On our first morning back, Jiu Jiu takes us to see a Buddhist temple atop a nearby mountain.
We pass by strays, wandering babies and people criss-crossing the dusty streets. The area’s a little messy–there also don’t seem to be any hard and fast traffic rules–so it can be a bit of a challenge to maneuver around, especially in a metropolitan place brimming with drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians all sharing the same roads.
For breakfast we eat noodles, this time at a slightly larger restaurant. Like yesterday’s noodle place, it’s a walk-in restaurant tucked beneath the apartment-styled homes.
Grandma comes over in the morning, and around 11:30 we hustle on over to her place to eat lunch. Even though she lives in the complex next to ours, her home is vastly different from Jiu Jiu and Jiu Ma’s. It’s simpler, less ornate, and not as modern as Jiu Ma’s hardwood-decked home: the walls are unpainted, the floors are made of concrete, and most of the furnishings are wooden and unadorned.
We go back to Jiu Jiu’s house. I lop off five inches of hair in the bathroom for no particular reason (other than that it’s bothering me). For the next few hours I scurry around the house waiting for time to pass.
In the evening and after dinner, I join the rest of my family as they chat in Jiu Jiu’s room. Their faces are lit by the dim light of Jiu Jiu’s lamp, and harsh shadows are cast over their faces as they talk about Serious Adult Matters. I skip around with my camera. Stacked on his desk and organized by year are small rectangular picture books that he and my ma used to read as children.
Around six or seven the jet lag kicks in, my body remembers that I’d woken up at 5, and I doze off to sleep.