In the first 20 years of my life in China, I had never spent more than two hours in a Buddhist temple. Yet, after five years in the US, one of the first things I wanted to do upon returning was to do an immerse myself in a monastery. The rise of Buddhism in the West has ignited my curiosity about this ancient practice. I wanted to take a closer look.
As I walked in the bustling train station amidst droves of people, a mixed feeling of both familiarity and unfamiliarity arose. Part of my senses became alive at the sound of the local dialects, and the other part just wanted to retreat into the serenity of the redwoods.
Despite the initial waves of counter-cultural shocks, I have been re-grounding myself in the Chinese soil. I reconnected with some high school friends, traveled to a few places, and even spent a week in a Buddhist monastery. My once neglected mother tongue got brushed up again. My tastebuds rejoiced in the heartwarming Chinese food. Even my upper respiratory system is staying strong in the smog (knock on wood).
Being away for five years means that both China and I have missed witnessing each other’s growth. Among all the changes I’ve noticed so far, three things stood out to me: