A Visit to Kashgar (or, “When a visit home isn’t a visit home”)

I was so excited about returning to Kashgar, to see old friends, yet knowing that it wasn’t going to be the same. It had been three years since we lived there, and two whole years since anyone had lived in our apartment. But it was still a bit of a shock to walk into our old apartment on campus to see the thick coating of dust that covered everything, boxes and rice bags that were full of other teachers’ belongings piled high in our living room, furniture placed helter-skelter to make room for the boxes, familiar items in unfamiliar locations…these were all signs that this place, the site of so many wonderful memories, was truly no longer our home.

(Our former living room, filled with items to ship)

And yet, even this was a blessing. Because of this feeling of no longer belonging to this place, it was not as difficult to sell or give away all of our furniture and many other smaller items that we just didn’t have room for in our apartment in Xi’an. Yes, it was certainly a goodbye, but not as difficult as I had imagined.

Hmm…maybe that means I really have made the mental move to Xi’an.

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