Unexpected Oasis

I had been to Beijing in 2012 and had an idea of what to expect from Shanghai from friends, but I knew nothing about Xiamen. I was pleasantly surprised.

I loved how much of a water town Xiamen was and how aesthetically everything was placed along the water. The riverfront had a lot of businesses that were clearly entrepreneurial-focused, meant to make the city more global.

My favorite business-related part of the trip was when we stumbled on an Italian eatery across the street from our hotel. The food and service were very good, but it was only the next day that the story was revealed completely.

When we went back for lunch, the owner was sitting at a table with his associates. Not only was he a visual artist and a restaurant owner, but he said that he had come to Xiamen for Teach for America and had never left. Being born in the states, a mental disability made him feel disconnected from American culture. He found a home by which he could rebuild in Xiamen and crafted a life around his talents.

That experience made me feel to a large degree that the world is more condensed than we think and that where we feel at home is essentially a choice.