Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Long hallways and unforeseen stairwells"

Brad and Yessi are in China.  A going home for Yessi.   Familiar streets.  Familiar rooms.  Familiar customs.  Familiar faces. Familiar food. Familiar language.  A journey of "long hallways and unforeseen stairwells" brought Yessi to the U.S., to Brad, to marriage, to Whidbey Island.  Yessi is no longer the person who left China two years ago, yet she is.  She is the same charming, adventurous and cheerful young woman, just deeper and richer.

Yessi with mom

Yessi with friends

Yessi with sister-in-law and nieces

Yessi with aunt and mom

 Yessi's nieces

This cutie pie was only a baby when Yessi left China.

Yessi, her friends and mom

With this trip to China, Yessi returns home, a married woman, with her husband, Brad.   Her birth country and the country of her new life are now intertwined.  Yessi can switch from speaking Chinese to English, and back again, in an instant.  The changes between the Chinese culture and the U.S. culture  are more complex.    Interactions with others in America, get tangled up with her Chinese upbringing.  Yet, her newly learned behaviors here, get mixed up with the expectations of her in China.  What an amazingly complex dual life for both Yessi and Brad.  They are walking a tight rope between two counties and two cultures, seeking a balance to honor and respect one another's roots, all the while  trying to understand the not so subtle differences.  Any marriage is an adjustment but intercultural marriage has to be the biggest challenge of all.  

Yessi & Brad in China

Yessi has been weaving and dancing the past two years in a foreign culture; now it's Brad's turn, but with Chinese language skills more limited than Yessi's English language skills.  He's enthusiastic about his approaching Chinese wedding and anxious to feel "at home" in China.   White and tall don't exactly nestle into the fabric of Chinese life, but he's there trying to do just that.

Brad playing with Elin in Xiamen

Brad meeting Yessi's friends

Xiamen Friend Play

Family dinner


“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.”

~Ann Patchett, What now?

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