Everything seemed so perfect in our little bubble in Caterham. We had
our friends and neighbours whom we loved so much. We loved the
matchstick houses, the cobbled streets and the apple blossom in the
springtime, and of course, the practical and romantic train station. I had
a childhood friend called Michael and we would play games together
and talk about the goings on around town. We loved to go on walks,
but we couldn’t go far, cobbled streets are really hard on the knees. I
didn’t understand why we had to leave fair, green, sunny England. In
2004, the year I turned twelve, we moved to Qingdao, Eastern China.
We left everything behind and went to live in a place where we didn’t
know anyone. Everything about Qingdao seemed new. The surrounding
people were different from us in so many ways, they even spoke a
different language and it wasn’t even German.
My parents were excited about their new teaching jobs, and told us
it was a new adventure for us as a family. But to me, it didn’t seem as
cool as fire extinguishing or crime fighting. My mother even had to
return her sword and my father his hose.
“I want to go back home!” I would say to my poor exasperated
“Oh Josh, my little apple-blossom-cobbled-street boy,” my
mother said. And that didn’t help much at all.
A few months into our stay in Qingdao, Jordan seemed to have
already adjusted to life in China, while I felt truly different and felt alone.
I missed my friends back at Caterham. Jordan was excited about
meeting new friends at school.
“How do you know you are going to make so many friends?” I
“I just know.”
“What about Peter Piper, Georgie Porgie, Roger Red Hat, Jack and
Jill and the rest of your friends back at home? Don’t you miss them?”