Saturday, August 2, 2014

our moving castle, part 5

made it in two pieces
Final Sunday, callooh callay! Following breakfast of noodles, we set off for Zhejiang University on bicycles. I had in mind a pleasantly-paced roll through a pedestrian-free park. Oi oi, it was not pleasant--it was fantastic! Helmet-less, we were! I received repeated visions of my head getting clunked. The key to biking in China is to keep up with the herd: ya lag, ya splat. Takes more than a bit of gumption to wedge oneself between two moving buses, or to weave diagonally across an intersection. But as we pedaled on, I felt the qualms fly past, and we merged into the commuting rhythms of the city. Three more heads in the infinite crowd.
The road leading up to the university is called Qiu Shi Lu, or "Search for Truth Street." Veritas indeed. Green cobbles outshone Hillhouse, and great peachy Tower of Power (Mao's statue) oversaw all. Toured S's mom's old dorm building (she was in 105, we poked into 108), met boy playing computer game. Slept four in white mosquito nets, with beer n' cigarettes. Basketball court outside, steps where boys squat and rate girls.
Hurrah! More biking! Right outside our final destination, I somehow fell off the bike without knocking it over. In fact, it stood proudly on the curb, kickstand out. Within seconds, it seems, S was at my side, and I howled like Timmy does for his milk bottle. Ochochoch. At least I didn't hit my head (Samuel hit it for me later).
At lunch, there were gold-leaf pork segments and candied ginseng and insect-root soup and marbled nuts, scrumptious as they were sumptuous. Poor Orio had a stomach bug and threw up thrice, once in a moving taxi. Had to roll down the window. At home, all slept. I finished my re-submission of Evelyn Waugh paper and did stretches, awaiting Last Supper. Samuel delivered Will Smith home to the Flowers and Fish Market by himself, and brought him home in papier-mâché.
Bunny come back to me -V. Hudgens
We all sat there, at the oval table (Ariel lay facedown on the couch). Lake critters: turtle, oyster, crayfish, eels, edged by plates of green and white veggies. No rice tonight, except for the Small One, who sat upon his High Chair. S toasted with his Watsons water bottle, one for each grandparent. Sometime in the conversation, when prodded, I made feeble Chinglish toasts of my own. Very inarticulate and weird, but meant as truth.
Doorbell, Shun Shun. He showed us his sketch and text books, wondrous things. Control of fine lines. I poured the remainder of my Costco chocolates on him and wished a Happy Easter (subtle attempt to proselytize). Hope he likes.
An almost-FaceTime with Nai Nai, and voila! The time came for our last date. Not so many words here--just know that it was the best date I've had (this one outdoes all other aforementioned "best dates" on our the moving castle... maybe), with the best one I've known. Have I a better word than best? No, because it is only with the best... that I choose to build my nest! Bliss, bliss, sublime as a kiss, pale pink and lotus-colored from beginning to end, 7:45 to 10. It cost quite a bit (...that Idahoan ice cream...), but for once we had pocket-change to burn, not pages to turn. I held my Samuel in the starlit trees and drank life to the lees. (Journal entry concludes with doodles of macarons, a sweet-almond teapot, and Samuel's ears.)
Last word: I always feel that the trip ends when we pack to leave--by then, our hearts are at home again. On this trip, I felt the warmth of a family: in the chilled gray skies of Qingdao, in the green of Hangzhou. This warmth doesn't end when our moving castle lands at SFO, though. It grows through tomorrow and all time. I studied the history of Samuel Liu, and fitted the frames of the puzzle.
Good night, China, from two January pigs.


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