我想西安, Missing Xi’an

Though life has provided ample content to write over the past five months, I do not have the willpower to so publicly “bare it all.” However, writing can not be a mere hobby as I pursue a career in publishing, and what better way to announce my return to blogging with a new WordPress template and a proclamation: I miss Xi’an.

In the last year or so in Xi’an, I longed for home. Those tables have turned now and it is Xi’an I miss. The sights, tastes, and even smells taunt me, attempting to entice me to return. There are a handful of people I miss, and I have not made good on promises to stay in touch.

I am working on rectifying that, trying to schedule Skype dates and find ways to keep Xi’an in our lives.

One of those ways is telling anyone willing enough to listen to anecdotes about teaching, living, and working in Xi’an. Coworkers go great lengths, particularly when they ask me to teach them Chinese words. Some of the words I taught them, and I left many out because they are not very blog appropriate : 星巴克,咖啡,咖啡豆,摩卡,欢迎观临。(如果你知道任何一个,我给你点赞!) They also let me vent or ramble on about nonsense.

I have had countless exchanges where I likely come off combative, because, so far, most people in the US are grossly misinformed regarding China. I am tired of answering stereotypical questions related to censorship, graft, corruption, and even my intercultural marriage. These have subsided, though, thanks in part to bantering with coworkers, friends, and family.

As for coming to terms with missing the sights, tastes, and smells of Xi’an, ZJ cooks when he can, and a local Chinese restaurant somewhat satiates me. ZJ and I ventured to Xi’an Famous Foods in NYC months ago, but left dissatisfied. Weeks later ZJ made his own 肉夹馍, bread and all its pulled pork-like goodness. He has since made 稀饭,很多种菜和米饭,炒豆腐,炒饭,菠菜臊子面,饺子,油泼面。

We rang in the Chinese New Year at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Edison, an hour away. ZJ invited a few coworkers and my best friend and her boyfriend joined us. Little Sheep is a chain from China that I do not recall if we dined at or not, but they had a location at 小寨 I passed on my way downtown.

A less obvious way I deal with missing Xi’an is to use Timehop, an app that combs through past social media posts and desktop photos, and then gives you the option to repost the content as memories on various social media. Timehop has not only breathed new life into my social media accounts, but given me a window back into that world.

How do you stay connected? 

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10 thoughts on “我想西安, Missing Xi’an

  1. Susan Blumberg-Kason says:

    Congratulations on your new blog! I know what you mean about missing China once you’ve left. It took me years to feel comfortable being back in the U.S., although I still miss my time in Asia. I know that will always be a part of my life. So writing a book helped bring that part of my life to the present in the U.S. Going to movies, restaurants, exhibits; hanging out with friends who lived in Asia; taking trips back (it took me 14 years to return, but better late than never); and staying in touch with friends “back home” all help me stay connected. Social media is also great for that. I wish we lived closer to each other so we could reminisce together!

  2. CrazyChineseFamily says:

    Actually I stay barely in contact with my old life in Finland where I lived for eight years. There is nothing really I miss at all right now except the easiness when it comes to deal with the bureaucracy compared to Germany. As we have no real Asian restaurant here compared to Finland my wife comes up with all new ideas to make food for us such as the bread and pulled pork 🙂

      • CrazyChineseFamily says:

        She can make a few but Xi’an has just too much to offer! The thing about restaurants is always that they have to adapt to the taste of the people around, so for example each Chinese restaurant I have been to in different countries have totaly different flavours, and not so much what you are used to in China. In Finland few restaurants had special “Chinese menus” in Chinese which was usually pretty damn good and close to what I experienced in China

  3. Jocelyn Eikenburg says:

    Hey Marissa, I totally feel you. You should have seen me when I returned to the US. I felt exactly the same way as you, and longed for China a LOT. No restaurants in the US could ever really satisfy those cravings. I definitely got sick of the same questions about China and the general misinformation.

    I would say it does get better…well, maybe not the restaurants and the food part (it’s super-hard to find anything authentic in the US pretty much everywhere) but you learn to adapt. And if you’re lucky enough to have someone who cooks, chances are your home will become the best Chinese restaurant you’ll ever find in the US. 🙂

    • maklu001 says:

      Jocelyn, it’s refreshing to open up WordPress and once again see comments, particularly from you and Susan. ZJ jokes that I miss Chinese cuisine more, and yes ZJ certainly knows his way around the kitchen! Lucky me 🙂

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