Halfway There

Posted by Courtney Chang on 4/24/2017

As I stared at the calendar and counted all the days we’ve been here, I realized that we have already stayed in Beijing for almost 2 months! 

My family planned to visit me in Beijing for my 19th birthday. They arrived at the Beijing Airport on March 10th, Friday. Beginning of that week, I didn’t have much thought about them coming. On the day that they were arriving, I did not go to school and got ready to go pick them up at the airport. As I was packing and getting ready to meet them, my heart started pounding. I could not focus, and I was all excited. Carrying my backpack and a huge bouquet of flowers, I dragged my gray suitcase that was bigger than my entire body all the way from my house to the airport. I roamed around the airport, looking for my family. When I spotted my dad’s blue jacket, I dropped everything and ran to him to hug him tightly. As he let me go, I took one look at my mom’s face, and I just started crying. I guess I missed her way more than I thought I did.

After refreshing up at the hotel, I led my family the same way that I walk everyday. I showed them my school, the streets I walk, and the steps that I take. It felt both weird and good to have them with me in China. We made our way to APM on Wangfujing to have dinner with my host mom and host sister. I was worried that since my host mom does not speak English and my parents don’t speak Chinese that we wouldn’t be able to communicate. I was afraid that my inability to translate would make dinner awkward; however, we all had a great time. My parents were thrilled to meet and thank my host mom for taking such good care of me. I was able to understand almost everything my host mom was saying, so I was able to translate to Korean/English to my parents. We talked about anything and everything. Our conversation started with me living in Beijing and how thankful my family is, and it somehow ended with famous Chinese stars and how good they look. My host mom explained a lot about Beijing, and my family was fascinated. The language barrier that I worried about was broken down in a heartbeat. I was extremely happy that my family and my host family were able to meet and enjoy themselves.

While we were touring, I was responsible for getting tickets, buying stuff, asking for information and way more. My parents were very impressed with my Chinese skills, and so was I. Being with my family who does not speak any Chinese, it forced me to be more responsible. Thankfully and surprisingly, I was able to communicate in Chinese correctly during their stay. When we were buying tickets at Badaliang, part of the Great Wall, there were so many people screaming, talking though microphones, and everything was chaotic. Despite all the noises, I was able to get information, buy the right number of tickets, buy the right tickets, and get special discounted prices without asking the lady to repeat what she said or speak English and use body language.

It felt like a dream, spending my days in Beijing with my family. When I had to leave them at the airport to go back to my host family’s house, I left with a heavy heart. I already missed the comfort of being with my family. As I slowly made my way into my host family’s house, my host mom sees me and says “我在等你!” (I was waiting for you) and runs to the kitchen to bring me food and a really pretty cake. Upon seeing her beaming face, I realized, I don’t have just one family now; I have two.