Flying into the new airport in Xining didn’t help us feel at home, but it is shiny and even has a western style toilet at the end of the row of squatties–so I’m sure we’ll get used to it in time. In stark contrast, though, were our feelings as we walked into the little one room place where we’ve eaten at least once a week since we first moved here. The kitchen in the back is separated from the dining room (where the kids are standing) by long, green plastic strips strung across the doorway.
The first week after we moved here, just over a year and a half ago, we ate at this restaurant nearly every day. The owners have known us longer than any other Chinese resident of our city and were kind to us from the first time we walked into their restaurant without even enough Chinese to order food! It’s cool how the things and the people that helped us establish any kind of routine at the beginning are the things and the people that can make us feel most at home today.
Of course the melt-in-your mouth lunch was everything we needed to feel back at home again, but the feeling I got when I saw the huge smiles on the mom’s and older daughter’s faces when we walked in verified that we were home… new airport and all.