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Now that we’ve all changed into fully matured adults…

But really, these last 3 months have been more than words can describe. We each wrote a little something to our families about what you should expect from us upon our arrival home. Most of what we have learned will only be obvious to you when we retell our fantastic stories and try to apply some of these things back into the next phases of our lives.

Theo – Everything was fantastic. Sure there were ups and downs, but overall I was always having fun. I’ll tell you all about it in 24 hours. 🙂

Joey – I want you to know that I love you guys so much and I’m incredibly glad you sent me on this trip. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if you took me out to a steak dinner when I got home.

Tessa – You should know that now I have a persimmon obsession, I really miss my cats, and I fully plan on coming back to China again at some point in my life.

Laureen – You should know that I’ll be saying “xie xie” instead of “thank you.” I’ll be craving pieces of pumpkin in soup. I’ll be lifting my plate as I eat and there will surely be a re-adjustment period until I can use a fork and a knife properly again. I’m still the same me – only hopefully a little bit smarter, a little bit better read, and seeing the world a little more clearly. P.S. I would really love some hot chocolate when I get home.

Ron – Dear Ima and Aba, when I get home I will:
– take you to China Town so I can show off my limited Chinese abilities
-attempt (and likely fail) to make you some authentic Chinese dishes
-go on random, spontaneous adventures around the US to meet up with my new friends
-sometimes answer “xie xie” instead of “thank you” – you’re just gonna have to get used to it
-go into nature more
-be closely following my friends’ poops
-be sad that one of the most incredible experiences of my life is over, but so thankful to you for allowing me to do it

Sam – Hi mom. Hi dad. Long time no see. First thing, I miss you like crazy. That hasn’t changed since the last time I called. The thing that has changed though, is me. I’m not entirely sure how, or why, or if I can quantify it, or explain it in writing, but something has happened in the past 3 months that I’m sure will produce positive change at home. Whether it’s me cooking Dai-style meals or craving mian tiao (noodles), or having a new perspective during our dinner conversations. Basically, all I’m trying to say is thank you for shipping me off to China for 3 months. I love you guys a ton.

Julia – Dear Mom and Dad, I like mushroooms now (sometimes in moderation). I’ll talk about China a lot, possibly for the next 5 years or so. I have cool friends in weird places that I’ll want to visit a lot. I’ll need to laundry. ASAP. I might eat a lot more noodles now. I love you all and can’t wait to see you!

Ian – I am happy now, maybe for the first time since HMI. I am excited to learn again, though on my own time. I am confident in my ability to travel and survive on my own.

Sandra – Things to know about me when I get home: I will want a lot of mi xian (rice noodles). I probably won’t feel home for some time after I’m back. I will either need a lot to do or make a lot for myself to do. It would be best for me to take a break if I continuously do that to feel sad and think. I will be eating the past three months worth of cheese that I missed in China.

Elly – There are a few things you should know about me when I get home. First off, I might be a bit sad – just give me time to get back into DC life. Second, I need the washing machine for a day. I’m putting my claim down now. I have clothing to wash. Third, I am excited to tell you all about this trip – about sunrise hikes to the Great Wall, dipping my feet in the Mekong, talking to the old guy in the elevator of my building in Kunming, about tasting different types of tea, and everything else that has happened over the past three months. Also, if Willa is living in my room, she is going to have to move back out. Love, Elly.

Liv – First, I want you to go watch David Foster Wallaces, “This is Water”. I have spent the last three months happy, curious, and feeling present. Also, I want to let ya know about a few funny readjustment things. I will probably be craving Noodles around 9 am. I have totally caught the bug for traveling by myself-will hopefully be doing more of that. I will be away for a few days before Thanksgiving eating Ramen noodles with my wonderful, goofy new friends. Other times of the year, I will also hopefully be flying all over the place to continue my adventures with these fantastic people. I will be converting everything into Chinese Yuan and be horrified by how expensive everything is. I might forget English words or begin sentences in Chinese – oh well! I might talk for 3 days straight trying to catch you up and still, in the following weeks, randomly talk about this trip as I remember them. I really hope you saved me an applecider donut 🙂 See you soon, Liv.