24 Jan

After two months of strategic silence and subtle half-truths, my surprise visit back home proved to be an astounding success.

In China, Spring Festival is such a huge deal that the Powers That Be have decided that students should get A MONTH AND A HALF off of school. Naturally, teachers also get this mega-holiday. So with that much vacation time, and money burning holes in my pockets, I decided that an Epic Adventure needed to take places. And what Adventure is complete without a proper sending-off from one’s family?

The journey began last Saturday from Tianjin’s bus depot. There I caught the 2-hour bus to Beijing Capital Airport and met an American girl that looked like she was 15 but ended up being a super-genius studying chemical engineering at MIT. Looks can be deceiving.

A 1.5 hour delay, 12 hour flight, missed connection, overnight stay in Chicago at Double Tree for $62 instead of $220, and another two hour flight later, I stood in front of my parent’s house and rang the doorbell.

My mom opened the door and stared in confusion at my brother-in-law and me. “What are you doing here?!”

After a long pause, she covered her mouth and attack-hugged me. “KIIIIIIRSTEN!!!!”

Tears, sobbing, the works. Niagra Falls were streaming down her face. Had she just sniffed an onion? Does unexpectedly seeing my face push people to tears?

My dad was still in the house and had heard my voice. He was calm and composed… until I walked around the corner. As soon as he saw me, he started crying too! Either they were both rubbing jalapenos in their eyes, or they had just finished watching puppy suicide videos. It was madness. Glorious Madness.

Other highlights include:

  • Spending two of my last three nights in Tianjin out past 3am. The lack of sleep led to an impressive head cold, which has graciously awarded me with two ears so clogged I can barely hear.
  • I got a smartphone. My life is now consumed by staring at a tiny but beautiful screen.
  • My niece ate with a fork for the first time. You go, girl!
  • She also enjoys licking windows.
Window-licking good!

Window-licking good!

  • Legos are still fun. This began as a luxury resort, then turned into a flying pirate prison ship.


  • This is Rosie. She will be accompanying me on the rest of my adventures. Between Lucy my backpack and Rosie the Riveter, my party is full. No one can stand in our path!
We can do it!

We can do it!

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Travel, Uncategorized



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