I walk into our old neighbourhood to get my bike out of the bike park where it’s been stored the last eight months, and DÃ â€‹niÃ¡ngâ€‹ is sitting outside our old stairwell just like she always does. The Chinese gourd vines she’s planted cover the entrance and reach up to the third floor. She doesn’t recognize me until I smile and wave.
“Oh, it’s you! You’ve come back!”
“Yeah, we’ve come back!”
“Ha, at first I didn’t recognize you; you have a beard now, and also foreigners all look the same.”
“Yeah, I know, we’re all chÃ buduÅ…
Ah, Tianjin. It’s good to be back.