“If you want to take America with you then you need to stay here.”
My husband and I were preparing to leave, as our host calmly spoke those words. I remember my shock. I wanted to ask him to elaborate, but I knew that my heart would then be revealed. In that moment I was guilty of doing just that. Leading up to that very moment, we had been preparing in detail just how much of what we then called home could come with us to Yinchuan.
I do not share this to say come with nothing from home. I say this because part of embracing your new home is learning to love the things that are surrounding it, and I almost missed out on beginning to understand and love our new home because I was so focused on my old one.
If I had brought more from America, my husband and I would have missed out on finding the little curtain store whose store owner helped transform our living room. We would have missed out on finding the beautiful hand painted banner that has become the centerpiece of our living room, and along with that banner, we would have missed out on sitting in that art shop for hours sipping tea as we heard the story behind our new centerpiece.
You see, as we have searched for new things for our home, we have learned about the morning markets, the random art shops, and the random rugs that are sold on the side of the street. We have found the cutest house slippers that make you feel like a child again, and we have found ourselves understanding a few random words as we hear our new neighbors on the streets around us. Though these things may seem small, with each of these moments this new city has in fact become our home.