Reply To: Discovering where home is in Shanghai

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We’ve been away from Shanghai for two weeks.  And have now come home.

It is the first time we have ever referred to Shanghai as home.

It’s something I wasn’t entirely sure would ever happen.

It wasn’t that we desperately missed China — lounging on white sandy beaches, spending hours in the sea, exploring rock pools, riding elephants, and eating terrific Thai curries after days-end cocktails beside the water are wonderful ways to while away a fortnight.

But when it was time for the holiday to end, we all were quite happy to board the plane back to China, our home.

It is a grand adjustment.

Instead of mentally comparing holiday beaches to Australian beaches, foreign wildlife to Australian wildlife and holiday prices to Australian prices, all of a sudden we found ourselves inadvertently thinking in Chinese comparisons.

I caught myself comparing fresh spring rolls with the ones my Ayi taught me to make.

Matching fabrics and tailoring prices with what I could get at Lu Jiabang Lu.

And, while I heard other tourists complaining about odd smells wafting from street alleys and drains, I found myself smiling as my nostrils transported me back to the streets of Jing’an.

I am probably most amazed that it has only taken six months to be able to call China our home.

It is a feeling that has snuck up on us all. Even my three-year-old daughter who has spent six months expressing her homesickness in strident, though amusing, ways such as refusing to eat anything but Australian food, ‘‘like spaghetti,’’ and trying to each the Ayi to speak Australian, said she was happy to be home.

It’s been an upheaval for us all.  But now we are home. And after a short break, it feels surprisingly right.

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