I never thought I’d love you this much.
The faces of your people will forever be etched in my mind. Their smiles, the dreams veiled by their narrow eyes, the laughter, the rapid talk, the longing for connection, hidden behind the intricate nuances of culture and heritage.
I am fascinated, and at times, heart-broken by you. I have seen your wealthy, and I have seen your orphans. I have seen their beauty, and I have seen their brokenness. They make my heart leap. They make my heart ache.
I used to see you from a distance, and all I heard about you were news of fake food and escalator accidents. Territorial wars and stock leaps and crashes. Now, I am where you are, and I see you.
I’m beginning to notice your little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I’m beginning to see past the facade. Yet what I see is still the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to you. You are complicated, and I find myself fascinated by you.
Fascinated by your colorful history and culture. By your reputation. By your grandiosity. But mostly, by your people.
I love your people.
Growing up, I never thought I would. I think it was all because of how Chinese people are portrayed in media back home. Elite. Noses upturned. Wealthy. I developed a wariness towards the Chinese, but I came here and I discovered that your people are… people. Warm, friendly, hospitable… with hopes, dreams and such great aspirations.
Their smiles, their stories, their friendship will always be a part of who I am. They have left an indelible mark on me, one I would have for the rest of my life.
Take care of your people, China. They are your treasure. They beam with pride and puff their chests at the notion that they are yours.
I dream for you, China. I dream for your people. Thank you for some of the best memories I’ve ever had and many beautiful more yet to come.
I love you.