I mostly draw on the 15-hour flight to China and–figuring the others can’t hear me over the hum of the plane anyways–sing loudly to J. Cole. After a few hours, I grow antsy and talk to some strangers in the plane gallery while eating crackers. I end up befriending a cool guy named Arthur: he’s from Shanghai, raised 2 generations of hamsters (!!!), and plays drums and Yugioh.
The plane lands; China feels smoggy and warm and familiar.
We go through customs, I say bye to my plane friends and we walk past faceless strangers until I spot Jiu Jiu (my Uncle). He’s holding up his silvery camera and recording the whole thing. Note: we share the same obsessive need to document every aspect of our lives. Then I see Jiu Ma (my Aunt) and give her a hug. We take group photos with her pink selfie stick and walk to their car. I keep thinking to myself: I’m home, I’m home, I’m home.
I feel exhilarated and exhausted and, happiness pumping through my tired little veins, pass out in the car. Apparently we get lost on our way to Jiang Yin—I wake up to snippets of them yelling about the unbelievable traffic in Shanghai. “Four hours! It was only supposed to take three—” Then I listen to Hypnotized by The Notorious B.I.G (for some reason I screenshot it) and drift off to sleep again.
When I finally wake up, it’s eight and dark and we’re just about home. Jiu Jiu takes us to the local noodle place, one of the many pocket sized walk-in restaurants lining the street, and we eat dinner.