Jiang Yin is beautiful (and for a million reasons).
There is a certain gritty you-do-your-own-thing feel to the streets of China. They’re often crowded; the markets always are. Sometimes people push and shove but after a while you get used to it. Babies roam—sometimes with a watchful guardian’s eye tailing them, but usually not. Strays, quite frankly, don’t give a shit. They trot and they stumble and play by the people, who pay them no notice.
Cigarette smoke lingers in the air: at home, in the streets, in the markets. There’s a “NO SMOKING” tacked on the entrance of the “grocery market” (if you’d call it that—it’s more like a giant meat cafeteria) The butchers smoke anyways. I watch as the butcher chops our meat, takes a drag and picks up the RMB another smoker slaps down. First I peer at the smoke wisps. Then I dodge them.
The past week has mostly been spent with le fam. Over the weekend, my cousin returned from a neighboring province where he’s been working. Grandma says I’m prettier and that my skin resembles Putin’s (Thanks, G-Ma). My Chinese listening skills have improved and I can better understand Ma, Uncle and Grandma rattling on in their dialect; I take to sitting and quietly absorbing their conversations. During the weekdays, when time seems to go by slower, I wander around the neighborhood. I photograph strangers. I take it all in.
China feels like home. Can you fall in love with “home” over and over and over again? I think you can and I do every time.