Hey friends! I write to you from my old stompin' grounds in Shiyan, Hubei, China. You've arrived at the blogspot of Hubei Harm.
I'm enjoying five days in the place I called home for a year in 2004-2005. It has been a blast to be back in Shiyan. The days have been very full. The reunions have been sweet, the Chinese food aaaamazing and in abundance, the staring intense, the hairwashes still cheap and so beautiful, the streets dirty as before (you know you're back in the real China when you blow your nose and the kleenex is black), and the culture- fun as ever.
I've had lots of pretty great hugs from old friends. Memories have flooded back quickly and in many ways it feels like my year in Shiyan was just yesterday. At the same time, there are many changes here. Some of my best buds have gone to find work in other cities, my very young freshman students are now halfway graduated and the campus has had a major facelift. Where once I ran on gravel, there is a fancy track, the dirty shortcuts are now covered in paved steps, and where there was once a mountain, there is now a new assembly hall. Nobody lives on the rooftop, which was home for me. And my favorite hairwashing salon is gone, as well as my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
The trip here was worth it when I saw the first of two of my closest friends in Wuhan. So much joy, more than I imagined. It was worth it all over again when I walked up the main road in campus, and started waving at an old student. Her jaw dropped, and she just started pointing at me, like I was a ghost. Seriously. Then she started towards me, saying, "Is it...is it...is it...is it the REAL Harmony?!" She tugged on my skin to make sure. No lies. Ohhhh, that was funny. The next girl I ran into was so shocked that said nothing at all, just stared. The next ran squealing and then crying! Another told me that my skin was much more "loose". Translation: you are not as plump as before. Yes, it has been a lot of fun!
Yesterday I tracked down one of my very favorite little Chinese girls. I ended up playing hide and go seek with five or six of them, and I tried to teach them red light/green light, but the whole language thing got in the way and I promised them I would return with a Chinese friend.
The fruit man, an old friend, has had a baby.
There are new foreigners that have been fun to meet and get to know, and there are new Family members in the Gang. You know you love the return of the Ahem, Capital Letters.
On Saturday I went hiking with a group of new friends, as well as a few from days goneby. They said we were going to "the park", but we ended up doing some serious mountain hiking. I am not as nimble as the young folk, but I had a lovely time.
Today I had my pants hemmed for forty cents, ate an amazing lunch for a dollar, tore it up on the bumper cars and fed my craving for DVD shopping- Chinese style.
Okay, that's all for tonight. I'm jumping on the bandwagon with the whole Prison Break thing. I bought the first season today...yikes, that Schofield is a fine looking fellow. And the show is
good, too. :)
Good night from Shiyan!