Day 15 : The Beginning - Zhonghai

On our whirlwind tour of goodbyes, we headed back to our old and first home in China. We walked old streets, thought a lot about how much different our China experience would have been if we would have stayed (it is SO much quieter and suburban-like, compared to where we live now), and did a lot of explaining to Eden and Zion. They remembered very little of this place.


There used to only be one option, this corner Hongqi (now we have a four right outside our gate), and it was almost midway from our home to the school. 

I used to buy a milk tea everyday on the way home from work.


This complex was, and is, beautiful. No cars allowed, overflowing with vegetation, and dozens of little trails and small parks. This is right inside the main gate, and turning left, we headed towards our first apartment.


The entrance to our first apartment building. We lived on the 7th floor, like we do now, but here we had an elevator.  Life was very different then.


A return to the scene, where Judah fell from the glass ledge, cutting his arm, and needing over a dozen stitches but getting only six, because we didn't go to the hospital but to a nearby friend. And they didn't have any Novocain.  His scare now tells a pretty fantastic story.


Down the road is one of our favorite parks. It hasn't changed much except for the trees - they are huge and, finally, provide the shade it so desperately lacked when we first lived here.


This is the park where our whole family, starting with Judah, contracted hand, foot, and mouth. I endured the worst, being knocked out for almost two weeks.  By far the worst I've ever experienced . . . not sure why we wanted to remember this place.


To many, this is just an ordinary intersection, but to us, it's pretty special and we ended up standing here for a few minutes, just reminiscing.

Following the gray van is the entrance to where many of our friends lived when we first moved here. Most notably, Bekah and Sarah who, over the next few years, would become Aunt Bekah and Aunt Sarah. This intersection holds a lot of beginning memories to China, and Josey's first flower shop.

Turning left, instead of following either van, is the ground floor of the apartments. Josey's favorite flower shop is still there.


The main drag of Zhonghai, and a typical China scene. 


Our favorite mode of transportation. 


Zoo Coffee was our first "Western" coffee shop in China, and one of my first places to sit and write. It's also the place where I learned to bring earphones into public settings because it became fairly common for Chinese parents to drop their kids off at my table so they could practice their English. At first it was cute, then it got annoying because I had lesson plans to write or memories to store.  

Sometimes, I didn't even play music in my headphones, I just wore them. And for the most part, the little tikes got the message.  For the most part.


I hate McDonals. Always have. But when the city doesn't really wake up till around 9am, the Golden Arches become essential to early mornings. This one means a lot to me because it was the place Travis Miller and I would meet on Friday mornings. Once, we were joined by a giant rat that climbed up on a nearby seat. Another morning, a HUGE pickup truck thought it best to ignore the entryway. It drove over the medium, through the grass and over a fairly large sign, then parked perfectly in a nearby parking spot. 

Travis and I sipped our coffee and carried on. 

I miss Travis and, for the first and possible only time in my life, I'll miss McDonalds. 

Eden and Judah, snuggled in a taxi . . . a perfect ending to the day.



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