On Christmas Day Andrew and I left Beijing for home leave. We flew to Hong Kong, and on to Auckland.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve I flew home to Beijing.
New Zealand is home in the sense that it is where I speak the language and know how to do most day-to-day things. Loving friends let us make our home with them when we are in town. Family members open their homes to us. We are loaned vehicles to drive, bikes to ride. We are loaned a New Zealand life.
Beijing is home in the sense that it is where our day-to-day life is. There are many day-to-day things we still don’t really know how to do. We cobble together our rudimentary Mandarin and lean into the goodwill of those we interact with (and the goodwill of those we phone for on-the-spot telephone translation). Beijing is where I have more than one pair of shoes and more than three t-shirts.
Where is home? And is that even a question that makes sense? I wouldn’t want to give up having home leave. I wouldn’t want to call this apartment anything less than home.