I'm hooome! And who would have thought that I'd title a blog post "Home Sweet Home" in reference to Beijing? Not I, my friends, not I, and yet, that is exactly what I've done.
I had an amazing time in Boracay. A really truly, wonderful, amazing time. But, as the end of my vacation was drawing nearer, I realized I was missing Beijing. Parts of it, at least. I wanted to sleep in my own bed and enjoy a shower with hard water pressure. I was missing my friends and wanted to hear their vacation stories. And I was missing the food: dumplings, rice, meat sticks, noodles.
Of course, I enjoyed laying on a beach, I made new friends, and I ate lots of delicious food in Boracay, but it's not home. And I realized Beijing is for me now. And that's good.
I'm ashamed to admit this, but when I got on the plane last night to travel from Manila to Beijing, I was not a happy camper. I was surrounded by people speaking Chinese (which can sound very harsh), people were pushy and not apologizing, and I knew we were headed towards (much) colder temperatures.
But then when we landed, a Chinese man helped me get my bag from the overhead bin. And the taxi driver turned the meter on and was friendly. And as we were on the highway driving towards our apartment, I sighed contentedly and thought, "I'm home."
As soon as we were dropped off, before we even went to the apartment, we tried to go to our "regular spot," a restaurant we call "No Pork Palace." It was closed, which shouldn't have surprised us; it was 1:30AM, after all.
Perhaps that made it all the much better when a group of us went for lunch today. We ordered so much food and laughed and talked and drank pear juice and exclaimed about how we had missed each other and No Pork and chopsticks.
I was SO happy to be there. And I think the people who own/work there were happy we were there, too. (Two of them are in the first picture, above. They actually came over to take our picture with their phone, so I decided we should have a group photo with them.)
Home sweet home.
P.S. While I was traveling home yesterday, I couldn't help but think of these "words for the weekend."
P.P.S. Yes, that is a photo of our bill and the total is 266 RMB. Which is $42 CAD. Which worked out to be $6 each. For 3 orders of vinegar peanuts, 40 meat sticks, 8 pieces of spicy bread, kung pao chicken, 2 orders of rice, 2 egg dishes, a meat and tofu dish, an order of beef, and a vegetable dish. I love China.
P.P.P.S. Expect lots of photos and details about Boracay soon!