This week, on Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #168, Tina from Travels and Trifles is our host and she’s chosen the theme of Seen Better Days and the first thing that flew to my mind was my trip to China in 2017.
2017 was the first time I visited my hometown in China in 12 years and it was the longest period I’ve stayed in China since I immigrated to the U.S. 16 years before – 4 months. My mom thought I needed a hiatus after finishing my second undergrad degree but instead of letting me decide where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, she decided I need to return to my hometown.
I felt disoriented during the first 24 hours as my hometown no longer looked like the place I left all those years ago. There was nothing familiar about this city. It was also disorienting in a way when someone visits a new country. Despite speaking the language, I barely read some of the road signs.
During my first week, my aunt decided to help me get once again oriented with my hometown. She took me on a tour from the elementary school I attended to all the old streets I used to roam as a kid. She even took me to a place I have never seen (or maybe I had but just don’t remember). She took me to my first home (the red brick building on the right).
“Really?” I said, “I lived here?” Honestly, it looked like a dump. I was surprised.
Thankfully, I seem to have the capability of adapting at the speed of lightning, and before long, I was navigating around the city like I’ve been living there for years instead of weeks. I began roaming the back roads like I used to and venturing on my own and trying a variety of food places.