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Snow brings out the mischievous, the happy, not only in America, but in China as well.  I watch my students, giddy from the first snow–whipping iceballs at each other as they walk out of class.  During break they huddle by the windows to watch it fall. I join them.S now eases all troublesome emotions.  It quiets the air, and the wet smell covers that of coal dust and vinegar.  And the snow does not stop the constant need to set off fireworks.  Outside my classroom, sparks sizzle the white flakes and grey morning into color.We romp through the forest of flakes like children.  the snow falls heavy and straight, but occasioinally a small gust will support them in the air for a few moments longer and they will linger, twisting and turning until they find their gravity. I empathize…

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Libraries across the world smell like home. Leading me through the stacks, Taylor takes the role of teacher for a while,–timidly, humbly, quiet. She has a hitch in her step, and her walk sounds uneven down the cold, concrete isles. I search for English books, only to find that the “foreign” section is closed on weekends. Taylor proudly shows me the psychology books, architecture, chemistry. We stop a while in the art section and she mentions a few famous calligraphers, opening to weathered pages with their respective work. I’m starting to grow accustomed to life here. Though China is not the adventure I intended, it is becoming routine, a place I can say I lived. It will never be home, but it will be familiar.

December 2009
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