I am using Knox’s Chinese name for this post. It seems appropriate. We kept it legally as part of his name, but this
We are in Nanjing with another family from the United States. They are a fabulous family, and we have loved getting to know them. We went out for the day sightseeing Nanjing with them and our guide, Denise.
Nanjing is a modern city with a rich history. Some of this history is filled with violence and war. It was hard to imagine 300,000 people were murdered in this city during the second World War. The city is surrounded by a wall, that didn’t always succeed in keeping the enemy out. It is worth reading about if you are interested!
We started out on a bus, and Denise pointed out the sights as we drove. We got the kids McDonald’s ice cream at a park as we walked and chatted as best we could with the local people. For me, the people in China as a whole can feel overwhelming. It is crowded, and loud. But one on one, I have had the best interactions. One man came up to tell us that he personally loves Americans and thinks we are some of the best people in the world. That was so kind of him, and felt good to hear, given the negativity we experience in our country lately. Others just smile and shake our hands so sweetly.
A mom came up to us with her little boy and spoke to us for a bit while her son showed us his best “dog” impersonation. A crowd quickly gathered around us, and Chase asked me if she was famous. I told him that I was pretty sure we were the famous ones in this gathering.
We have been so amazed at how active the retired community is in China. They dance, play games, walk, eat, sing, and socialize outdoors with each other. One man spends his whole day writing Chinese poetry in water down the sidewalk. As he creates his artwork he listens to soft music. What a calming way to spend the day.
We learned how to fly tiny kites, dance, and play a tennis ball game all in two hours at this park. The local people were happy to include us in their day. Sometimes Denise would have to translate to them why we had a little Chinese boy with us. We were then told thank you, and Knox was usually given some instructions from the adults that only he could understand. He is shy, so usually he said nothing in return.
We ended the day with local shopping and took a rickshaw ride around the town. I felt a bit too conspicuous at this point, and was glad when it was over. Hundreds of people lined up to take our photo and watch us parade by. Sometimes the stares feel like too much.
Nanjing is charming, and I was happy to have been able to see where Knox was from. We went back and packed up for our flight to Guangzhou. I had torn feelings about Knox leaving his city. But the only direction we can go is forward. Now we finalize the paperwork on the US side and wait for his visa. He is thrilled to fly on an airplane and keeps asking when we are flying home.