So we hugged goodbye, my friends and I. I wanted to spend more time with them of course but another part of me was satisfied with seeing them. I was only in Guangzhou for two days, the province where I grew up. I was only able to see two of my old friends there, Finn and Luke. Finn got his name from Starwars and I’m pretty sure Luke did too. I really didn’t expect just seeing the two, they still had school when I went there and I thought I’d be able to catch a bunch of them all together. But every time I go back my friends are getting less and less and more foreign, they all either moved away or transferred to the international department. They all grew up, and I couldn’t really remember any of them, I tried to. It sort of told me how everything was moving on and it wasn’t like what it was when I was growing up there, not at all. My friends have moved on, the culture too. The world will revolve without you. It made me miss the old times, a lot, but I couldn’t see any of it.
I mean it really changed a whole lot. The area I grew up in. I completely didn’t know where I was when I first got there, it scared me. All those tall buildings shooting up in the sky, “that wasn’t there when I was here!” A constant phrase that keeps barging into my head. I mean there was this huge and breathtaking wonderland right downstairs from all the surrounding apartments. I mean literally a wonderland. This whole block filled with restaurants and shops and right in the middle of it there’s this huge playground just for kids. It was enormous, scary big. There are even people that drive around in mini trains picking up people and dropping them off, it’s a wonderland. Despite all it’s glorious, all my childhood shops were destroyed. Nothing in that town was the same as before. Shops I used to go with Finn every day to buy toys and video games, completely gone. I didn’t know what to feel about all those changes, how could I? I don’t live there anymore…
I got in town in the afternoon around 4:30. I went straight to the school and every time the security guard is nice enough to let me roam free in school, so creds to them. My school was having a talent show or a show for the new years. They don’t celebrate Christmas so they still had school. I thought the show was funny as they all tried to sing in English, I’m sorry but they really couldn’t. They even sang City of Stars from La La Land. It simply amazed me by how much the kids in China these days are so hooked on American cultures; not just American, Korean and Japanese too, where are the Chinese culture? Kids wearing Supreme, Riot Society, Gucci, Bape, Anti-Social Social Club on their hoodies. Girls wearing tons of makeup, like a crap ton of makeup and would never ever take a picture without one of those filters that make their eyes super big and the jaw smaller, you’ll never see a picture of just plain themselves. Eh, I don’t know, kind of disgusted me.
I met up with Finn and Luke for a short time only and then they both left. Finn went back to his house to get some rest and Luke when with his girlfriend. I was alone again. I didn’t know what to do so I went to the nearest Starbucks there. Let me just say NYC drivers are nothing compared to Chinese drivers, it’s like NYC in a crowded subway but instead, with people it’s cars. I don’t know how anyone doesn’t get into an accident. But I got into Starbucks safely and ordered a drink, 36 RMB for a grande mocha frappuccino. I guess if you convert that into US dollars it’d add up but it’s the number that just bothers me. There was free wifi though. I sat there for a while, trying to take part of it in, but I think I was rejecting it a little bit. It was nothing like my home honestly.
Luke came first and greeted me in Starbucks and it was quite awkward I guess. I wanted to talk to him about so much but he wasn’t really into it. Maybe it’s the time that has been so long that we didn’t know what to talk about anymore. But we still talked, I asked him about all the other classmates back then and each one was moved away, transferred, lost contact, or got kicked out because of the grades. Finn came later and we went out to eat. We went to this hot pot place and I didn’t feel the food but I just wanted to spend some time with them. It got less awkward and more fun. We talked about what friends talk about, love life, grades, future decisions. This was sort of the wake-up call for me as for how I’m growing older. Luke and Finn both kind of live on their own now as their parents are never home and they sleep in the school sometimes. It’s crazy how much they study, they go to school 6 days a week and Sunday is the day for all homework. How do they live? Then I asked Finn what he wants to do in the future and he says he completely has no idea, then what is all his hard work studying for? I guess he still has time to think about it.
We ate, we laughed, we talked. Time went by again, again and again. We then said our goodbyes. Another one that I had to in such short period of time. This trip back to China, was it really about seeing my family and friends again, or was it saying a proper farewell?