It’s still a shock when I realize that I will never live inside the stone front gate of East China Normal University or return to the spacious international dorms. Since I’m still living in the same time zone, all the friends I made in China are still online in their normal places. But already I miss the routine of life there.
No more daily weather texts every morning around 7:15.
No more daily Bible verse texts ever day around 1:15 in the afternoon.
No more 120 megabytes of cellphone data a month for less than 4 US dollars.
No more hand-wrapped dumplings for 6 kuai just steps from my dorm.
No more beautiful, tree-lined campus with motorcycles and cars driving through and delivery men distributing loads of packages by the science building.
No more inexpensive bus and subway rides, but then no more being squashed into a bus past capacity.
No more sliding around freely in a taxi backseat without a seatbelt.
No more cheap imitation goods or bargaining deals.
No more people overjoyed that I bought pizza rather than rice porridge from them.
No more weekly hangouts with good friends there.
However, I won’t miss having to log onto NYU’s VPN every time I want to access my blog or facebook. I won’t miss being able to cross the street without fear of a motorcycle or car suddenly zooming at me out of nowhere. I won’t miss having to worry about food safety or quality in fruit, milk and meat. I won’t miss having to think twice about discussing religion.
But all these I think I could live with.
Having grown up in New York, it’s hard to imagine that I lived in Shanghai for more than four months. But thanks to NYU and the warmth of the friends I made in Shanghai, this semester has impacted my life forever. These few months in China have shown me that I will very likely be returning soon.