roots there, but Xi'an always makes me feel like anything is within reach as long as I want it. This time, family friends took us up to their vacation house in the surrounding mountains for a day of natural hot springs and tea tasting, where I got to spend the afternoon rolling around in the sun and playing with their ridiculously adorable puppy (aptly named 可乐 ♡).
Every so often I’ll wonder how my life would’ve turned out if my dad had decided to stay in China after finishing his graduate degree instead of accepting the research offer in Texas. I think indisputably my quality of life was higher growing up in the States compared to the mainland (based on air quality and the public education system alone), though it’s hard to judge on outcomes; almost all of my parents’ friends sent their kids abroad to the U.S. or Europe for university, so chances are I probably would’ve ended up over here at some point anyway. I can tell sometimes my dad regrets leaving, even if the thought process had been simple enough; he emigrated in 1991, two years after the Tiananmen Square protests. Who knew China would blossom into such a stable economic powerhouse in 20 short years.