I'm here! A good six months later than I expected, in spring time instead of fall, with a different visa than I expected, but I'm here.
It all still seems a bit surreal. China is so familiar, yet the village I am living in is so much smaller and has a different feel. I am living in an apartment (complete with 6 floors of stairs) instead of a first floor dorm room. I have 3 roommates and the other volunteers are farther away than down the hall. Packing was different. A lot less wondering if I would need something and a lot more , yes, I need to bring deodorant, and no, I can buy shampoo and body wash there.
At the same time all it took was walking through the airport (actually all it really took was waiting for my flights surrounded by Chinese people) to feel familiar. The familiar look and feel of the money, crisp hundreds and well used ones. A trip to the grocery store to see my favorite snacks and knowing which shampoo to buy even though I can't read a word on the bottle. Laughing with my roommates over cucumbers and mutton sticks.
So, I've arrived. Arrived in the country that has stolen my heart and so ready to see how it further captures it this time.