Tomorrow night, Craig and I are going to China. Just a weekend trip into Foshan and Guangzhou, but it is a fairly momentous thing for me, since it will be the first time I've gone back since I left in January 2006. Aside from John and Teresa (who live here), I haven't seen any of my friends there since that time, though we've kept in touch through all this time.
There is a fair amount of emotion in going back for me. I went to China a week after I turned 18, and it was my first time out of Australia. I was placed in a small town between the large cities of Foshan and Guangzhou and for the first few weeks, it seemed like the worst decision I'd ever made. About 3 weeks in, something just clicked, and that little town suddenly became home. Even though I've had a pretty awesome time since I left China, I always wanted to go back.
I am going to take Craig to the town I lived in, and show him around a bit. My little town is no doubt a lot bigger and has a lot more shops than it used to. To be fair, this is likely to be an improvement, but if it has a McDonalds or KFC I won't be all that impressed. I will be glad to see old sights though, and I really hope some of the old local restaurants are still around. In particular, "Orange Tables" (so named for the orange tablecloths), because they were very nice, put up with our miserable Chinese, and the food was amazing. Fingers crossed.
Shopping is also big on the agenda, because the markets in Guangzhou contain things other than copy handbags and copy watches. There's a large jade and jewellery market where the stall holders aren't constantly trying to rip you off. I'm told the prices are generally cheaper too.
China posts to come next week!