I wonder when Paul Theroux wrote, "Riding the Iron Rooster" (that describes a year of traveling by mainly steam trains in the China of the Eighties) whether he could have, even in his wildest dreams, imagined the bullet train that now runs from Shanghai to Beijing.
My favorite place to visit growing up in Nanjing was Zhong Shan Ling (home of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum). Every year my parents prepared snacks and took us by bike or on the bus to this special place. We would climb up all the steps to Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s tomb, marvel at the exceptional architecture, take in the amazing views of the city below, and have a picnic in the shade of a tree. Dr. Sun Yat-sen is the founding father of modern China and his resting place in Zhong Shan Ling has made a lasting impression on many Chinese people’s hearts.
A lot has changed in China since I first went there in 1994. My last trip was in 2007, and many people, including my wife, Yafei, have been telling me that much of China is unrecognizable as so much has changed. It’s hard to imagine this, but these changes hit home during the first week of the girls’ trip to Nanjing. Yafei enrolled our daughter, Xaria, into a local kindergarten and the vast contrast between now and then was plain to see.
My goals for taking Xaria to China include letting her see my homeland and the area where I grew-up, expose her to Chinese culture first-hand and let her experience a preschool to further improve her Chinese language skills and have the opportunity for plenty of interaction with children of her own age. At the beginning of our second week in Nanjing, Xaria started going to kindergarten.
After what seems like an age of planning and preparation, and with more of the same on the horizon, our family travels have begun. Well, it has for the girls. Yafei, Xaria, and Yafei's parents left for China on October 2nd, for an eight-week visit to Nanjing and the surrounding area.