It was one of those questions that, as it came out of my mouth, I thought, “nope . . . I should not be asking a four year old this”. I braced for an awkward moment and had zero intention of ever sharing his answer with anyone in the world had he gotten it wrong. Some people might say, “sheesh, the kid is four . . . there are no wrong answers.” Those people are dumb. For this question there was definitely a clear cut, absolute right answer and an undisputed (please don’t say it) terribly wrong answer.
Here’s the back story — Emmy was family when we lived in China. She ate at our apartment at least once a week for the better part of three years. She connected with our family in a special way that happens when people are living as foreigners on the opposite side of the planet from the people they call family and the places they call home. She could trust us and we could trust her . . . with anything. She poured into our kids and saying goodbye a year ago was tough.
So . . . seeing her again was wonderful. We happened to be close enough to the same spot on the map to make it worth the trip to spend a day together. Here’s the best part. That spot was Hershey, Pennsylvania . . . where chocolate comes from. It’s a real live chocolatey wonderland with roller coasters, carousels, cotton candy and college students dressed up like Resee’s peanut butter cups.
It’s like Disney Land . . . dipped in chocolate.
So what kind of parent would ever ask a four year old to compare that to a living breathing soul.
This kind of parent.
Without an ounce of forethought, as we were moments away from our reunion I asked my son, “which is better, seeing Emmy or going to Hershey?”
Totally unfair question.
Without skipping a beat he nailed it . . . “Seeing Emmy.”
In the last month we have gotten to see more than a dozen friends that we have only known as fellow foreigners in China. It’s a little surreal because we’re seeing a slightly different version of them. The people we knew never drove cars, drank draught root beer or ate cheeseburgers the size of your face but seeing them again and catching up has been incredible.
There is something really sweet about seeing our friends from over there . . . over here.
No question . . . saying goodbye . . . so very much and so very often . . . is the hardest part of living abroad.
BUT my son said it best (and I paraphrase) — “Saying hello again is better than chocolate.”
To all of our friends that we have seen recently — it has been so good.
To our friends that we haven’t seen again just yet — we’ll meet you in Hershey.