There’s No Place Like Home

I’ve spent the better part of the last 30 days in Taipei and Beijing traveling and next week we’re headed to Xi’an for a quick weekend trip. The following week has Meixian in store just as get ready to pack our bags and head home. I couldn’t feel more appreciative for the experiences I’ve had thus far in China. Being able to see Chinese culture through the lenses of different regions other than Taiwan and the only Chinese house in South Milwaukee, WI has been eye opening and valuable. Despite my love for seeing new places, riding planes and trains, I couldn’t help but feel a true sense of home coming back to sweet old Yangpu Qu. Taiwan will always be my first home on this side of the international date line, but 28 Wudong Lu is a very close second.

Arriving back from the Hongqiao train station early Wednesday night last week, the first thing I wanted to do was walk the familiar route to Walmart and grab some dinner on the street. I’ve written other posts regarding my love for Taiwanese food and my great time in Beijing eating huoguo through freezing temperatures and fancy Beijing kaoya. I’ve talked about my appreciation for Taiwan’s beautiful scenery and Beijing’s relaxed lifestyle and calmer streets. However, nothing quite compares to that walk down Wudong Lu as you, as a pedestrian, merge with traffic among the cars to avoid the “pee corner” while also avoiding the garbage dump. You can always count on a small child relieving himself while his loving mother gives him cover from public and the old man who has reinterpreted the term “walking the dog” by literally holding his front paw. These aspects of daily life that had annoyed or surprised others and myself at the start of our trip have become that very thing: daily life. I know now to always keep half of my attention towards the ground to avoid dog’s poop and to keep my eye out for that one scooter that refuses to turn his headlights on at night.











I can’t help but compare our small slice of Shanghai to my hometown, Milwaukee. It’s the place no one wants to go for spring break. It’s just a big suburb of Chicago, or in our case, Pudong. No one would pick Wudong Lu as there first choice for a business and the food probably isn’t the best one can find. However, at the end of the day, we’re happy to be here. It’ll always have more culture and zest than Pudong. It’ll always be poorer, despite our concerted effort with Wujiaochang, but that’s okay. It’s okay because compared to the pristine city streets across the Bund, residents of Yangpu will always be connected on a deeper level; by the things we’ve learned to appreciate. It’s our home and I’ve learned to love the things I hate, to the point where I’m sure those, of all the great things I’ve encountered here, I’ll miss the most.

With that sentiment in mind, today marks the beginning of our final month in Shanghai and I feel a newfound yearning to explore new areas while also making sure to cherish my old favorites.